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.


SLU Student Union is located on 14th floor, room 1430

What's New at SLU Student Union

On 12/5/2023 through quorum the SLU Student Union voted to approve two research support professional development initiatives utilizing professional development category of student activity fee funding. The first initiative is the Reimbursement Grant for approved individual student professional development activities outside of CUNY SLU. The second initiative is the Research Journal initiative which will provide students enrolled in Independent Study, Capstone, Fieldwork courses at the undergraduate and graduate level with a research journal in support of their research-intensive coursework.

The SLU Student Union is currently working on Community Cupboard and Hygiene Product Initiative, more information about those two project will be available soon.

Student Union Programs and Initiatives

Monthly Social Mixer

The Student Union hosts Monthly Social Mixer events as part of our community engagement agenda. Each Monthly Social Mixer event is unique and happens during every month of all semesters in the official academic student year. These Monthly Social Mixer events provide food, socializing, networking, and space for students.

SLU Student Clubs

The SLU Student Union has drafted New Club Registration policy for students wishing to register as a student club on campus for recognition from the SLU Student Union and benefitting from access to allotted funding from Student Activity Fees. Read the proposed registration guidelines and email the SLU Student Union at

Hygiene Products

The SLU Student Union provides various single-packaged Hygiene Products purchased through Wellness and Health category of Student Activity Fees budget. This initiative was approved through vote of the Student Union. The Hygiene products are found on the table along where the Community Cupboard is on 14th floor. Available products are: mouthwash, bar soap, alcohol pads, lip balm, sanitizing wipes, ointment. Location: 14th floor in the Student Lounge.

Community Cupboard

The SLU Community Cupboard provides miscellaneous non-perishable food items for free to students on campus to come and take for their own consumption and/or come and donate for other students to receive. This is a form of direct mutual aid occurring on campus. All food is donated. The stock of food on the Community Cupboard table is replenished through what others decide to bring in. The food are items subject to change. Location: 14th floor in the Student Lounge.

Professional Development and Research Grant

The SLU Student Union approved through vote access to the Professional Development category of Student Activities Fees budget for students through its Professional Development and Research Grant. The monetary grants covers for the costs upon students for professional development activities in support of education outside of SLU. Apply

Research Support Journal

The Student Union approved through vote to support students through Professional Development category of Student Activity Fees budget in Capstone, Independent Study, and Fieldwork research intensive courses at SLU with providing Research Support Journals. This journal is given to all enrolled students in the above courses only.

Community Organizing

The SLU Student Union is part of CUNY University Student Senate. The University Student Senate is comprised of elected student leaders from all 25 CUNY campuses. The USS through its legislative agenda is organizing students lobbying for free metrocards to all CUNY students. March in March is also student-led community organizing event.

Elected Officers

Meet SLU’s Student Union Officers

Shirley Rollins, BA in Labor Studies, Co-Chair

Providing direction on behalf of us students to maintain our enhanced learning experience and guaranteed success is Shirley’s aim! Shirley Rollins is a first year CUNY SLU student, BA in Labor Studies. Shirley does take notice and respect the family structure of CUNY SLU that she would be honored to maintain, bring innovative ideas in a collective effort, and empower us all, students, and faculty alike to take on! Shirley Rollins is running for the position of Co-Chair. Her 1199SEIU and community outreach background demonstrates a sincere commitment to CUNY SLU that will make her the best suited for this role. Working at 1199SEIU for 5 years, Shirley has worked multiple roles, including a secretary in the steering committee meetings for the NYS Staffing Legislation.

Originating from Harlem, NY, Shirley has been active in community outreach since high school. She is an experienced writer and orator in spoken word, community development & inner-city youth programs. As a Red Hook Youth Court Member, Shirley has had the pleasure to speak to US Attorney General Janet Reno, major media platforms and community organizations to show how inner-city youth can and has improved their lives in impoverished communities. With her bright & energetic persona, she has shared her written poetry to uplift & empower many in her community. As Co-Chair of the new Student Union, Shirley vows to communicate the needs and concerns of the students in an effective and dignified manner to enhance the winning family structure that both students and faculty provide! Our success is a true merit of solidarity to keep on achieving at the maximum level!

