What is the PGSO and Why Should Students Get Involved?

Getting involved in the Psychology Graduate Student Organization (PGSO) is an enriching opportunity for first and second year students to engage with one another, take ownership of their program (Autism Studies and Community Social Psychology) and their department. Students engaged in the PGSO can make connections with the larger campus community and other graduate students, and plan and help run events reflective of collective needs and interests. It is a great option if you have ideas but are not sure where to suggest them or if you want to step into a leadership role and build community in the department, on campus and beyond. This article is meant to share the value of the PGSO and ask students to consider how it can develop in future semesters to be a stronger and more utilized resource for students.

So what does the PGSO do? What can we do?
Previous years members have organized fundraisers for local charities, socials, discussion forums, and have supported other initiatives to educate or raise awareness about a particular social issue. The PGSO is our forum to engage with our community and collectively give back. Some ideas our current executive board has talked about have included screening documentaries, participating in the Relay for Life walk, creating a self-care workshop for students, identifying and acquiring additional resources to support strong and innovative academic work, and helping our faculty organize and manage the logistics involved with the biennial SCRA conference this June. Often such events are designed by and intended for students, which means the more students engaged in the process the better.

Our graduate programs are designed to help us identify needs and be of service to constituents, often through the act of allyship and advocacy. The PGSO can be one vehicle where students can promote and share ideas or action steps they believe should be disseminated to the wider community. It can also be utilized as a space to learn about fellow student’s work, to support and motivate one another, and to share research and other resources.

We asked the current executive team of the PGSO why they joined, why they think it’s important that students get involved, and how the PGSO can help serve the UMass Lowell community and the community at large. Here were some of their answers:

Charlotte Wilinsky, CSP, Secretary of PGSO, 2014-2015.
I joined the PGSO because it seemed like a great opportunity to become more involved in the graduate program. The PGSO has so much potential to connect students and faculty, and our graduate programs with other parts of the campus and community, and I liked the idea that as a group we could develop these areas even more.

Kaitlin Stoll, CSP, Vice-President of the PGSO, 2014-2015.
I think it’s important for students to get involved because they can help make their graduate experience better. By being a part of the PGSO you are able to have your voice heard. It’s also an added bonus that you get to know your peers on a more intimate level.

Liz Ejaife, CSP. President of the PGSO, 2014-2015. I joined PGSO because I wanted to be more involved in my program and get to know my fellow CSP and ASP students. I think it is important that students get involved with PGSO because for the next 2 years, we are going to be learning and sharing experiences with each other so forming a stronger bond can help enrich that experience.

Graduates in Psychology have many skills and a great deal to share. By coming together we continue to grow and learn from one another and give back to the larger community. By doing so, we take advantage of all our chosen program has to offer.

The PGSO will continue to meet throughout the this hectic and snowy semester and we sincerely hope to see you there!
Feel free to email the President, Liz Ejaife, OfaLiz_Ejaife@student.uml.edu with any questions or suggestions.

Onward and outward!
Mary Tauras, CSP.
Treasurer and Senator of the PGSO, 2014-2015.