One of the many functions of the GSA is Advocacy! In our role as the GSA Council it is our job to bring student and school wide opinions and ideals to University Administration as well as reciprocate University standards and ideals to students. Our goal is to make sure students are informed of what the GSA is working on and keep you updated on the important progresses that have been made! Please browse through the Advocacy Topics below to see what your GSA Executives have been up to!

We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions, comments, or concerns! Your GSA is here for you!

Ongoing Efforts

Topic Description Current Standing Other Information:
Cooley Center Closure GSA advocacy with University Administration regarding closure of Cooley Rec Center and negative impact to student well-being Multiple working groups created to discuss student concerns. Administration to open multiple locations across East Baltimore Campus. Cooley not set to close until late July or early August due to delay of permits.
Intermediate Masters GSA/Student advocacy to MA/PHD Committee about Intermediate Masters degree for PhD Students in the SOM after passing DBO. Presented to the Masters Program Directors and MA/PHD Committee to obtain feedback. Currently working to implement a pilot with a single PhD program before applying to all PhD Programs BME agreed to pilot Intermediate Masters program.
Transportation GSA advocacy to Transportation Office regarding Johns Hopkins BlueJay Shuttle System which replaced the Lyft SafeRide Program in Fall 2022. GSA has sent out several surveys to capture student feedback on transportation changes (BlueJay Shuttle, Lyft Program). Feedback has been provided to the Transportation Office. GSA Advocacy had resulted in expansion of route to include Mount Vernon areas as well as incorporate after hours (12pm - 5am) Lyft Services for students who work late. GSA is still meeting regularly with them to advocate for student issues with this new system.
Financial/Tax Literacy The GSA aims to improve student tax and finance literacy through informational opportunities and resource sharing. The GSA is currently meeting with University and local banking and tax offices to discussing logistics of hosting recurring information sharing events. Updates of resources to our Tax and Finance Page are ongoing. The GSA's Finance Committee has organized an information session with experienced tax experts for students to ask their most burning questions regarding tax filing, quarterly taxes, what tax forms mean, and everything in between. The recording is linked on our Tax/Finance Page!
Health Literacy The GSA aims to improve students understanding of health insurance benefits and medical bills. The GSA is working with University Health Services and Student Health Program on developing informational sessions. Updates to our Health and Wellness Page are ongoing. Medical bills cause significant financial burden to graduate students, and this can be exacerbated when students struggle to understand their health insurance benefits and medical bills. The GSA's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee recently held an informational session with SHP and UHS. Find the recording here!

Closed Efforts

Topic Description Outcome
Emergency Funds 2022 GSA advocacy to OGBE about limitations of current Graduate Student Stipend for covering emergency financial hardships incurred during COVID-19 pandemic. SOM Graduate Student Emergency Fund (GSEF) formed early 2022 as a result of GSA advocacy to OGBE, in partnership with Office of Alumni Relations and Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences (expect to issue a call for applications 2x per year!)
Student Mentorship 2018-2019 GSA expresses concerns about mentorship quality and evaluation at JHSOM 2020-2021 OGBE/JHSOM launches Mentorship Survey and mentorship training requirements
COVID Relief Payments GSA conversations with OGBE, Provost's Office and JHU President's Office regarding student feelings about being excluded from the $500 bonus in 2020 Spring 2021, all JHU students given $1000 COVID relief payment
Centralizing Information on HopkinsGroups HopkinsGroups is the official JHU campus community platform. In an effort to improve student access and promote open discussion with the GSA, we have undertaken the effort of centralizing all our information to HopkinsGroups. As of January 2023 the GSA launched our new HopkinsGroups website and enrolled all SOM students to our HopkinsGroups page.
Student Probation and Dismissal Policy Updates The MA/PHD Committee has asked for GSA/Student feedback on the Probation and Dismissal Policy. GSA worked with Program Reps to provide feedback on the policy to present to the MA/PHD Committee As of November 2022, the MA/PHD Committee has approved the updated Student Probation and Dismissal Policy and is linked on the Student Policy Website.
Relocation Funds GSA advocacy to Administration regarding relocation costs for students moving to Baltimore to attend school. Relocation Fund Pilot is available to accepted students: Follow this link for more information.
Laptop Loaner Program GSA Advocacy to OGBE for Students that may need a laptop to borrow for course/lab work. Program has launched! Please fill out this form if you are interested in obtaining a laptop.
Student Group Recognition GSA is looking into formalizing Student Group Recognition and Funding through OGBE. In April 2023, the GSA passed a new Constitution and Bylaws Document that details new procedures for Student Group recognition and funding. You can find the new Constitution linked here.
Private Appointments on Campus Students expressed desire to have a private room on campus for personal phone calls or virtual appointments. GSA, with the help from OGBE, has identified room MRB-G13 for students. Reservation Calendar is now open. Find more information here.
Graduate Student Stipends GSA advocacy to MA/PHD Committee about limitations of current Graduate Student Stipend. FY2023 stipend has been approved and will be $37,600 a 5.6% increase. Please note, moving forward that the JHU Student Union TRU-UE will be handling negotiations for student stipends.
SOM Gala/Formal GSA advocacy to OGBE for increased funding for student events. SOM is currently the only school within JHU that is unable to host a Gala/Formal for students. GSA has worked with OGBE to prioritize funding for a SOM specific GALA. SOM had their first Gala in the last 5 years in April 2024!
Allgrad Listserv Policy GSA recognized the overuse of allgrad and worked to generate a policy outlining restrictions and frequency of emails to reduce allgrad fatigue. GSA ratified a new allgrad listerv policy in May 2024.
Emergency Funds 2023 Based on student feedback and GSA survey data, GSA advocated for OGBE to secure funds for students experiencing emergencies OGBE secured funds for 22/23 school year with two application periods in Fall & Spring.
Menstrual Products in Restrooms GSA/Student advocacy with JHU Health Promotion and Well-being Commoittee for restrooms to be stocked with menstrual products and sexual wellness products. Feminine Hygiene products have been placed across the EB campus in multiple restrooms.
Payment Delays GSA advocacy to University Administration regarding late or absent stipend payments to graduate workers. (University wide issue) GSA was informed that the issue was resolved by the Provost's Office. If you experience a payment delay reach out to your program administrators or OGBE.

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Created by: Juliane Liberto. Page last updated: 05/24