Myra Machado, MA in Urban Studies, Co-Chair

My name is Myra Machado, and I am writing to express my interest in the position of Co-Chair for the 2024-2025 SLU Student Union. As a second-semester Master of Urban Studies student, I am passionate about social justice and believe I have the skills and experience to contribute to the role effectively. I am originally from Caracas, Venezuela, and have lived in New York City for the past six years. One of the aspects that drew me to CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies was its focus on the four principles of social justice: equity, access, civic participation, and human rights. My previous experiences include working with non-profit organizations such as Fast Food Justice, where I learned about labor laws and advocated for the rights of fast-food workers. I have also been involved in tenant organizations, fighting for housing rights and studying the effects of gentrification in neighborhoods like Bushwick and Harlem. Additionally, my full-time job at the Young Adult Institute (YAI) and The Bridge has given me firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, substance use disorders, and mental health issues. I am also a member of the 1199 Union.

While I have not been a part of the Student Union, I believe this opportunity would allow me to learn and contribute my experiences to the organization.

Kanema Varner, MA in Labor Studies, Treasurer

Kanema Varner is a first-generation, West Indian American college graduate student who was born and raised in a single-parent household in Brooklyn, New York. She serves as an assistant teacher for PS87 in the upper West Side of Manhattan and works as a Malavi leader for CUNY. As a former treasurer for the Burrough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC)’s Sisterhood Society, she advocated for reasonable accommodation funding and infrastructure on BMCC campus. She believes that as a student union representative, every student who attends courses at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies should have equal and endless opportunities, regardless on their gender, race, ethnicity, and disability. As the oldest of nine children, she has always been a leader and gained the nickname “boss lady” as she always makes sure everything runs smoothly, even if something goes wrong. She never backs down from a challenge, especially when it comes to social and community justice. She currently holds a 3.828 GPA for SLUS’s Master’s program. Just as her grandma tells her, “To whom much is given much is required.” Not only does she strive to implement this saying in her daily life, but in every role she gains.

Oliver Compton, BA in Labor Studies, Treasurer

Oliver Compton is a second semester junior, completing his bachelors in labor studies at CUNY SLU. Youthful, and making up his lack of experience with passion, Oliver would bring a variety of skills to the student union. Most relevant, as he is looking for the role of treasurer, would be his skills in managing and running a small catering business where he was responsible for keeping track of all finances. At the SLU student union, Oliver looks to develop these skills and put them to use advocating for the funds that SLU initiatives deserve. Besides advocacy, Oliver hopes to involve the SLU student union more vigorously in the ongoings of the greater CUNY system. Growing up Quaker, Oliver is quite familiar with consensus and collective action. This upbringing, and his commitment to the service of other people is what motivates his study of labor. Moreover, it is what makes him so obsessed with solidarity, and with the SLU student union he is looking to expand solidarity, across the school and across the greater CUNY system.

William Cintula, BA in Labor Studies, Secretary

William Cintula is a second semester BA Labor Studies student at CUNY SLU. He’s held dozens of jobs and an extensive career in the hospitality & beverage industries. Aside from providing the best food, drink, and service in the city, he’s used his penetrating analytical skills to dissect the hierarchical structures that have prevented service workers from keeping solidarity with one another, and demanding what they rightfully deserve. Staten Island born, William has influenced tastes and trends while managing the local Holiday Beverage. He’s managed the portfolios of 4 breweries of local, regional, and national status for Sheehan Family Companies in all five boroughs. He’s given his time to Kills Boro Brewing Company, developing and executing sales strategies for them, allowing them to scale up their production and open a second location. The thread that really ties these jobs to his current role is William’s ability to listen to the needs of his co-workers and business partners. He is a natural leader, and has an innate mastery skill that has allowed him to fine tune each role he’s filled, and advance quickly in each path he’s chosen. He’s taking that ability and now using it to serve justice and dignity to his working class cohort.

