The grad student union here (of course, not officially recognized by the university) recently started a drive for, among other things, vision and dental benefits for grad students, neither of which we currently get included in our health insurance. A couple months ago, I attended a demonstration to bring the issue to the administration's attention, and am generally in solidarity with the union's goals of improved health care and, ultimately, union recognition. Until two days ago, however, I had no pressing need for vision or dental services.
Then (cue drum roll...) my glasses frame snapped, in the middle of a thin piece (i.e. not at a joint). I usually wear contacts, so it's not too terrible, but for the past couple of nights my pre-bedtime junky reading has been done with my glasses lopsidedly sitting on my nose. Not very comfortable. So, it's off to the hardware store to invest in some Crazy Glue and keep my fingers crossed that I don't have to shlep my non-insured self to the optometrists and buy entirely new frames.
On a related note, I was thrilled to see and hear at the above-mentioned demonstration a faculty member who I've been getting to know, an assistant prof who's been involved with grad student unionization efforts for, I'd guess, the past 10 years or so, since he was a grad student at Berkeley. It was rather inspiring to hear about the success of their campaign, which was, I believe, instrumental in forcing public universities to recognize grad student unions. And even more heartening, in some ways, that he's still willing to stand up and fight with those of us at private schools who haven't yet achieved this goal. Solidarity (and uncracked glasses)!