GSC Advocacy

Committee Information

Chair: Sofi Quinodoz
Committee Members: Andrew Robbins, Annet Blom, Chengyun Hua, Elle Chimiak, Emily Blythe, Gina Duggan, Henry Ngo, Jason Pollack, Meaghan Sullivan, Michael Floyd, Nancy Thomas, Peter Hung, Sunita Darbe, Tzu-Chieh (Jake) Chou, Zach Erickson
Diversity Officer: Emily Blythe
Student Health Chair: Annet Blom
Sustainability Chair: Elle Chimiak
Athletics Co-Chairs: Kenny Buyco and Michael Floyd

Meetings: Monthly Advocacy meetings are open to all GSC members (i.e. all graduate students). If you would like reminders for meetings, please contact the Advocacy Chair.

AdvocacyFall2014 FlyerAdvocacy Office Hours and “Beef and Pizza” Open Forums

We run office hours once a month where you can talk to the Advocacy Chair and other Committee members. Let us know about what’s on your mind, or just get to know us better. We’ll even buy you coffee! For Fall 2014, find us outside the Red Door between 11am and 1pm on Monday Oct 13 and Wednesday Nov 12.

We also organize a “Beef and Pizza” open forum approximately quarterly. Bring us your “beef” with any on-campus issue you think the GSC should know about or try to address. We’ll provide the pizza! Any discussion will be kept confidential. The next “Beef and Pizza” date is Wednesday Nov 19, 5pm-7pm, at the Sherman Fairchild Library Multimedia Conference Room (3rd floor).

Come talk to us if there is an issue that affects you! If the Office Hours and “Beef and Pizza” timings don’t work, you can also contact the Advocacy Chair or any Committee member directly.

Our Mission

Our main priority is student quality of life. We represent and advocate for a wide range of graduate student interests to the administration. We work on issues such as stipends, housing, health care, childcare, diversity, athletics, and sustainability. Our goals are to:

  1. Provide programming to improve graduate student quality of life. This involves connecting students to on-campus resources, creating new workshops based on non-academic needs and interests (e.g. investment seminars) and events for graduate students and their families such as our annual Family Thanksgiving Dinner.
  2. Respond to graduate student concerns as they arise. We run many events to solicit feedback on all aspects of graduate student life at Caltech and react to issues that pop up. Some concerns recently resolved are: reimbursement for graduate student spouse gym fees and correcting a mistake in the graduate student health plan.
  3. Seek out potential problems affecting graduate students and find solutions. Our committee members continuously evaluate quality of life on campus and look for opportunities for improvement. One current project is to find more financial support for graduate students to afford childcare in Pasadena.


In addition to our responsibilities above, there are two GSC Officers that work under the Advocacy umbrella to achieve the following specific goals:

Diversity Officer: Emily Blythe
Caltech is committed to supporting diversity on campus and providing equal opportunities to all persons. The GSC Advocacy Committee works for the graduate community to (1) promote activities for better interaction and communication between cultural and ethnic groups; (2) provide support and voice for underrepresented student groups; (3) offer resources to deal with discrimination and harassment on campus.

We collaborate with relevant offices to raise awareness of these issues through organizing and promoting related events:

  • Work with Caltech Center for Diversity��������������������������������������
to support underrepresented minorities, women, LGBTQ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) students;
  • Collaborate with International Students Program ���������for support of different cultural and ethnic groups;
  • Advocate for graduate students with spouses and/or children

Student Health Chair: Annet Blom
We represent student concerns pertaining to health/dental insurance, assist in the development of health and mental health initiatives, and promote health education at Caltech. We work with several other organizations on campus jointly on these issues. We have two GSC representatives (Yunji Wu and Annet Blom) to the Health Care Faculty Committee, which actively reviews the Student Health Insurance Plan and makes recommendations for new programs and services.

Other Responsibilities

Finally, there are two additional GSC Officer positions that report to the GSC Vice-Chair but also work closely with the Advocacy Committee:

Sustainability Chair: Elle Chimiak
The GSC promotes environmentally sustainable practices among the graduate student population as well as Caltech in its entirety. Sustainability advocates routinely work with Caltech facilities management and the transportation office, create and encourage sustainable practices for GSC-funded clubs, and create sustainability programming for the entire campus. See also: GSC Sustainability.

Athletics Co-Chairs: Kenny Buyco and Michael Floyd
The Athletics co-chairs serve as the graduate student representatives on the faculty committee on athletics. They voice graduate student concerns regarding the direction and use of the athletic facilities. They work with the athletics department to ensure that student recreational opportunities, such as sports clubs and other activities, are well organized and supported. See also: GSC Athletics.