University of Vermont

RGSA Update – December 2013

Rubenstein School graduate students participate in a Dean's Forum with Interim Dean Jon Erickson.
Rubenstein School graduate students participate in a Dean's Forum with Interim Dean Jon Erickson.

The Rubenstein Graduate Student Association (RGSA) is proud to report highlights of another successful semester. An organization of and for graduate students, RGSA continued its tradition of representing student interests and priorities within the Rubenstein School and building community among students, faculty, and staff through scholarly and social events, including the well-attended fall seminar series and always delicious Chili Cook-Off.

Engaging in School Affairs: As the Rubenstein School searches for a new Dean and moves to update its Strategic Plan, RGSA is committed to ensuring that graduate students are fully informed and involved in all goal-setting and decision-making processes. Toward this end, RGSA held two important meetings in November. First, Interim Dean Jon Erickson provided an informative snapshot of RSENR, including data and analysis regarding the graduate program, during his State of the School presentation.

This background information helped set the stage for the RGSA All-Members Meeting and Dean’s Forum, where Interim Dean Erickson, Graduate Program Coordinator Kimberly Wallin, and Graduate Student Services Specialist Carolyn Goodwin Kueffner provided important updates regarding ongoing school planning processes and issues concerning graduate education. Discussion topics included ideas to increase interaction between faculty and graduate students, improve required graduate courses, and support graduate internship opportunities.

Fall Seminar Series: With topics ranging from land conservation to ecological economics to sustainable food systems, the RGSA-organized fall seminar series featured an impressive line-up of trailblazing environmental leaders, thinkers, and organizers.  Averaging over 35 attendees per week, students, faculty, and staff from across the university enjoyed 13 weeks of engaging presentations and stimulating conversation. Doctoral students Christopher Clement and Monika Derrien, seminar series coordinators, assembled an exciting group of speakers, publicized and hosted each seminar, and facilitated discussion among presenters and grad students over post-seminar dinners. Many thanks from RGSA and the Rubenstein community!  Read more….

RGSA mini-grants: Lee Corbett, Peter Euclide, and Phillip Halteman were each awarded $200 mini-grants for travel to scholarly conferences and a professional training program.

Chili Cook-Off:  Eleven cooks and over forty student, staff, and faculty “eaters and judges” enjoyed delicious chili during RGSA’s Annual Chili Cook-off. The event raised $80 for the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, a Burlington-based organization working to alleviate hunger and cultivate opportunities through culinary job training programs.  View the Chili Cook-Off pictoral….

This year’s winners are:

1st place meatNathan Reigner

1st place vegetarian Bess Perry

2nd place meatEmil Tsao

2nd place vegetarian - Christine Peterson