Senate President Fung: Developing trust and working partnerships is foundational
Increased participation, better communication, and productive partnerships across campus: these are the goals of the Civil Service Senate under the leadership of President Brave Fung. His two-year term began in the fall of 2022.
Fung completed a Bachelor of Health Science in Community Health with a foundation in substance abuse at Governors State University (GSU) in 2021. After a 22-year absence from education, Fung found that GSU was the perfect place to begin his journey. “It was so easy,” he said. “GSU caters to people like me—in their 40s, non-traditional students, transfer students, and people who haven’t had the easiest of journeys.”
Currently, Fung is employed as a Payroll Specialist I at GSU. He is also a graduate student in the Master of Health Science with a concentration in Addiction Studies and focused on achieving licensure as a counselor. Additionally, he brings previous experience in business management and leadership to the Senate presidency role.
Fung already envisions how the Senate can change the campus for the better, “We want to develop working partnerships and trust each other. This is foundational for us,” Fung said.
Over the years, he became involved on campus in myriad ways and most recently, started a healing group for caregivers as he faced challenges assisting his own mother. So it’s no surprise that Fung was asked to consider serving as Civil Service Senate president.
“I would’ve never raised my hand, but I also can’t leave anything on the table. It forces me to do my best as a servant-leader. In the universe, everything happens for a reason,” Fung said.
The Civil Service Senate is composed of 22 members who represent a diversity of work assignments, experiences and backgrounds. Fung became an active member of the Senate after accepting his position in payroll three years ago, managing to work and attend classes full time.
He feels strongly that employees should understand what civil service means and what the benefits are. He wants to ensure that they know where to find resources and understand processes, like how to earn a job reclassification and a promotion. “After the University’s effort to reclassify jobs, many people didn’t understand civil service, so the educational piece is very important,” he adds.
Senate leaders want to encourage increased attendance at meetings, as well. They also want to improve communication on campus with a newsletter and gain financial support from fundraising. Another priority is to encourage everyone to come forward with their input, suggestions and concerns. “I’m all about transparency,” Fung said. “As people come to us, it’s important to listen, honor their concerns, and then provide resources and tools.”
One of Fung’s first objectives is to organize a retreat for Senate membership. He’s hoping the University will provide the resources and time off for members to focus on Senate work away from their other job duties.
Another effort involves documenting Senate processes, which will help the leadership team “learn from their successes and mistakes. This creates long-term success and longevity, helping us in the future, not just today,” said Fung.
“I’m humbled to work with everyone because they’re so committed,” Fung said. “What I’ve found is that I’m inspired by their dedication.”