Vote for a United Student Government
You are being asked to vote on an initiative to merge our divided student governments into a new system. I urge you to read an excellent summary of the issue in Michael Le’s Synapse article this week and to find out more about the streamlining of resources on the website GPSA.ucsf.edu. In addition to the information you will find there, I want to share a back story and a personal view.
You may not pay much to attention to student government, because often the work we do is behind the scenes. However, student government affects your time as a UCSF student.
You all automatically pay a small amount of money each quarter to be represented. With those funds, student government supports student groups, encourages conference attendance, arranges social or relevant educational events and, importantly, advocates on your behalf for issues such as child care, student health care, transportation and diversity concerns.
Unlike many other universities, our student governments are divided in two. In addition to creating confusion and redundancies, this division is bizarre because UCSF is unique in that we are all joined together in a common goal of furthering health sciences.
Though students from all walks of life come to UCSF to pursue objectives that range from clinical practice, scientific discovery, policy change, sociological understanding and academic advancement, we are all aiming to contribute to a shared pool of knowledge and expertise.
UCSF strives to be a leader in interprofessionalism and translational research, but this is not reflected in this current student governmental structure.
If you view our student government as an allegory or as a model for our professional lives beyond school, uniting all UCSF students aligns with an ideal of a health improvement system based on collaboration, evidence and understanding.
UCSF is your community while you are students and will continue to be your community as alumni. Having the chance to interact with the best and brightest from all across campus — from programs you may not have even known existed — can greatly build future professional networks and inspire innovation.
As the Nursing Student Council (ASSN) president, I have been involved in the process of this change since the spring of 2012, along with many of your dedicated classmates.
It struck me that coming together with the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) planning committee was perhaps the only time I have been in a room with students representing all programs in almost three years at UCSF, and the experience was impressive. The collaborative and creative spirit, quality of teamwork, brainstorming and devotion apparent in that room is a taste of what is to come with a united government in the GPSA.
This vote is your chance to make a change for current and future UCSF students and bring about a unity that can follow us beyond school in our professional and social lives. I strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with the gpsa.ucsf.edu website, consider what GPSA means for you and the future of UCSF students, and vote.
Arielle Bivas, RN
UCSF School of Nursing
MS Candidate 2014, Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Track