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The first of quarterly town meetings was held at the User's Center on Wednesday, February 2nd. Following are minutes from that meeting.
GSA Budget: The GSA's budget increase of 60% was approved this year. (!) New events and programs budgetted for include Academic classes in the spring and fall, two new parties during the year, quarterly town meetings, two cultural events per year, and funds for an educational outreach program.
Academic Classes: The new GSA sponsored Mathematical Physics class meeting this winter was discussed. People are enjoying the class and had some ideas for future classes this summer and in the fall. There is interest in a theoretical Advanced High Energy Physics class potentially to be offered in the fall. In the summer, a less advanced course can be taught when there is a larger population of 1st and 2nd year graduate students. Ideas for this summer course include Detectors or Results from the Major experiments around the world.
Educational Outreach Initiative: Brian discussed a project that he and the other GSA officers have been working on in conjunction with the Fermilab Education office. The project involves graduate students traveling to local schools for 1/2 or full days to lead lectures and discussions about particle physics and science to elementary and high school students. The commitment for graduate students would be only 1 to 2 days per year for those interested. The GSA will put together a box of props and slides for grad student lecturers to work from. The education office will keep a list of interested graduate students and make connections between these gradaute students and interested schools. There was alot of enthusiasm and support from the group at the towm meeting and interest in committing their time. There was also interest in a 2 hour orientation provided for volunteers by the education office to facilitate lectures at the schools. The GSA will shortly be sending out a call for a list of names of Graduate students interested in being involved in the project.
New Perspectives Conference: The gradaute student conference, New Perspectives will be held again this summer just after the User's Meeting. Gradaute Students, start getting blessings for your work from your groups so that you can present at the conference. Analysis and Hardware talks are all appreicated. We discussed formats for the conference. People agreed that a two day format including one invited talk per day works well, along with a poster session with a $250 award given for the best poster.
Social Activities: The GSA is now budgetted for a Mid-Winter-blues Party! The party will take place in the barn on Friday Febuary 25th. Acceptable attire is Hawaian Shirts and shorts. We are also budgetted for a spring and summer barbacue and the Halloween party.There was encouragement for the Music club to put together some music to play for all at the Spring Barbacue.
Music Club: The recently formed music club met regularly before the holiday break and is getting back on track thsi month. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if your interested in joining the group. THere was alot of interest in getting the musicians to play at the spring barbacue.
Cultural Events: The GSA would like to host two cultural events this year. Under discussion was an evening with a professional guitarist that the GSA knows, another poetry reading like the one held last year featuring Andrew Green's brother, outing to a Bull's game, outing to a swing club like the Green Mill in Chicago or a club in Naperville, or outing to a Cubs or White Sox game or a summer soccer game at Solider's Field.
Career Issues Seminars: There is interest in the GSA hosting career nad resume seminars given by people in the variety of fields that graduate students often enter. These include physics academia, industry, banking, computing, and medical physics. There were many good ideas given for people to give these seminars. It was suggested that a convenient time to hold the seminars would be over lunch in the high rise, perhaps in One West. The GSA officers are looking into setting up when and from whom these seminars can be given.
Health Insurance: Graduate students and post-docs stationed at Fermilab have difficulties ranging from inconveninece to serious financial and physical problems dervied from non-local or no health care plans. This issue was discussed at great length first to understand the range of problems that students in different situations can encounter, and second to discuss solutions within home institutions or through the URA at Fermilab. There was concern that some graduate students may not even be aware of what their health insurance will or will not provide even in the case of an emergency out of state. One possible solution is to bring up the issue in the User's Executive Committee in the hopes that URA can put pressure on or require universities with gradaute students at Fermilab to take a survey of FNAL gradaute students health care coverage and happiness to see how much of a problem this is and to have statistics with which to approach the UEC. We are presently putting one together.
All in all, the towm meeting was a great success. We will hold another
one May. Please send any comments regarding these issues to email@example.com.
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