New COM Graduate Student Council Seeks To Improve The Graduate Student Experience

“With only about a month left of this semester, the Council is focusing on its main priority: building a strong foundation so it can successfully flourish in the fall.”

After over a year in the making, the graduate students in COM have created their very own Graduate Student Council (Grad Council). Spearheaded by public relations students Alex Villanueva and Riti Shah, the Council came together when they saw a greater need for grad student involvement in COM.

The Grad Council is the student government for COM graduate students. Villanueva and Shah worked in tandem with Dean Laurie Nichols and Graduate Affairs to create the Council, which officially launched in March. They saw a need when there was no proper outlet for graduate students to express concerns, collaborate on events, or promote career development.

Thus, the council focuses on social, professional, and academic issues. Simultaneously, the dean and faculty across all departments may consult with the Grad Council for input on upcoming programs or academic changes. Since forming, Villanueva was chosen as the first president, and Shah serves as vice president external.

The Grad Council and student participation in governance is important to Villanueva, who served as student body vice president at the University of Illinois. “It’s critical that the administration address student concerns through two-way communication, and that both parties have a chance to come together to solve problems or get creative with programing,” he said.

Villanueva and the other Grad Council members hope to achieve that open communication and to create a more cohesive graduate community. Allowing students to be a part of something larger gives them pride in COM and in the greater Boston University community.  

With only about a month left of this semester, the Council is focusing on its main priority: building a strong foundation so it can successfully flourish in the fall. They are doing this by recruiting new students and getting involved across campus.

Alex Villanueva, Graduate Student Council President

On April 9, they hosted a bake sale in the COM lobby, raising money for BU Relay for Life. The team will also be participating in the Relay for Life event at the Track and Tennis Center on April 21, 2018. Those interested in joining their team can join here. All proceeds will be directly donated to the American Cancer Society.

Additionally, the Council is working hard to provide services for its graduate students, including an assistantship job board. Any other students who would like to get involved in future projects can email Villanueva at

Open to graduate students across all departments, the council is made up of an e-board, with representatives from each department (Film and Television, Journalism, Emerging Media Studies, and Mass Communications, Advertising, and Public Relations), and committees. The Council currently has 10 members.

Elections for the next academic year will be held in the fall, but any interested student can drop in on any of the meetings this semester. Currently, the council meets every Friday at 2 p.m. in COM room 303.



Mae Davis, Staff Writer

Mae Davis is a Senior in the College of Communication studying Advertising with a minor in Business Administration. She is passionate about serving others through creative solutions. In her free time, you can find her trying new restaurants, shopping, and exploring hidden areas of Boston.

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