GSA initiative provides health coverage to student parents

The Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) held its final meeting of the summer on Tuesday evening, introducing initiatives and policies in the interests of Laurier’s post-graduate students, a group projected to grow rapidly in the near future.

The interests of post-graduate student clubs were advanced by the drafting of a student club policy that will allow financial support to these groups under the GSA, not unlike the way Laurier’s undergraduate students’ union administers a department of clubs and activities.

The big agenda item was a health and dental assistance program for doctoral students taking terms off for parental leave. The program, brought forward as a measure to assist doctoral students who take terms of leave to have children by granting health insurance coverage, comes as a response to the postponement of a university-run parental leave bursary until 2012.

According to projections by GSA president Christinia Landry, the program will cost the association just under $14,000 over the next two years, during which an estimated 15 students would apply for coverage.

“This is a very small amount of money for us to be able to give to new parents,” Landry explained, adding that programs of this nature are in place for post-graduate students at other institutions. The program will be in place for this September.

Also discussed during the meeting were a new exclusive catering agreement with Food Services for the grad lounge, minor changes to the association’s policy manual, and pending graduate student-specific study space on the third floor of the library.