GAPSA reflects on new budget, approves members

GAPSA members stressed the importance of being involved on campus.

Elizabeth Cook

University President Bob Bruininks kicked off the first Graduate and Professional Student Assembly meeting of the semester with a discussion Wednesday on how the legislative agenda affects students.

His appearance was intended to get students concerned about the legislative process, said GAPSA President Suzanne Sobotka.

Approximately 25 GAPSA members listened to a breakdown of what the proposed $192.3 million budget request would go to if passed by the legislature with an ending of encouragement for involvement.

“We need to have the student voice,” he said. “When you look them in the eye and tell them that you’re trying to make ends meet.”

During the same meeting, the group also filled the vice president for public affairs position.

Matthew Schmit won the position with a majority assembly vote.

Schmit is a fourth-year public policy and public health graduate student.

He will bring experience from his time as a staffer in the state Senate between 2003 and 2006 to this position.

Since the Legislature is currently in session, it was very important for the vice president of public affairs to have a good sense of how the process works, said Kristen Denzer, vice president for student affairs.

“Knowledge of the process is just really important,” she said.

Schmit said he’s really frustrated with the state for not contributing as much to the University budget and would like to take a grassroots approach in the future.

“I was able to see the funding levels not met and the impact it has on the students and families,” he said.

He wanted the position to educate and advocate to students the importance of getting involved in this legislative session.

“I really desire to make a contribution,” he said. “I want to really engage the campus.”

GAPSA also approved Chao Yang, Jacques Maxwell, Joe Foley and Eric Butz at the meetings as new committee members of the All-Campus Election Committee.