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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

A&M, UT graduate-level legislative bodies join forces to communicate with Texas Legislature

Graduate student governmental bodies from Texas A&M and University of Texas have co-authored a joint resolution supporting graduate student advocacy with the hopes of co-legislation in the future

Texas A&M’s Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) passed a joint resolution with the University of Texas’ Graduate Student Assembly in support of kick-starting the partnership of both legislative bodies to improve communication to Texas Legislature for future legislation. During the 2017 Orange & Maroon Legislative Day in February the beginning of a foundational network for both universities to collaborate and advocate on the same graduate-level platform began, according to Suchi Sundaram, accounting graduate student and legislative affairs director for the Graduate Student Assembly at the University of Texas.

Paul Taele, computer science graduate student and GPSC president, said the collaboration will benefit both universities.

“Through discussions with our counterparts at UT, we discovered that we would have a greater impact at the graduate student level by working with our counterparts on our unified voice and one of the ways that we did that was pass a joint legislation,” Taele said.

This joint resolution between both legislative bodies is the first of its kind in over a decade. Its primary goals are to maintain formula one funding levels and support research in the state of Texas, according to Brenna Lin, educational psychology doctoral student and GPSC legislative affairs committee chair.

“[The joint resolution] marked the start of a new legislative partnership between both university’s grad student governments, which was also being observed by grad student governments from other universities in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU),” Taele said.

As the combination of both universities make up more than 941,000 alumni and a combined student enrollment of more than 117,000 students, both parties recognized value in providing a unified voice when communicating and lobbying with the Texas Legislature.

“[Orange & Maroon Legislative Day] is a great platform for the two universities to come together and really work together because their priorities are also very similar,” Lin said. “Ultimately, it’s to benefit the state of Texas.”

The passing of this resolution serves as a starting point for both groups to continue communicating with Texas Legislature in the future, by utilizing a unified voice over issues that pertain to both groups equally.

“We’re really trying to exchange our ideas and improve graduate students’ advocacy in both universities because a lot of the issues that are affecting the universities are very similar, so we want to exchange ideas on how to address those,” Sundaram said.

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