GPSC kicks off appreciation week

Koby Upchurch / Arizona Daily Wildcat Clarissa Sema (center,red shirt), college of pharmacy student and Graduate and Professiona Student Councit president, poses for a group photo with members of the council and students and their families. The GPSC met at La Aledea courtyard in graduate student housing Sunday to kick off graduate student appreciation week.

The Graduate and Professional Student Council hosted an International Student and Family Fun Day, at which attendees ate international cuisine and played games as a part of Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week.

The event, held Sunday at the La Aldea graduate housing complex courtyard, provided a ""fusion menu"" including international food prepared by GPSC President Emily Connally and Anthony Johnson, a local chef and longtime GPSC supporter. On the three-course menu were Vietnamese spring rolls with Thai peanut sauce, chili-lime chicken, and baklava.


Ryan Saxby, the GPSC events director, said that the Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week as a whole cost about $15,000. He, as well as other GPSC members, spent about 150 hours planning the week's events.

Saxby said the hardest part of planning the event was remembering all the details such as sign-in sheets, sending emails to advertise the events and ""making sure that people have food to eat."" He added that restaurants in the Student Union Memorial Center donated a lot of food for the various events ""which helped a lot.""

Swapna Aravind, a GPSC representative from the College of Science, said that she and other council members coordinated with the GPSC officers to help plan the events, which were both ""pretty intense and easygoing at the same time."" She said that she liked the International Student and Family Fun Day because it focused on international students and was a fun, social event.

""We (graduate and professional students) try to come together as much as possible,"" she said.

Clarissa Sema, a GPSC representative from the College of Pharmacy, said that she liked how the event showed the diversity of the graduate and professional student community.

""It (the event) unites all of the graduate students on campus,"" she said.

Sunday's event was one of the three featured events included in Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation week, which also offers a ""North Campus Breakfast"" on Tuesday and a ""Backyard BBQ on the UA Mall"" on Thursday.

Connally said that the council has been hosting Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week for more than 10 years and has pushed to receive national recognition. She explained that because about 20 percent of graduate and professional students are international students, it is important to have an event like International Student and Family Fun Day.

""We want to let people know that GPSC exists for them,"" she said.

Connally explained that a ""large portion"" of the events' budget for the week went to campus catering, used because the university approves it. She added that the International Student and Family Fun Day was one of her favorites because she likes cooking and was able to help prepare food for it. She also said that the barbecue is one of her favorite events during the week because a lot of her constituents attend, and she will give out T-shirts.

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