New president aims to build community

The Graduate Student Government will elect its executive board members this week after electing Yael Adef, a first year student in the Masters of Social Work program, as GSG president.

Adef said as president she will advocate on behalf of students before the administration and will work toward helping graduate students from all schools feel part of the larger USC community.

“The graduate student experience is definitely different,” Adef said. “Many graduate and professional students commute and have other things in their lives, but we are all still part of one Trojan Family.”

Madame President · Yael Adef, a graduate student studying social work, was elected Graduate Student Government president last week. - Photo courtesy of Yael Adef

As president, Adef said she hopes to facilitate more interaction between the various graduate and professional schools.

“So often graduate students are so passionate about what they’re doing, they spend all their time investing in only their one program,” Adef said. “I want to help students feel like they are part of something bigger, part of the larger USC community.”

Adef currently serves as the social chair on the GSG executive board. Adef said she will work specifically on linking the University Park Campus and the Health Sciences Campus by increasing the frequency and efficiency of shuttle services.

Adef is also a residential coordinator in the Birnkrant Residential College and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology from USC. Adef said she wants to increase programming between GSG and USG.

Adef said she will use her experiences in the social work program and GSG to help her interact with graduate students and achieve her goals as president.

“I went to law school after my undergrad at USC and ended up working as a litigator at an extremely large firm,” Adef said. “I found myself unhappy with the adversarial nature of the work I was doing, however, and wanted to really refocus on helping people.”

Though Adef has many new ideas and plans for her administration, she said she also hopes to continue the work initiated by current GSG President Ryan Estes.

“I was able to accomplish four main things,” Estes said. “Changing the name from [Graduate and Professional Student Senate] to [Graduate Student Government], starting the Metro TAP program, which allows graduate students to use public transportation at an extremely discounted rate, revamping the conference travel grant website and revising election procedures.”

Before this year, every executive board member was chosen by a Senate vote, but now only the President, vice president and Health Sciences Campus director are chosen by direct vote, Estes said.

“All other directors and executive board members will be chosen by a committee consisting of the incoming and outgoing presidents, the person who formerly held the position and two senators,” Estes said. “This ensures that all GSG officers are qualified and have the credentials necessary to lead.”

Though Adef was elected by a direct vote of the Senate, she will participate in the new election procedures this week as executive board members are chosen by a committee.