Advocacy

The GSA spends a considerable effort representing the needs and concerns of graduate students to the Laurier administration, the municipal, provincial, and federal governments, and other external bodies.

We also work one-on-one with graduate students who require advocacy assistance for both curricular and co-curricular reasons.

Local Advocacy Efforts:

Our current advocacy initiatives are:

  • Ensuring that MSW students have a positive and enriched experience with the MSW practicum office and in their practicum placements
  • Asking Laurier to commit to a mandatory TA Training program that includes Gendered Violence, Micro-aggression's in the classroom, the TRC in the classroom, FIPPA legislation and all government regulated training pieces for employees
  • Requesting that graduate students receive the same benefits of a mid-semester break (Fall Reading Week) that undergraduate students at Laurier receive
  • Pushing to have the Tuition Payment plan for graduate students become a permanent option (pilot program in Fall 2016)

Provincial Advocacy Efforts:

The Ontario Graduate Students’ Alliance is a not-for-profit corporation that focuses on advocacy for graduate students in the Province of Ontario. The organization’s main objective is to advocate on behalf of their members on issues pertaining solely on post-secondary education. The OGSA is a student organization that is member driven and approaches advocacy efforts with research based solutions that articulate positions to MPPs and other policy makers. Decisions made annually by the Government of Ontario directly effects education in Ontario.

Our GSA President serves on the Board of Directors for OGSA. More information can be found at www.ontariogsa.com

PAST WINS:

Historically the GSA has been effective in representing the needs and concerns of our diverse community. We have experienced advocacy “wins” in the following areas:

  • Securing a webpage and guide where graduate students can go for help in terms of their employment with the university
  • Secured funds from the Sustainable Hawk Fund for creation of an herb garden outside of Veritas
  • Raised awareness about the need for clearer communication in faculties regarding research assistantship pay on all communication channels 
  • Developing a student-supervisor checklist to encourage positive working relationships
  • Ensuring that the graduate student voice was heard during Laurier’s Integrated Planning and Resource Management (IPRM) project
  • Detailing the specific needs of graduate students with respect to the Access Copyright fee
  • Building and maintaining cross-departmental relationships to create diverse programming to reach all graduate students
  • Championing mental health on campus, acting as leaders and contributing to the development of a Wellness Strategy and Centre for Laurier
  • Executing graduate student feedback into the graduate student Health and Dental Plan options
  • Ensuring that the departments reporting to the VP: Student Affairs have programs and services that reflect the needs of the graduate student population
  • Offering guidance to all graduate students with individual needs and confidential matters
  • Creating the Laurier Wellness HUB – an online tool that all Laurier students can access (now through the Wellness Centre) wellness information through
  • Developing the Laurier Library Exhibit space to showcase graduate student research
  • Ensuring that graduate students are represented on all university committees
  • Working to see the establishment of parental leave benefits for PhD students
  • Collaborating with government officials to raise issues that impact the quality of Graduate Student Education in Ontario through maintaining an active membership with the Ontario Graduate Students’ Alliance