New GAPSA leaders build upon growth, involvement for organization

by Kelly Hildebrandt

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly elected Ben Solomon its new president Monday night at Coffman Union. Solomon will take the place of Cheryl Jorgensen, who has held the position since November.
Additionally, Jacob Peugh, last year’s vice president of finance, will take Solomon’s old position as executive vice president.
Both Solomon and Peugh said they plan to continue down Jorgensen’s path for GAPSA to be an advocate for graduate students as well as an information source.
“There isn’t going to be a lot of rebuilding necessary,” Peugh said of the coming year.
Jorgensen’s goals as president were to give the assembly a louder voice and to create a more proactive organization.
Jorgensen said she is confident that Solomon will continue to build upon GAPSA’s recent growth to make it even more active in the coming year.
“GAPSA used to be a very inward-looking organization,” Solomon said. “We’ve changed that.”
One of the issues Solomon said he plans to address is the current parking situation, which he said is continually brought up at Board of Regents meetings. This past year Solomon also served as a regents representative.
Also on the agenda, Solomon wants to continue building a relationship with the regents and other committees throughout campus and work to increase graduate assistant compensation.
Regardless of the current graduate assistant union drive, which will end May 10, Solomon said compensation needs to be raised.
Looking back on the year, both Solomon and Jorgensen are happy with the results.
“I think it was a very good year,” Jorgensen said. “We are much more active than we have been in the past.”
Also during the meeting, committee members elected to increase stipends for the president, executive vice president and vice president of finance.
The president’s stipend was raised from $1,800 to $2,000 per year, and the two vice presidential positions were raised from $1,200 to $1,500.