Rhonda Joseph, 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 as a Civil Servant for the City of New York since 2006 and served as a union Shop Steward throughout her tenure.  Rhonda has juggled between work and academic life since 2022. Rhonda is a current Labor Studies Steering Committee Executive Board Member and is committed to continuing to serve the Student Union for the remainder of her time at CUNY SLU.  Rhonda is no stranger to community work and advocacy while building relationships and strengthening partnerships and looks forward to dedicating the rest of her volunteer time to seeing the Student Union’s voice elevated and strengthened throughout the halls of CUNY SLU.

Rhonda would like the opportunity to see CUNY SLU students continue to excel on this journey of life changing importance, Higher Education, the equalizer.  The opportunities available through CUNY SLU and the degree earned from this institution will allow its graduates to undoubtedly change the game for social justice and the labor movement. Rhonda would like to ensure that these opportunities remain available and accessible while opening the door to additional resources and opportunities.  Rhonda welcomes the opportunity, spending the next year, continuing with CUNY SLU to offer students, like her, accessibility, diversity, inclusion and acceptance.

Joseph Newswander, BA in Labor Studies, Steering Committee

I have been at SLU since Fall 2021 in pursuit of the Labor Studies BA program. I am an intern at 1199 SEIU through the SLU Union Semester program as of Spring 2024. My past experiences include attending SUNY Old Westbury, serving in AmeriCorps tutoring math, and working in health benefits administration, food service, retail, warehousing, and more. SLU’s primarily working adult student body brings together and cultivates a unique and fulfilling educational atmosphere full of diverse perspectives. I have experienced SLU both as a full-time working adult and as a full-time student, and this perspective can inform the ways I would connect with my fellow students as a student union leader. I would love to expand ways to extend connections between students, especially those who can’t make it to events, by streamlining communications and creating online networking opportunities. I would like to recognize students for their work through a student-union-run newsletter or an existing CUNY channel. I am passionate about the school’s network of offerings and would like to coordinate with the broader CUNY network to integrate access to quality research materials and, extracurricular activities and resources into orientations and curricula. Most importantly, I will prioritize student voices and foster an inclusive culture by facilitating feedback mechanisms accessible to all.

Academic Governing Council / University Student Senate

Faculty Student Disciplinary Committee

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.

SERC Members:

Former Student Union Members

2023 Student Union

Gina Grattan, MA in Labor Studies, Co-Chair
Jamie Johnson, MA in Urban Studies, Co-Chair
Rhonda Joseph, MA in Labor Studies, Steering Committee
Gabriel Feldman-Schwartz, MA in Labor Studies, Steering Committee
Miguel Davila, MA in Urban Studies, Treasurer
Jacob Nardone, MA in Labor Studies, Secretary
N. M. Esa Khan, Adv. Cert in Public Administration, Secretary

Fall 2022 / Spring 2023

Tania Caldwell, BA In Urban Studies, Co-Chair
Miriam Uribe, MA in Labor Studies, Co-Chair
Lakesha Foster, Certificate in Public Administration, Steering Committee
Kevin Wilson, MA in Labor Studies, Steering Committee
Carlos Sanchez, Certificate in Labor Relations, Treasurer
Carole Beyinda, MA in Labor Studies, Treasurer

2021 Student Union

Student Union 2021

Marlon Bailey, MA in Urban Studies, Co-Chair
Theresa Ramos-Villega, MA in Labor Studies, Co-Chair
Tania Caldwell, BA in Urban Studies, Secretary
Nicolas Pineda, MA in Labor Studies, Steering Committee
Kevin Wilson, MA in Labor Studies, Treasurer
Glen Guild, MA in Labor Studies, Steering Committee

Faculty Student Disciplinary Committee 2021

Glen Guild, MA in Labor Studies
Marlon Bailey, MA in Urban Studies,
Nicolas Pineda, MA in Labor Studies
Kevin Wilson, MA in Labor Studies

2020 Student Union

Student Union 2020

Co-Chairs: Siddika Degia and Justin Sanchez
Treasurers: Lawrence Ben and Brian Fluerantin
Secretary: Jake Head
Steering committee: Eriam Lopez and Nicolas Pineda
Faculty Student Disciplinary Committee: Glen Guild, Eriam Lopez, Brian Hunt, and Siddika Degia.