New Fairfax Campus Graduate Student Lounge Opens

Posted: January 27, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: January 27, 2010 at 10:01 am

By Robert Krueger, GAPSA secretary

The Graduate Student Lounge, a first-of-its-kind space devoted solely to the Mason graduate student body, opened this week.

The new 1,082-square-foot Graduate Student Lounge is located on the Fairfax Campus. It comprises Rooms 100, 100B and 100C in the Science and Technology II Building. The building is scheduled for remodeling in two years; at that time, the graduate student space will be relocated to a permanent site.

The new graduate space was an initiative of the graduate student governance association, the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA). GAPSA sought to establish an environment for rigorous scholarship as set forth in the Mason Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

The lounge is a multipurpose space dedicated to providing needed study and work space for graduate teaching and research assistants. It also serves as a central meeting point for socializing among graduate and professional students.

Not only is the new graduate space a testament of an amplified graduate student voice at Mason, but it also serves as a victory for the university, since the new space will likely help in attracting and retaining high-caliber graduate students who are dedicated to scholarship and collaboration.

The Graduate Student Lounge alleviates many of the current problems facing graduate students. These include the lack of a quiet and private place for graduate teaching assistants and lecturers to grade papers; a central place for commuting graduate students that encourages cross-departmental socialization; and a central place to relax between classes.

In addition, the new space provides a location where the university’s 36 officially recognized graduate student organizations can reserve a meeting room without having to compete for space in the Johnson Center and Student Union Buildings I and II.

“I am extremely proud of GAPSA for their advocacy work in securing a space on the Fairfax Campus specifically for graduate and professional students,” says Jude C. Butch, assistant director of student activities for student governance. “In its short time in existence, GAPSA has already proven to be a true asset to the university community by providing a voice for all graduate and professional students at Mason, and I am excited to see what GAPSA can accomplish next.”

GAPSA has been in existence only since early 2009 but has already made its presence felt at the university. Its accomplishments include securing nearly 2,000 square feet of graduate student library space in the planned Fenwick Library expansion, as well as establishing a monthly happy hour, which GAPSA co-hosts with Weekends at Mason at the Rathskeller.

“I am proud of the concrete accomplishments that GAPSA has made one calendar year into its existence,” says David Arditi, GAPSA president. “The new graduate space is exciting because it not only provides a great space for graduate students to study, but it also creates a place where graduate students can develop a sense of community.”

According to Arditi, given the growth of the university and its soaring scholarly reputation, GAPSA has solidified itself as a permanent fixture in helping Mason’s graduate programs achieve their highest potentials. He foresees many long-term and immediate projects for the organization.

“GAPSA is currently working on several other projects at this time, including a speaking series,” Arditi adds. “I look forward to continuing to lead GAPSA as GAPSA grows and meets the demands of the graduate community.”

GAPSA is holding a naming contest for the new space. Suggestions can be submitted in person at the GAPSA office (Room 100C, Science and Technology II) until 5 p.m. on Feb. 2. Only Mason graduate students may participate. The winner will receive a Netbook (mini laptop), which will be awarded in early February.

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