Central Michigan University’s Graduate Student Union is under new leadership for the 2013-14 school year.
GSU President Erin Lewis said she is excited about the new possibilities of expanding what GSU already does.
“I think this is going to be a great year,” the Pennsylvania graduate student said. “We have a lot of highly motivated people working with us who are really passionate about the issues that we address as a union.”
GSU was organized in May 2009 to advocate for the rights of both administrative and teaching graduate assistants. The main goal of the organization is to ensure GAs are secure and satisfied professionally so they can contribute to the best of their ability.
In past years, GSU has worked to establish a base salary, wellness allowance and membership benefits for GAs. The organization also serves as a way for students to grieve about their workload or other problems they may encounter.
Working with the framework from last year, Lewis has several improvement goals planned this year.
“We would like to build our unit membership rate to at least 70 percent so that we can have the opinions and support of as many people as possible,” she said. “GSU will also be continuing to bargain a contract to increase the benefits for our GAs.”
GSU is also working toward expanding their professional development and training series throughout the year, which began with the graduate student orientation and professional development conference Aug. 22.
“The event went really well,” Lewis said. “The students who came really got a lot out of the session, and the faculty who helped had great insight and did a good job voicing their support for their graduate students and GSU’s desire to help students.”
Due to the success of their first event, GSU has decided to expand the training series and have sessions every three weeks, based on what their members feel they need to know or which areas they need more experience in.
Lewis is optimistic this year will be a success for GSU as they look to improve benefits for graduate students at CMU.