The SLU Student Union is the elected representative and appropriating body of currently enrolled degree and credit-bearing certificate students, working to provide a forum for discussion of school-related issues and matters of particular concern to the student body, as well as developing and administering in- person social and cultural programming and activities. The Student Union works to ensure the student perspective is considered by faculty and administration in matters related to the school’s operations. The Student Union works closely with student affairs on planning for upcoming events and programs.
Meet SLU’s New Student Union Officers
MA in Labor Studies, Co-Chair
My name is Gina Grattan and I am in my 2nd semester of the Masters of Labor Studies. I am hoping to become one of the Co-Chairs for the 2023-2024 SLU Student Union. I moved from Nova Scotia, Canada last August to take SLU’s Union Semester program and loved the school and the people I’ve met here so much I decided to stay. Student unions in Canada have a very radical organizing history and I would love to bring this to SLU. During my undergraduate degree, I was the External Vice President of my university’s student union, which was the position that oversaw the running of student advocacy campaigns such as fighting for free and accessible education. I would love to bring my organizing experience at a progressive student union to SLU and advocate alongside my fellow students for ways we can make our time here the best it can be. I am so grateful for all that the SLU community has given to me, and I want to give back to it the best way I know how: through supporting and uniting students together to make SLU what we want it to be. Solidarity and #FreeCUNY! <3 <3
MA in Urban Studies, Co-Chair
My name is James Johnson and I submit my candidacy for the SLU Student Union Co-Chair position. I am a graduate student in the Master of Arts, Urban Studies program. I would be a great candidate because I’m empathetic and committed to making a positive change in my community. I’m also passionate about assisting those who are less fortunate. I have had my own life hardships and my family, as well as my community, have always extended their hand and provided guidance and support. Similarly, I just want to extend my hand to those who are in need. I have over 30 years of corporate or nonprofit work experience and my professional leadership skills will transcend to the SLU student body. I’ve also held a leadership role while in high school as Senior Class President. I’m able to think critically, defuse hostile situations and work with a diverse group. In addition, I’m outgoing, hardworking, open minded and easy to get along with. It would be an honor to serve the SLU student body.
MA in Labor Studies, Steering Committee
Rhonda F. Joseph is a born and raised Brooklynite of Immigrant parents. Rhonda acquired her Bachelor of Science Degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and her Master of Art Degree from Brooklyn College. She is currently working on a second master’s degree in labor studies at CUNY SLU. Rhonda has worked at the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene since 2006. She was elected Shop Steward shortly after joining the Department of Health for CWA 1180. Rhonda has maintained her community advocacy while pursuing her professional aspirations at the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. Rhonda’s service to the community has led to her being elected as one of the first parent leaders to be elected as both a member of CEC and President’s Council. While education has been the cornerstone of Rhonda’s commitment to advocacy, she simultaneously was appointed to Community Board 17 and served on the Education Committee, elected Chair of the Neighborhood Advisory Board 17 and currently elected as Parliamentarian to the Citywide Community Action Board. Rhonda gained enormous political experience and exposure when running for City Council in the 41st District several terms ago and served as a member of the Participatory Budgeting Citywide Committee. Rhonda is a member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), Recording Secretary for the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) Metro New York Chapter, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) and National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP). Ronda is interested in running for a student union position because she feels a shift or a change this semester and while rigor is necessary in higher education, the voice of full-time working, part-time students seems to be waning and pursuing these opportunities will become the road less traveled if we don’t find a mutually comparative median to successfully help existing and potential students achieve their degrees with minimal disruption to their existing life and more of an integration that their academic pursuits can be folded into.
MA in Labor Studies, Steering Committee
My name is Gabriel Feldman-Schwartz and I came to CUNY SLU in the Fall of 2022 to do the Union Semester program. I arrived at SLU with some impactful organizing experience – while in college, my dining services co-workers and I waged a successful campaign to get student workers New York State minimum wage. At SLU, while interning for 1199 SEIU and taking four classes, I came to realize how incredibly unique SLU is – especially as a place that outwardly supports worker empowerment, and looks squarely at issues of economic and social injustice. I went on to begin my Master’s degree in Labor Studies, which I’m currently completing, while working for GrowNYC in their farmer’s market and compost programs. If elected as a steering committee officer, I will come to this work using an organizer’s lens: as someone wholly committed to empowering the student body, building community, and using our collective power to advance student well-being.
