Graduate and Professional Students with Disabilities (GPSD) is a peer-based initiative for graduate students who identify as having a chronic illness and/or disability. Chronic illnesses and disabilities may include, but are not limited to, diabetes, Chron’s disease, chronic migraines, dyslexia, depressive and anxiety disorders, PTSD, or any number of other conditions that limit ability to function in the university environment. GPSD is a unique group on campus because it is run entirely by graduate students working in partnership with university leadership to promote substantive cultural change. Our long-term goal is to create a honeycomb network of collaborators who are resources to each other and are committed to developing a more accessible environment. Our three main foci are Support & Advocacy, Institutional Networking, and Professional Development.
Support & Advocacy
- Build a support network for students with disabilities and chronic health problems to connect with resources and with each other.
- Hold a weekly support group to navigate the social and institutional maze, develop a language about our experiences, and point each other to the right resources.
- Communicate our shared concerns to the university, advocating for policy changes, best practices, and a culture of accessibility.
- Create a honeycomb network of allies, supporters, and collaborators throughout campus.
- Collaborate with university leadership, faculty, and other stakeholders to address the challenges we face and partner with them to create positive, supportive solutions that include us in meaningful ways.
- Host a web-based informational hub that connects people to events and resources.
- Offer opportunities to develop professional skills and strategies needed to navigate work environments with a disability.
- Create leadership roles for people to explore their career interests, build their CVs, and promote inclusive practices around disability in their disciplinary fields.
- Support our members who have launched their own service and advocacy initiatives related to disability, wellness, and community building.