Graduate School information fair to be held today

By Leah George-Baskin

There will be a Graduate School Information Fair today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Illini Union Rooms A, B, C and South Lounge.

The Information Fair is an event exclusively for graduate students both new and returning so they can learn what resources are available to them on campus, said Rebecca Bryant, director of the graduate college career services office.

Bryant said there are 45 participating units, including student financial aid, Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES), the library and childcare resources. Booths will be set up for graduate students to get information and ask questions.

“A lot of grad students are older and have families where childcare resources are important to them, whereas undergrads don’t usually have families,” Bryant said. “(The Information Fair) orients students with resources they may never realize they had. That way, grad students know what is available and what would be helpful to them, and it will be in the back of their mind two years down the line.”

At 11 a.m., Richard Wheeler, the graduate dean. will speak to the attendees.

Wheeler said that he wants to let students know they made a sound choice in coming to the University and wants to give them welcome and assurance.

“Graduate college work is dispersed in departments and (grad students) spend most of their graduate careers in these departments,” Wheeler said. “This fair is to introduce them to the broader world and let them know the Graduate College is there to work with students, and wishes to work with them.”

From 12 to 2 p.m. there will be a series of small group discussions, covering topics like proactive career planning, problem solving and the culture of being a grad student.

There also will be a raffle for prizes donated by various participating units.

Bryant said it is important to have events exclusively for graduate students because they make up one quarter of the campus population.

Bryant said this year there are more than 8,000 graduate students on campus, both new and returning.

Wheeler said it is a larger group than in previous years.

The Information Fair is meant for all disciplines of graduate students across campus.