Students & Campus
06 December 2021

Student-run Graduate Press Receives 2021 Student Leadership Award

The Graduate Press (TGP) is an independent news source maintained by graduate students at the Institute. This fall, its board members – Anne Lee Steele, Isabela Carrozza Joia, Tapakshi Magan, Laura Silva Aya, Samuel Pablo Pareira, Neva Newcombe and Safa Rahim – were honoured with the 2021 Student Leadership Award for their hard work and dedication to bringing student voices to the fore. 

In the fall, with the ushering in of a new board, The Graduate Press took on a new life and emerged as a lively platform for students to share their thoughts on a wide variety of topics. What changed last fall and why was the change necessary?

We initially responded to the needs of students during the rise of the coronavirus pandemic, by consolidating resources and providing a central platform for student voices during the lockdowns. 

During the ensuing summer, The Graduate Press (TGP) started regularly covering social movements and issues that were closer to home, including student politics and elections, and we soon realised that there was a real need for this kind of platform at the Institute. 

Given how culturally vibrant and international the student community is at the Institute, we also wanted to become a platform that celebrated this diversity and allowed our peers to express themselves through the lens of their distinct backgrounds, perspectives, and life philosophies. We’re really proud of how far we’ve come. 

The Graduate Press, just like any student organisation at the Institute, is always going to be dealing with the issue of sustainability and longevity at the Institute. Because students (excluding PhDs) are only on campus for a maximum of two years, we wanted to use the opportunity to develop a press that could outlive all of us. We hope that TGP will continue to be a place for future generations of Institute students. 

What has The Graduate Press achieved that you are particularly proud of?

We are particularly proud of having obtained the trust of the student community. We grew into a platform where students felt welcomed and respected enough to be able to articulate their innermost thoughts, contest ideas and express their personal views on essentially any topic, without fear of being judged. In this way, we have done our best to construct a neutral platform where the spirit of respectful conversation and debate on all kinds of issues is upheld, and which ultimately advocates for freedom of expression at the Institute. 

What's in store for the publication?

Thanks to the consolidation of our structure and dynamic as an Editorial Board, we have been able to retain a degree of continuity in our publication style and editorial choices. We have also paved the way for current members of the board to explore and expand on more issues that pertain to student life, such as mental health support, financial and scholarship, housing problems, among many others. 

The Board is also preparing collaborations with other publications, both student and professional, in the near future. 

TGP will continue to create its print issues, a collection of beautiful visual art and literary pieces - including poems, essays and personal reflections - submitted by students which are published biannually every semester. 

Most critically, however, we hope that The Graduate Press will continue to flourish as a welcoming, neutral platform that amplifies student expression at the Institute. We hope to see it maintain its journalistic curiosity and independence, remain bold and audacious, and serve as a mechanism for accountability and visibility in favour of the students it represents. 

What does winning the Student Leadership Award mean to all of you?

We feel a sense of accomplishment, pride and gratitude to know that our hard work made an impact on, and a difference for, the student community. We were a strong, collaborative and lively team, and it’s incredibly meaningful to be able to share this achievement together. While TGP has surpassed our initial hopes and expectations, this award feels like an opportunity to take a step back and look at how far our student community has come.