What Does the GSU Do?

In this guest post, Caitlin Smith Oyekole, a 5th-year English Ph.D. student and current Co-Vice President of the GSU explains the functions of the GSU and the many ways in which they support graduate students

This year, the 2018 Graduate Student Union executive board is focusing on improving communication between the GSU and the average grad student. Our big, first question is: Where’s the breakdown happening? Is it the website? Emails? Representative participation? And the answer is all of the above, but there’s a big central problem that keeps coming up.

Most grad students don’t really know what we do.

So here’s a quick overview of what the GSU is, what it does, and how you can get involved!

The GSU supports graduate students in all facets of life

The GSU is the largest and oldest graduate student organization at Notre Dame. It exists to support graduate students in all facets of life—academics, personal life, social programming, research, etc. It provides support in three main ways: money, programming, and proximity to power.

  1. Money
Above: GSU officers delivering bags of gold to hardworking grad students

Our budget comes from the GSU Student Fee and donations from the Graduate School, and we are supported by a dedicated ND staff member, Mimi Beck.

Above: Mimi Beck, a truly wonderful person 

The GSU has much bigger budget than the other graduate student organizations, and we’re happy to share! In addition to using our money to fund the programming for our committees, we set aside money to fund events for other student organizations. We also devote money to the Conference Presentation Grant and the Graduate Teaching Awards.


The GSU also centralizes other organizations’ funding for graduate students, like GradLife’s GO Grants, the Graduate School’s emergency fund for graduate students, and the Shirt Fund, which supports Notre Dame students with extraordinary medical conditions who have demonstrated financial need.

  1. Programming
Oh yes! We have parties, professional development, and… no snappy “p”-word to describe what Quality of Life does. Darn.

Three of the GSU’s five committees (Social and Community Engagement, Quality of Life, and Professional Development) organize events throughout the year. These can range from a big event like the Professional Development Fair, to smaller, demographic-targeted events, like Quality of Life’s coffee & chat series for married or partnered grad students.


Some big, long-running events happen every year. For example, the GSU always sponsors the Jingle Bell Ball in December and a Charity Gala in May. Check out the full programming schedule on our new website, which will go live at the end of Fall Break, to see exactly what’s planned for the year! And watch your inboxes for email alerts.

  1. Proximity to Power
What, you were expecting a different Hamilton reference?

While we aren’t a labor union, the GSU is the primary vehicle for communication between the university administration and grad student community. We mostly do this through committee work. The Academic Affairs Committee and Healthcare Committees place GSU officers on a wide range of university committees—everything from the Parking Lot Committee, to the upper-tier Academic Council!


Why committees? By sitting on committees, the GSU officer can represent the interests of graduate students at multiple levels within the administrative hierarchy. The GSU officer also makes sure that grad students know about important decisions that are being deliberated—by presenting a report at the GSU meeting. Anyone can come to GSU’s monthly meetings—you don’t have to be a departmental representative!

Passionate about something? Come to the GSU meeting and let your voice be heard!


The easiest, quickest way to get involved in GSU is simply to show up! We meet every 3rd Thursday of the month at 6:30 PM in the Duncan Ballroom. Dinner is provided.


You can also reach out directly to any of the Committee Chairs or the Executive Board. We want to hear from you—and we want to support you (E.G. make your lives easier)! Don’t hesitate to let us know what’s on your mind. We are a GSU that works for you!

President: Matyas Tsegaye 

Vice President: Oyekola Oyekole 

Vice President: Caitlin Smith Oyekole

Academic Affairs Chairs:

Alex Brodersen

Tony Rosales

Healthcare Chair:

Kris Murray 

Professional Development Chairs:

Tracy-Lynn Lockwood

Mortaza Saeidi-Javash

Jessica Zinna

Quality of Life Chairs:

Shinjini Chattopadhyay

Connor Mullen 

Joseph Thomas

Social and Community Engagement Chairs:

Alyssa Oberman

Hui Yin Tan

New Research Tool Brought to You by Hesburgh Libraries

Guest post by Mandy Havert, Digital Research and Outreach Librarian.


The Hesburgh Libraries recently purchased access to Scopus which delivers a comprehensive overview of the world’s research output in the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and the arts and humanities. The database allows users to make better research decisions, find leading experts and potential partners and maintain a competitive edge.

The Hesburgh Libraries will conduct workshops on Scopus which are open to all faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students.

After an orientation to Scopus, you should be able to answer these questions:

  1. Scopus: What is it? and why would I use it instead of Google Scholar or PubMed?
  2. Can I easily find my h-index in Scopus?
  3. What are the best practices for using Scopus to give my research a boost?
  4. How can I find potential collaborators using Scopus?
  5. How can I use Author Profiles to help me showcase my research?
  6. How will PlumX Metrics on Scopus help me tell the story of my research?

Three 1-hour sessions are offered October 24, 2018. Each session will have a slightly different focus: Engineering, Science, Social Sciences & Humanities. Choose a session that fits your interests or a session that fits your schedule.

