The Graduate and Part-Time Student Council elections have finally arrived after the application and campaign periods, taking place from April 3 at 9 a.m. to April 5 at 5 p.m.
The GPSC is a department of the Office of Student Government responsible for representing the interests of graduate and part-time students at Kean. Because the needs of graduate and part-time students can differ from those of undergraduate students, this council is essential in giving them accurate representation in student government.
The complete list of GPSC candidates and their pursued positions are as follows:
Robert Schiele: President
Yesse Puello: Vice President
Lauren Rodriguez: Treasurer
Sheenaider Guillame: Secretary
Adreyanna Martinez: Student Council Representative
This year’s candidates are a strong group, encompassing a variety of backgrounds and areas of study. Four of the six have held positions in the GPSC before.
Robert Schiele, the GPSC presidential candidate, is the sitting vice president. He’s currently studying forensic psychology and has been involved in student government since his years as an undergraduate student. Lauren Rodriguez, a treasurer candidate and current council representative, is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in public administration.
Sheenader Guillame, the secretary candidate, is another current council representative. She graduated from Kean with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is working toward her master’s degree in school counseling and licensed professional counseling. Guillame also serves as the treasurer of Kean’s Haitian Student Association. Yesse Puello, the candidate for vice president, is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. She is a current secretary and has also worked as a council member for the organization in the past as well.
Adreyanna Martinez is a new addition to the GPSC election circuit. She's a graduate student at looking to enhance her experience at Kean by pursuing a position as a student council representative.
In order to hold a position in the GPSC, students must meet certain criteria and eligibility standards. Carli Hench, the managing assistant director of the Office of Student Government, said that all candidates must be matriculated graduate or part-time students registered for at least three credits.
“They obviously have to meet the student leadership criteria, so for undergraduate students they have to have a 2.5 [GPA] and for graduate students they have to have a 3.0 GPA,” Hench said.
Being part of the GPSC goes hand in hand with numerous responsibilities. Council members must identify the concerns of students and work to make changes that would better the quality of their experiences at Kean.
“The boards work together on all student concerns really. Both presidents meet with the vice president of Student Affairs to discuss all student concerns that come up from their different student body constituent population,” Hench said.
Some of the issues the GPSC has worked on in the past year include the professionalism of professors, printing accessibility, East Campus food options, gym hours, student safety, and trolley schedules and availability. Ideas such as these are generated by council representatives who respond to feedback from ordinary students.
“They’re out there in their classes. They’re out there in their community talking to students, making sure that they know what the concerns are that the students want them to work on,” Hench said.
This election circuit has been especially successful in terms of the number of candidates that came out. Every position in the GPSC has received at least one applicant. “Sometimes that doesn’t happen because graduate and part-time undergraduate students are really busy and they have a lot of hats that they wear so the fact that we have a full board right from the election cycle puts us already in a good place that they can jumpstart the planning of their year and really activate their plans and their goals for the year,” Hench said.
All graduate students and part-time students are eligible to vote in this election, and can do so through Cougar Link. Undergraduate students are not allowed to vote in the GPSC elections as their population isn’t represented by this council. However, undergraduate students can vote for candidates in the Student Organization elections, which will also take place on Cougar Link simultaneously with the GPSC elections.
The GPSC has a critical role in representing the graduate and part-time student body to give them a strong voice at Kean. Eligible students are encouraged to log onto Cougar Link between April 3 and 5 to vote for the dedicated people who strive to fill those positions.