COVID-19: Vanderbilt/Nashville Mutual Aid (Spring 2020)
As Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff begin to enact social-distancing measures, GWU has organized a mutual aid effort to support our community during this period. If you would like to volunteer your financial, social, or transportation support, or if you need to request aid from our community, please see this spreadsheet for more information. All Vanderbilt students, staff, faculty, and alumni, as well as Nashville residents, are encouraged to participate. We would appreciate you sharing widely on your social media platforms!
A&S Workspace Campaign (2018-present)
After Dean John Geer announced that ten A&S programs would have to move their workspace from Buttrick Hall to Central Library at the end of the Fall 2018 semester, GWU authored a list of demands for graduate workspace that successfully delayed the move until Summer 2019; produced a survey about A&S graduate workspace and delivered it to administrators (74 respondents); worked to increase turnout at the Dean’s two October town halls; led the effort to organize the Carrels Advisory Committee that met three times with A&S deans over the course of the year; and authored an open letter during the spring semester asking the administration to fulfill grad students’ workspace demands (61 signatures). Most recently, GWU has supported the Carrels Committee’s new workspace survey about the new library workspace and will publish the report on that survey on our web site when it becomes available.
Mental Health Campaign (2017-present)
In Fall 2017, upon hearing reports from our graduate colleagues that significant changes to individual therapy policies had been happening at the PCC, GWU played a leading role in raising consciousness about this issue. Our actions included: collecting anonymous testimonies from our colleagues about their experiences with mental health during graduate school; authoring a petition asking for Vanderbilt to guarantee that no student be turned away or have their care unjustifiably foreshortened; distributing flyers and emails to encourage turnout to a Mental Health Town Hall with Graduate School and PCC leaders; writing the original draft of the Mental Health Bill of Rights and Responsibilities and submitting it to GSC for consideration (our bill now appears on the Student Care Network site); participating in the graduate-led committee that produced the final version of the Bill of Rights; organizing a “Mental Health Day” for graduate students at which we shared graduate testimonies and empirical studies about the mental health crisis in U.S. graduate schools; and supporting the Bill of Rights until its official ratification in Fall 2018.
Student Solidarity Actions (2018-present)
In early 2018, GWU learned of a graduate student who was not receiving pay for services rendered on a research project funded by an external grant. In late February, we organized a solidarity action in support of this student, delivering groceries to their office and following up in April with another action during recruitment week.
Dental and Vision Petition (Spring 2017)
As part of our campaign to raise awareness about issues universally impacting graduate workers at Vanderbilt, GWU authored a petition asking Vanderbilt administration to add dental and vision coverage to our student insurance plan. The petition received hundreds of signatures and led to several meetings with the provost and graduate deans.