About the GSU
The Graduate Students’ Union is comprised approximately 3500 graduate students at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Members of the Students’ Union are able to vote in referenda of the Union, seek election for positions on the Board of Directors, vote at general meetings, represent the Students’ Union through various university committees, and participate in events and avail of membership services.
Members of the Graduate Students’ Union pay membership fees of $30 per semester. The GSU is also responsible for collecting the Canadian Federation of Students’ membership fees and health and dental plan fees.
The Students’ Union is administered by the Board of Directors under the direction of the general membership of the Union. The Academic Division is responsible for maintaining the Union’s second floor office space, and all properties purchased with graduate student fees. Further, the Board of Directors implements all of the services and campaigns of the Union, allocates resources as appropriate, and provides direction to representatives who oversee the Facilities Division.
The Facilities Division is responsible for managing the Feild Hall residence and office space, Bitters Restaurant and Lounge. Decisions regarding the facility are administered by the Facilities Management Board, under the direction of the Board of Directors and the general membership of the Graduate Students’ Union. The Facilities Management Board is chaired by the Director of Exernal Affiairs of the Union, and is composed of two University representatives, three Union members – one of whom must be a resident of Feild Hall and the Director of Finance of the Union.
History of the GSU
The Graduate Students’ Union began as the Post-Graduate Society, a society of the MUN Students’ Union, the undergraduate students’ union at Memorial. Formed to address the unique needs of a growing graduate population at Memorial, the society had several goals. These included providing activities of a more mature nature for graduate students, publishing a review of research being undertaken at the University to be distributed to other universities, and uniting the often isolated graduate student body.
As a society of the undergraduate students’ union, however, graduate students rarely got the attention they required. Although graduate students could hold positions on the Council, they represented only a small percentage of the student body and were not well represented. The needs of graduate students were viewed as those of a small special interest group.
Graduate students soon realized that their interests would be better addressed by an independent Students’ Union. A graduate students’ union would allow graduate students to more effectively represent themselves on University committees, boards, and councils. The Graduate Students’ Union was officially incorporated in 1971.
Today, the Graduate Students’ Union advocates for its members through comprehensive campaigns strategies directed at policy-makers. It also acts as an advocate on students’ behalf, and provides a number of services to improve students’ lives while they are studying at MUN.
The GSU is a member of the Canadian Federation of Students, working with over eighty other member students’ unions of the Federation across the country to campaign for more accessible post-secondary education and to provide services. In Newfoundland and Labrador, every post-secondary student, including the members of the MUN Students’ Union, the Grenfell College Student Union, the Marine Institute Students’ Union, and the College of the North Atlantic Students’ Union, are members of the Canadian Federation of Students. Countrywide, more than thirty graduate students’ associations are members of the Federation, and participate through the National Graduate Caucus.