  • 10:30 am (202 Nieuwland) Science focus
  • 1:00 pm (231 Hesburgh Library) Social Sciences & Humanities focus
  • 2:30 pm (231 Hesburgh Library) Engineering focus

Unable to attend one of these workshops? You can find tutorials on the Scopus Website: https://service.elsevier.com/app/overview/scopus/

Prefer to talk with a librarian about Scopus? Contact your subject librarian today to ask for more information.

Contact Mandy Havert at asklib@nd.edu for more information.

What You Need to Know Now about the New Hesburgh Library Spaces

In this guest post, Mandy Havert, Digital Research and Outreach Librarian, encourages graduate students to take advantage of the new spaces at the Hesburgh Library.

Four newly renovated spaces have opened in Hesburgh Library since April 2018. What’s there and how do you use them?

First and second floor collaboration hubs opened in the northwest corner of Hesburgh Library and the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship and a portion of our Technology Row opened on the second floor, east side.

Reimagined for multiple uses, you’ll find everything from group study and consultation spaces to multimedia classrooms and a data visualization lab. Come visit and see what is on offer.

  • Current floor maps available at: https://library.nd.edu/hesburgh-floor-maps
  • Room reservation status monitors display the availability of rooms that may be reserved for classes, meetings or group study. The information displayed is one-directional and does not update from the monitor itself.
    A tip to share: Those who use the rooms on a walk-in basis need to be prepared to move for those who have booked or scheduled the room via the online booking calendar system.

First Floor Collaboration Hub

Designed with our campus partners in mind, the spaces are prioritized for work with academic partners on campus, like the University Writing Center, which hosts Sunday-Thursday writing consultations in rooms 130 and 132.

First Floor Consultation Room

The first floor Collaboration Hub includes work tables and soft seating for individual and group study. Along the south wall, we shelve the materials for the Extensive Reading classes, materials used in foreign language instruction. Additionally:

  • Consultation rooms may be reserved through the “book a group study room” link on library.nd.edu by campus partners or students for activities such as group study, tutorials, or consultations. NOTE: Minimum occupancy: two persons. Rooms may be reserved up to two weeks in advance. Maximum seating capacity varies by room.
  • Videoconferencing rooms – Intended for interviews, webinars, conference calls and other similar purposes, advance booking is required. The rooms are kept locked and the key maybe borrowed from Circulation Desk when reserved time approaches. NOTE: Maximum capacity 2 persons. 
  • Classroom 125 – Campus partners have booking priority for this space. Walk-in use is allowed when the room is not reserved. Reservation requests for this space may be made using the Event and Meeting Space site: https://library.nd.edu/room-reservations
  • Mobile monitors – First-come, first-served, these monitors may be used wherever they’re needed in the library. Please return them to the pillars outside of Classroom 125 so that others can find them when you’re done. An additional mobile monitor can be checked out at the Circulation Desk


Videoconferencing Room

Second Floor Collaboration Hub

The space on the second floor, northwest corner of Hesburgh Library is another collaborative space that is home to instruction rooms, group study rooms available for walk-in use, study nooks, and videoconferencing rooms. The space is also outfitted with soft seating and open carrel-style tables for your individual or group study needs. To serve student study and research needs, the classrooms are left open for walk-in access. While this walk-in use is encouraged, scheduled use of the rooms for instruction or meetings take priority. You may be asked to leave the space when the rooms are booked.

A featured space in the second floor collaboration hub are the study nooks. These open but partitioned spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are intended for groups of more than one person. Frosted glass walls function as whiteboard space.


Study Nooks


Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship

Formerly located on the first floor of Hesburgh Library, the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship has moved and expanded in its new home on the northeast corner of the second floor of the building. The space includes familiar features, such as a dual-monitor computer lab, large monitors in the rooms and public areas, and research consultations and workshops with experts on digital scholarship tools and techniques, such as mapping, data analysis, and text mining and analysis. One of the classrooms now offers the ability to capture lectures, and a new data visualization lab has been added. The 3D printing, large format printing, new Legacy Technology Collection, and equipment lending services are consolidated into one Specialty Technology Room. Please see the Technology Lending link on library.nd.edu to learn about equipment you may borrow for your work here at the University. See space layout and room location information at https://library.nd.edu/floor/hesburgh-2nd-floor. Questions? Email cds@nd.edu.

Technology Row

Technology row is a workspace on the second floor that will open in two phases. Phase 1 is already open and provides workstations for use by members of the university community. Here, you can get work done and use other services located nearby.

The OIT Outpost Desk, formerly located by the Ask Us Desk on first floor has moved to the second floor. This dedicated service desk is located across from the grand staircase to serve you with your OIT Helpdesk needs, including diagnosing software installation, network and printing problems.

A new service called Media Corps has launched to help students in classes with multimedia assignments. The Media Corps Coaches are trained to offer peer-to-peer help with capturing, editing and producing media projects.

Contact Mandy Havert at asklib@nd.edu for more information..

Are you enjoying the new spaces in the Hesburgh Library? What is your favorite place to work or study on campus? Leave a comment below!