Graduate Student Leaders @ Ivy+ Summit 2013

On November 21, 2013 by Grad Forum

The 11th annual Ivy+ Summit convened at Columbia University in New York City November 8-10. The conference invited graduate student council representatives from the eight Ivy League schools and MIT together to discuss challenges and to share best practices in student governance. From Dartmouth’s GSC, the following executive board members attended:

  • President: Lisa Jackson
  • Vice President: Spencer Hatch
  • Student Life Chair: Meg Menon
  • Social Co-chair: Haofeng Li
  • North Park Activities Coordinator: Regina Salvat
  • Graduate Studies Activities Coordinator: Henry Paige

Ahmet-Hamdi Cavusoglu, president of Columbia’s Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC), opened the event with a welcome tour of the impressive university campus located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Dinner followed and served as a great icebreaker as we conversed with our colleagues from the other academic institutions.

The next morning we assembled for the “State of the Nine” presentations on the fifteenth floor of the International Affairs Building at Columbia. Each school’s graduate student council president provided a brief and informative overview of their university’s unique student government structure, past and present initiatives, and ongoing challenges faced by their respective councils. Breakout sessions followed, where the nine participating schools conducted workshops based on this year’s conference theme, “Growing Academic Dialogue Across Disciplines.” The workshops included:

  • Columbia: Alternatives to Academia Career Development
  • Yale: Empowering Student Government Representatives
  • Cornell: Online, Distance, and Executive Education
  • MIT: Engaging New Graduate Students at Orientation
  • Harvard: Increasing Collaboration Across Graduate & Professional Schools
  • Dartmouth: How to Enhance Cross-Disciplinary Student Engagement
  • Penn: The Growth of Interdisciplinary Centers and Initiatives
  • Brown: Policy Issues, Administration Relationships, Crisis Management
  • Princeton: Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Schools

Lisa Jackson and Spencer Hatch hosted the Dartmouth workshop that focused on encouraging cross-disciplinary academic involvement. Commenting on the new insights gained, Hatch said, “Collaborating with representatives from Yale, Penn, and Princeton broadened our perspective on many relevant issues. A few inspiring ideas were the creation of a special fund to support inter-departmental/ inter-school academic projects and events, and a shared campus space for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.” In the final hour, the breakout session leaders shared highlights from their meetings with all attendees at large. Our engaging conversations continued afterward at a group dinner in downtown Manhattan.

Participants at the Ivy+ Summit.

Participants at the Ivy+ Summit.

Following a sumptuous Sunday brunch, the presidents of the nine schools met and discussed ways to improve the summit in future years. Jackson noted, “We talked about creating a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, and maintaining regular email communication with the upcoming host school to improve a sense of connectivity throughout the school year.” Ivy+ Summit 2014 will be hosted by Yale, and Dartmouth will host the following year.

Haofeng Li, Regina Salvat, and Henry Paige described the conference as an invaluable opportunity to connect with peers and learn new ways to enhance various aspects of graduate student life at Dartmouth. Engaging with fellow student leaders at the conference revealed our many shared goals of student service, and fostered a sense of greater community. I believe that it also strengthened our team spirit and commitment to Dartmouth’s Graduate Student Council. All in all, Ivy+ Summit 2013 was a truly memorable experience.

by Meg Menon

photo courtesy of Columbia University Graduate Student Advisory Council

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