The English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) is an organization run by and for the graduate students of the Department of English at Vanderbilt University. Our mission is to provide support and resources to our membership, made up of all enrolled PhD and MFA students in our department. Together, we:
- Give mentorship to incoming graduate students, both one-on-one and as a group. We hold monthly mentoring sessions, the topics of which range from seminar paper writing to conference presentations to the job search. Each incoming student is also assigned a peer mentor who becomes a point-person for questions and concerns.
- Organize events, both academic and social. Each year, the EGSA, often with the support of the English department, puts on several talks; these talks feature graduate students at every stage who share their work, as well as speakers, usually faculty, invited from other institutions. The EGSA also hosts several social events a year, ranging from picnics to sporting events to house parties, in order to relieve stress and build solidarity.
- Act as a liaison between graduate students and the department and/or the university. The EGSA provides a united front from which we express our interests and concerns to the administration; as well, we as a body are often welcomed to contribute opinions about departmental events and procedures.
Each year, we strive to address more and more student needs; for example, as of 2012, we have established a procedure through which graduate students, either individually or as a whole, can engage in service projects around Nashville. Many of our members volunteer at literacy councils, prisons, and animal shelters. We aim to continue such service to the public, to the university, and to each other in the coming years.