N. M. Esa Khan
Adv. Cert in Public Administration, Secretary
My name is N M Esa A. Khan. Known as Esa (Issa). I am a student of SLU and want to run for the student government. I am studying Advanced Certificate in Public Policy & Public Administration and actively participate in all my courses. I decided to pursue my MA in Urban Studies after my certificate course. I work as a Project Advocate for the New York City Department of Buildings. At work, I support applicants in resolving issues related to filing, zoning, or building code laws and policies. I am also a panelist in the Department of building QA session, where we directly answer and resolve public queries related to construction, building, and zoning laws. Now it is time to join my campus to represent the student body and ensure my fellow’s voices are heard. I am eager to represent the student body where I can constantly work and advocate for my fellow SLU students. I enjoy interacting with my classmates. I believe listening to their ideas and concerns and overall experience in SLU will help me initiate activities to improve the SLU environment and educational process.
MA in Labor Studies, Treasurer
Jacob Nardone is a 5-year veteran of Apple retail and the Lead Organizer of the organizing effort at Apple Grand Central. In January of 2022 after Apple refused to close his store despite the Covid infection rate exceeding the promised store closure rate of
10% Jacob became a founding member of the group known as Fruit Stand Workers United. FSWU was cited as a main inspiration in the recent union certification votes at Apple Towson in Towson, Maryland and Apple Penn Square in Oklahoma City Oklahoma and their work, in conjunction with company wide organizing efforts, led to improved vacation and maternity leaves for part time workers, improved healthcare coverage, and an average of 10% in wage increases. In addition to his organizing work at Apple, Jacob is a graduate of the City University of New York’s School of Labor and Urban Studies’ Union Semester program, having interned as Amazon Labor Union President Chris Smalls’ personal assistant before being hired on in that position.
MA in Urban Studies, Treasurer
I am passionate about developing community improvement and solving urban problems. I am a first-generation Hispanic Male disabled low-income college student born in East Harlem, New York. Formerly homeless, while living in an SRO, I earned two degrees – A.A. in Natural Sciences and B.A. in Anthropology. Once housed and having credentials I participated in an entrepreneurial incubator program. My social enterprise idea won 2ndplace. In 2022, I launched Davila Applied Anthropological Research DAAR, LLC to improve customer outcomes through data-driven research, bridge the data equity gap and support minority start-up business owners. I hold several leadership certifications and volunteer in management positions for public good. I enrolled in SLU’s Advanced Certificate program in Community Leadership and was placed in Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY a disability advocacy non-profit as a community organizer. I completed that program and now am on my way to earning M.A. in Urban Studies. I want to be in the student union to improve outcomes for students. I would be a representative of the student body. I promise to sponsor research into issues affecting student enrollment and persistence; being a staunch advocate for and identifying student needs.
Academic Governing Council / University Student Senate
BA in Urban and Community Studies
Anna will represent SLU Students on the Academic Governing Council and the University Student Senate.
Faculty Student Disciplinary Committee
Carlos Sanchez, Labor Relations Cert
Royada Widdi, MA in Urban Studies,
Melissa McClain, MA in Urban Studies
Kevin Wilson, MA in Labor Studies
Student Elections Review Committee (SERC)
The Student Elections Review Committee (SERC) establishes student election rules and guidelines. The SERC also ensures that election procedures and voting are fair and certifies the results of all student government elections and referenda. Members of the SERC include one (1) faculty, two (2) staff and two (2) students.
Sharon Hardy, Enrollment Director
Penny Lewis, Associate Professor of Labor Studies (Chair)
Michael Rymer, Coordinator, SLU Writing Center
Fitzroy Searles, Student, MA Urban Studies