Grad Council: thoughtfully navigating a difficult year

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These days, it seems like just about everything is online. Classes, happy hours, and even marathons have been adapted to work in our current virtual environment. With everything online, however, everyone is eager to unplug and disconnect any chance they get. This creates a paradox: we can’t get out of the house, but we still desire connection. Luckily, BU’s graduate council has found a way to overcome this barrier.

The COM Grad Council, made up of ten graduate students and two BU staff members, have been working over the course of the past year and half to provide students with a “normal” graduate experience. While there have certainly been challenges, there have also been opportunities for the council to get creative and introduce events that may not have been possible if students were solely based on BU’s campus. 

“Being able to host virtual events has allowed students who aren’t in the Boston area to still be able to make friends and meet other graduate students both in COM and in other colleges that we have partnered with for events,” said Shaye Spector, head of the COM Grad Council social committee. 

Events the council has hosted include workout classes, cocktail making, wine nights, and meetings with insight into class registration. While these events cover a broad range of topics, they all have the same goal in mind: connecting students. 

“We have been focused on providing a fun and professional environment where students from different programs can connect during the pandemic,” said Vianca Rosario, vice president of the council. “We understand that this has been a difficult year for everyone, and we want to be able to relieve any stress that students may have.”

Students may not have imagined their first year of graduate school looking the way it does, and many may be worried they are not getting everything they hoped they would out of the program. It is the role of student groups like the COM Grad Council to attempt to alleviate this worry. 

“For those who moved to Boston from different parts of the country, or even the world, a lot of the excitement around it was getting to meet new people and share new experiences,” Spector said. “Our goal has been to keep that excitement. When we held our first event, Cabernet with the Council, I could see how excited students were to be able to interact with one another on a social level. It felt like a void was starting to be filled.”

While the council navigates the remainder of this unique and challenging year, they also are looking ahead – optimistic about what’s to come. 

“As we look at potentially being in-person next semester, we hope to be able to introduce new events and workshops that would help students begin to have that experience that they may feel like they have been missing over the course of this past year,” said Rosario. “While the future of what the fall will look like remains unclear, our mission won’t change. Whether in person or online, we will continue to provide students with every opportunity to make their experience as a grad student at COM as fulfilling as possible.”

Christopher Kattak, Staff Writer

Originally from New Jersey, Christopher Kattak is a first-year master’s student studying public relations at Boston University.  Before attending BU, Christopher received his Bachelor of Arts in communication from Sacred Heart University, where he gained corporate communication experience. Christopher began playing ice hockey when he was four years old and continues to have a passion for the sport. Christopher is excited to be a writer for The COMunicator. 

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