GSA initiative provides health coverage to student parents

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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.

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