Being a graduate student at Northwestern should be an exciting and fulfilling experience. The Department of Political Science has a very active student body, and many events, activities, and programs to enhance the student experience.
The Commune is the formal organization of Political Science graduate students, started in 1968. The Commune is led by an elected board comprising two co-chairs, a secretary, a treasurer, and a department representative (i.e. liaison with the Graduate Leadership and Advocacy Council).
The Commune has three primary goals: facilitating communication between the department administration and the graduate student body, advocating for the collective needs of graduate students, and organizing professional development and community building events. In addition to general meetings each quarter, the board also meets regularly and sets up ad-hoc working groups to address specific issues as they arise.
Some recent examples of the results of the Commune’s advocacy on behalf of graduate students include:
- More than twenty-one lockers for graduate students are available for use.
- A coffee machine and water cooler available in the graduate student lounge
- New furniture and new technology in graduate student lounge spaces (2 dedicated spaces in Scott Hall)
- Pursued initiatives to increase diversity in the graduate student body, including recruitment visits and participation in the SROP program.
In recent years, the Commune has organized numerous professional development events, with support from a TGS grant:
- Several practice job talks from job market candidates, as well as an annual faculty-led “How to give a job talk” session
- Dissertation Writing Workshop
- Applying for and Presenting at Conferences
- Applying for Outside Fellowships
- Responsible Conduct of Research Workshop
- Avoiding Burnout in Graduate School
- Gender Gap in Political Science Mini-Conference
- Family & Academia Conversation
- Several events in collaboration with the Teaching Committee, e.g. Teaching Philosophy and Portfolio Workshop, Teaching Sensitive Subjects Panel Discussion, etc.
Last but not least, the Commune also organizes several community-building events, including:
- Fall Welcome Party
- Happy hours
- Post-qualifying exam drinks for third-years
- Prospective Students’ Weekend
The Commune's reputation is well known throughout Northwestern; in 2013, the Commune was nominated for two Northwestern University awards: a Community Enrichment Award and an Outstanding Graduate Student Organization Award.The Commune leaders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and welcome input and suggestions from all members of the community! Back to top