GAPSA Serves as Voice for Graduate Students

Posted: November 16, 2009 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: November 13, 2009 at 4:47 pm

By Rashad Mulla

In its second year in existence, the Graduate and Professional Students Association (GAPSA), a graduate student-run organization, aims to foster communication and networking among the 11,000 graduate students across campus and address their needs.

David Arditi, GAPSA’s president, is working on a number of projects.

“Our role is as the voice of graduate students,” Arditi says. “We want to articulate their needs and help create events for them.”

The group holds a social – open to all Mason graduate students – on the second Thursday of every month at the Rathskeller in Student Union Building I on the Fairfax Campus. Last week marked the third social of the semester.

A lack of space for studying and offices has been the hot-button issue of the semester, Arditi says. Many graduate students hold positions as teaching assistants or teach entire classes on their own. This semester, Arditi is teaching two sections of Global Affairs 101, each with 45 students. A lack of office space makes it hard for graduate students to get work done, Arditi says.

But as president of GAPSA, Arditi oversaw an acquisition of space that could ease this problem.

Starting next semester, a temporary graduate student center will open in Science and Tech II on the Fairfax Campus, and after the building is renovated (scheduled to commence in January 2010), an entire basement office suite will be dedicated to graduate students.

“We hope to be looked at as a graduate student government,” Arditi says. “People are very excited to have a voice in what’s going on around campus. [GAPSA] is definitely growing.”

Michelle Marks, associate provost for graduate education, says she expects GAPSA representatives to serve on university committees that impact the administration’s decision-making.

“As large and distributed as we are, GAPSA can serve a valuable role as a representational body for our graduate students,” Marks says. “I expect that they will be able to provide the administration with a better understanding of the range of needs and interests of a diverse graduate student body.”

To learn more about GAPSA, visit or e-mail and request to join the group’s mailing list.

Write to gazette at