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Emily Varga, Hasnet Ahmed, Milad Kazemian, Kory Bertrand, Alicia Dicarlo, and Hiatus House executive director Sylvie Guenther.Officials from the UWindsor graduate and teaching assistants’ union make a $25,000 donation to Hiatus House. From left: Emily Varga, Hasnet Ahmed, Milad Kazemian, Kory Bertrand, Alicia Dicarlo, and Hiatus House executive director Sylvie Guenther.

Students extend support to safe space agency

Its reduced spending during the COVID-19 pandemic enabled a group representing UWindsor graduate and teaching assistants to show support for a local agency countering domestic violence.

Local 4580 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees has spent less during the pandemic, putting it in a position to make a donation of $25,000 to Hiatus House, says president Emily Varga, a doctoral candidate at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research.

“The global pandemic has been hard on everyone, and as it played a part in reducing our expenditures, we wanted to see some of our extra funds go to a local charity where it could do some good,” she says.

Hiatus House provides emergency shelter and other supports to those escaping domestic violence. Its staff works to empower, educate, and care for people experiencing domestic violence and human trafficking.

Executive director Sylvie Guenther says Hiatus House will put the contribution to good use: “We are very grateful to CUPE 4580 for their assistance and support of our programs and services.”

And for her part, Varga says its generosity makes her proud to lead CUPE 4580.

“When we approached the membership about making a charitable donation, there was no hesitation,” she says. “It’s a really good feeling to help out local charities.”

In addition to its support of Hiatus House, the local union also donated $15,000 to the student food pantry and $10,000 to the Street Help Windsor homeless drop-in centre.