So Jose (a professor in the biochem department...not my advisor but on my committee) came to me last week and asked me if I cared about graduate student life. Seemed like a trick question to me and I told him so but acknowledged that I did care about life on campus (maybe he just needed further confirmation that I am not a sociopath). After that he said he wanted to recommend me to be a part of the Campus Community Committee and asked if it was alright if he put my name in. I agreed with very limited information and just a few days later got an email from the committee chair asking me to call her. Side note: I hate when you get an email that says to call...why not just tell me what you need to tell me in the original email. Save us both some time. Nevertheless, I called her. She was quite pleasant but seemed a little bit clueless. She asked if I had any questions and I, of course, did. The following is a loosely recorded transcript of our conversation.
Me: " What is the point of the committee...what are its goals, aspirations, dreams, hopes, fears."
Her: "Well the committee is the result of a mandate from President Berkey and we are still figuring out what that means, but generally it is meant to address community issues."
Me: "OK, so we have a committee that is going to decide what the purpose of the committee is."
Her: "Well yes...but not the whole committee, we are going to have a sub-committee to decide the goals for the larger committee."
Me: "Oh, well that makes more sense...any ideas what might be on the agenda?
Her: "Some things that were brought up at the first meeting in relation to graduate students were: race and gender issues, grad student housing, access to writing workshops, etc etc."
Me: "Am I the ONLY grad student on this committee"
Her: "Is that OK with you?"
Me: "Sure is. I mean I can't think of anyone better to talk about those issues than a white male, who speaks english as his first language and lives at home. I should fit right in and have lots of insight into the issues that effect our grad students."
Her: "Great, I'm so excited we have a meeting in a month"
Me: "OK, is that the sub-committee or the main committee?"
Her:"Let me check with the rest of the committee then i'll send you an email and we can talk about it over the phone."
Me: "Sounds great...looking forward to it"
So here I am. The lone grad student member of the no-purpose committee to deal with community issues that I don't have and really issues that aren't community at all. Everything she listed was really an individual issue. It should really be the committee to evaluate the needs of special interest groups. A community issue is something like poverty, high cost of living, available health insurance, etc. But who am I to split hairs over stuff like that. More updates to follow on the immense progress that I'm sure we're going to make. Patrick OUT!!!