Problems and resources for graduates highlighted at GSG meeting

Laurel Schmidt

Michigan Tech’s Graduate Student Government met on Sept. 20 and discussed resources available to graduates. They also discussed current problems facing students and gave updates on solutions being implemented. 

GSG addressed graduate student access to health insurance. Over the summer, Michigan Tech switched insurance providers from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to United Healthcare. “That transition wasn’t smooth because of a lot of reasons; and was a major thing that we had to deal with during the summer,” said Ranit Karmakar, the President of GSG. 

To provide guidance to graduate students still struggling, there will be a health insurance info session on Oct. 6 at noon in the East Reading Room. Representatives from United Healthcare and Student Insurance will be there to answer any questions. 

Another problem facing graduate students is transportation, specifically from Hancock to campus. The school year started with a graduate student housing crisis, causing many students to move across the bridge into Hancock. “50% of the graduate student population is international students who don’t have a US driver’s license or own a car,” says Karmakar, which results in a lack of transportation to campus for many students. GSG is currently in contact with transportation services to start a Hancock Shuttle pilot program. 

Library Services gave a presentation to GSG, informing them about relevant resources for graduate students. One resource of note is the interlibrary loan system. PDFs from across the country are available within a day. Grad students have access to rushed PDFs, which are available within a few hours. Specialized librarians are also available to help with different research and resource questions. 

The Office of Academic and Community Conduct gave a presentation at the meeting as well. They discussed the Conflict Resolution Network page on their website, which has many resources to help students.The Ombuds Office provides completely confidential help and advice both personally and academically. Finally, the Report a Concern page through the Dean of Students website, provides ways to report both academic and personal concerns at any time. 

When asked what advice he would give to graduate students, Karmakar pointed to the Graduate Student Life Hacks page on GSG’s website. What started as a welcome guide for new students, #gradlifehacks has turned into a resource page for all graduate students at Michigan Tech. “This 

is coming from graduate students who have been here for a couple of years. It has things they have learned throughout their grad studies; they are sharing their perspective,” said Karmakar. Some of the topics discussed are advisor-student partnerships, housing, and health insurance.