Advocacy Committee

Chair: Charles Guan (cguan@)
Meetings: Monthly Advocacy meetings are open to all graduate students, if you would like reminders for meetings, please contact the Advocacy Chair.

The work of the advocacy committee works on behalf of all graduate students and alongside Caltech’s administration to address problems and look for opportunities for improvement. Some of our central administrative roles include:
• Creating, analyzing, and reporting on the annual GSC survey.
• Organizing workshops on taxes, health insurance, etc.
• Facilitate the organization of division/department town halls
• Organize Thanksgiving Dinner for all graduate students.

While we welcome all suggestions and invite involvement from any students or student groups in our efforts, a few areas of central interest in the recent past are listed below. Additionally, a number of committees that have been formed whose work is closely related to that of the advocacy committee. A small introduction to each of these is below.

Health Care
• Represent concerns pertaining to graduate student health care
• Assist in the development of health and mental health initiatives
• Promote health education at Caltech

This is accomplished via two primary channels. First, there are two GSC representatives to the Health Care Faculty Committee, which actively reviews the Student Health Insurance Plan and makes recommendations for new programs and services. Second, We work closely with other organizations on campus (Caltech Health Center, Caltech Counseling Center, Caltech Health Education, Active Minds at Caltech, etc.) to organize events and raise awareness of services offered.

Housing
The GSC Advocacy committee is always open to hearing comments and concerns related to Caltech graduate housing and will strive to resolve issues for the community. We communicate with Catalina Area coordinator (AC), Resident Assistants (RA) and Catalina Community Assistants (CCA) for enrichment programs for graduate housing life.

Student-Parents
A subcommittee has recently formed to advocate on behalf of graduate students supporting dependent children. This group focuses on key issues facing this unique subset of graduate students such as family housing, childcare, additional financial expenses and parental leave.

Work-Life Balance & Professional Development
There has been a great deal of recent interest in this area and we are looking for graduate students who would be interested in joining our committee and developing a plan to improve resources in this area. Please contact the advocacy committee chair if you are interested!

Advisor-Student Relations
There has been a great deal of recent interest in this area and we are looking for graduate students who would be interested in joining our committee and developing a plan to improve resources in this area. Please contact the advocacy committee chair if you are interested!

Diversity Committee
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.
Under-Represented Students (URS) Advocates collaborate with relevant offices to raise awareness of these issues through organizing and promoting related events:
• Work with Caltech Center for Diversity  for concern of underrepresented minorities, women, LGBTQ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) students;
• Collaborate with International Students Program for support of different cultural and ethnic groups;
• Offer resources for student support group and mentoring with the help of Caltech Counseling Center.
• Advocate for graduate students with financially dependent spouses and/or children

International Student Committee
This committee seeks to develop programs to assist international graduate students in all aspects of life at Caltech.

Sustainability Committee
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. For more information, please visit (insert link here).