The Harvard Graduate Student Affairs Circle, encompassing administrators across all of Harvard’s Graduate and Professional schools, formed in 2015 to share best practices and collaborate to improve the graduate and professional student experience, while advocating for graduate student access to University resources and programs. The 2018 Harvard Report of the Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging remarked, “The formation of inclusive community and opportunities for everyone to thrive do not create nor harvest themselves.” These powerful words from former Harvard President Drew Faust convey the sentiments of the Circle members and compel us to do better for our students by working together across Schools.
Through our innovative and inclusive signature event entitled Grad Fest, the Circle aims to reinforce the University’s commitment to our graduate students by increasing institutional support, showcasing campus resources, and providing a wealth of activities focused on networking and community-building each fall.
Specifically, the Grad Circle and Grad Fest work together to address the following challenges:
Challenge #1: Providing graduate students with opportunities to build community and connect with relevant University resources in support of their life both inside and outside the classroom.
Challenge #2: Creating campus settings where University services and resources can be disseminated and made more widely accessible to students in need.
Challenge #3: Offering institutionally-driven social environments for interdisciplinary dialogue between students of differing fields of study.
Challenge #4: Highlighting the importance that families (children, spouses/partners, parents, etc.) play in the lives of graduate students and the significance of those relationships to their mental health.