Student Life

GISA Exit Interview with Nishtha Agarwal

By The Graduate Press Editorial Board

On May 15th, the GISA Board officially welcomed its newly elected members, with the positions of President, Vice President of Masters, Events Coordinator, Treasurer, and President of the Professional Development Committee all transitioning into their new roles. The Graduate Press reached out to the five departing board members for an exit interview, giving them a final opportunity to talk about their experiences at GISA. This is our interview with Nishtha Agarwal, the former GISA Treasurer.

What are you most proud of achieving during your time on the GISA Board?

As a board, GISA works in tandem with different groups of students to advocate for their demands to the Institute’s administration. One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced in the last year is transparency, and that definitely trickles down to transparency and accountability in finances as well. Serving as the Treasurer for the GISA board, I am really proud to be able to create more transparency and accountability within our finances, and thereby provide the monetary support to ensure that the student body can carry out a plethora of activities.

What did you enjoy most about your role as GISA Treasurer?

The thing I enjoyed the most about my role is having a feeling of community at the Institute, whether that was within the Board, or from initiatives and class representatives. We all come from very diverse backgrounds and I fully believe that each and every person I’ve met over the course of my term has taught me something, either in a personal capacity or a professional one, and I am extremely grateful for that!

What was one of the biggest challenges you faced serving as GISA Treasurer?

The biggest challenge was managing funds with respect to the events that various Initiatives organised and the subsequent issues with the Housing administration. There exists a massive communication barrier between the two, making the job much more cumbersome. Over the last year, we’ve seen Initiatives being charged exorbitant security and cleaning charges for organising events. I feel that at some point, either GISA needs to come to an agreement where the Institute subsidises the security costs by half, or they provide us with a larger budget to carry out the activities planned. 

Further, on a personal note, I feel that in order to put things in motion, most of the work I do is behind closed doors. Often, people don’t see it and don’t realise the toll it can take on an officer, because we ultimately have to also manage our academic and professional commitments along with all our GISA responsibilities, and this was definitely a challenge at times. 

What advice do you have for the incoming members of the GISA Board?

For the incoming board members, my advice would be that it is imperative to learn how to communicate with each other, not only on a professional level but also on a personal one. Since each of us is juggling responsibilities within our personal lives as well, there is a high possibility that priorities may change and with better communication, everyone can be accommodated. It is necessary to realise that each Board member is working towards student well-being within their mandates and in their own capacity, and with a little bit of more understanding, we can create a more holistic bond within the Board.

 Lastly, I’d like to say that all the incoming members should allow themselves the chance to reflect on and be proud of the things they’ve championed during their GISA term, no matter how big or small those things are.

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