Tonight was my last meeting as an Executive Senator with GPSS.. I’ve got mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’ll be good to have my Wednesday nights back, but on the other, I always find it a little anticlimactic and sad to move on from any organization I’ve been a part of.
In the case of GPSS, I’ve been involved for almost 5 years, about 3.5 of that as an Executive Senator. Through it, I’ve been on all sorts of committees: from search committees for the Dean of Engineering and Student Regent to the University Disciplinary Committee, from the Disputes Resolution Advisory Committee to the Science & Policy Committee. It’s been a good ride, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with a wide variety of interesting people, to contribute to policy discussions at various levels, and to participate and help organize a variety of events. With the exception of the people I’ve met through FIUTS, my social life in Seattle is largely based on people I’ve meet through student government, and I’m very grateful for the friendships I’ve made. Even my D&D group is partly made up from people I met as the graduate student liaison with ASUW, the larger student government of UW.
Stepping down was of course inevitable. I plan to defend sometime in early 2014 and that’s only possible if I knuckle down and get on with my research project, but it’s a little hard to let go. I think part of it is probably my native perfectionism. Though I’ve been with GPSS for some time, it’s only really been in the couple of years that I’ve had the confidence to drive discussions and there’s far more that I could learn from the organization and its people. Every time we pass a resolution or run an event, there’s clear things I can see that I could improve on. That’s not to say that any of these are failures, merely that there’s always something to strive for. It feels strange to leave when there’s more I could learn and do.
Anyway, here are shout outs to some of the people that have inspired me in my time with GPSS: Jake Faleschini, President 2008-2010, whose open passion and humble approach to leadership did a lot to improve my estimation of the US when I first arrived at UW; Charles Plummer, President 2011-2012 and Exec Senator for years before, whose meticulous attention to detail and steady hand on administrative affairs always set a high bar I never quite felt I was able to meet; Adam Sherman, President 2012-13, whose marvellous charisma and positive outlook is just a pleasure to witness; and Melanie Mayock, VP 2012-13, who is about as tenacious and committed a lobbyist as I’m ever likely to encounter, with principles to boot.
Others have become good friends, even if I don’t see them often: Kristen Hosey, who is taking her never ending reserve of humour off with her to Africa for a year; Lindsay Morse whose quiet resolve and perspective I seem only to encounter at GPSS reunions and PAX; Shawn Mincer whose huge smile and never-ending comic book suggestions I hope to see and hear more often; and Yutaka Jono, who I’ve not seen since Osaka in 2011, but whose sense of humour and eccentric outlook on life I hope to experience again. Still others I’m still getting to know or never got to know as well as I’d have liked: Aaron Naumann, Chris Lizotte, Vera Giampietro, Evan Firth, Megan Gambs, Colin Goldfinch, Keolu Fox, Alice Popejoy, and many others.
But it’s the continuing flow of new people, passionate, principled, and engaged, that I’ll miss most. GPSS has been a privilege to work for and a pleasure. It’s been great. I hope to stay in touch.