March 2016: Newsletter


SOGS Update, the official monthly electronic newsletter from SOGS, keeps you up to date on issues and events affecting graduate students at The University of Western Ontario. If you are looking for previous issues of SOGS Update please contact the office.

For updates on events, issues and discussion relevant to graduate students and Western between editions of the newsletter, consider the following:

Do you have an International Student Identification Card (ISIC)? If not, our office is now equipped to distribute ISICs upon request, and the printing process only takes a few minutes. To request your free ISIC, bring your lovely self and your student card to UCC 260 during regular office hours.

Do you have a news item or announcement you would like to have included in the next SOGS Update? Email for more information.

In this month’s Update

Scholarships & bursaries

Research & workshops

In the headlines

Get involved

Grad Life at Western

At the Grad Club

Monthly giveaways: Trivia & NEW photo contest


Scholarships & bursaries

From your Society

Winter 2016 Child Care & Travel Subsidies’ deadline is April 29. Applications can be found in the office or online:

Winter 2016 Bursaries were awarded totalling $75,000… ($60,000 OSOTF & $15,000 OOP) Congratulations to all the winners!

Research & workshops

Western Research Forum

The 2016 Western Research Forum is happening this Friday, March 4, in the IGAB Atrium (the old Ivey Building) from 9am to 5pm.  We have a full day of presentations and posters by the Western graduate student community, and Dr. Anabel Quan-Hasse will be delivering the keynote address, titled Sparks of insight, distraction, and a crooked path: Serendipity in the research process at 10am. Everyone is welcome to attend. Lunch and drinks will be provided at the Grad Club.

Register at to confirm your attendance.

Sexual Violence Forum: Engaging Men at Western

Join us on Friday, March 11 in London Hall, Room 100, for a conversation centered on sexual violence and how you can make a difference. This event is open to all male-identified students, staff and faculty.

This forum will provide a safe environment for men to explore prevailing understandings of masculinity and gender stereotypes and to engage in interactive discussions that present positive aspects of masculinity. Discussion will involve how men can particularly play a role in ending sexual violence on our campus and communities. There is no pre-requisite of understanding or any previous training required, all you need is an interest in this topic and a willingness to discuss it openly.

If you self-identify as a male and would like to be a part of the conversation, reserve you spot by e-mailing Please include information on any dietary restrictions or accommodations you may require. We want to ensure this event is accessible to you.

Here is the schedule of the day:

  • 9:30 – 10:00 Participant Arrival (coffee, tea and light refreshments)
  • 10:00 – 10: 15 Welcome
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Mini-Talks
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Table Discussion # 1
  • 11: 45 – 12 Lunch (provided)
  • 12:00 – 12:45 Table Discussion #2 (continue eating lunch)

You can find this event on Facebook:

Practicing Transgender-Inclusive Health Care: A panel discussion

TransHealthcareOn Thursday, March 17 from 3:30-5:50pm, a panel on transgender-inclusive healthcare will be hosted in Elborn College 1330.

This panel seeks to educate future (and current) health care professionals and the community about transgender issues broadly, and how this knowledge can be translated into more inclusive and trans-positive healthcare practice. There will also be a discussion on such practice in the field speech, voice, language, and communication disorders and therapy.  Q&A period to follow.

Featuring: Dr. Carys Massarella, MD (Transgender advocate and physician); Dr. Greta Bauer, PhD (Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics); Randi Fisher
SLP, Reg. CASLPO (Lecturer, School of Communication Sciences & Disorders); and Ann Teve, MBA (Student, Western University).

Your RSVP is requested on Facebook by March 16:

Questions or concerns can be posted to the Facebook page or sent to Christina Venier at

2016 Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Conference

This June 21-24, the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) Conference will proudly be co-hosted by Western University and Fanshawe College.

The 2016 STLHE conference theme is Empowering Learners, Effecting Change. The graduates who are best equipped to succeed in this rapidly changing world have the ability to adapt and apply their skills to new and unpredictable contexts, see opportunity where others perceive risk, and persist in the face of challenges. STLHE 2016 explores the ways in which we contribute to the development of students who are motivated, confident, and prepared to effect positive change in personal, professional, educational, and civic realms.

The Pat Rogers Poster Prize is adjudicated at the STLHE conference.

In the headlines

Ontario budget commits to free tuition for low-income families

The budget from the Ontario Liberals commits to providing free tuition for students from low-income families (<$50,000/year). For these students, this will replace the current loan system with an upfront student grant.

More information is available online:

SOGS President Tamara Hinan acclaimed for a second term

President Tamara Hinan was sworn in at February Council after being acclaimed to a second term. Although Presidential elections take place in February, the term officially starts May 1 along with the start of the new fiscal year.

Get involved

Talent search

Are you interested in writing, directing and/or acting in a theatrical production that comically shares the life of a graduate student? We need you! SOGS will host its first theater production, it’s sometimes fun to just laugh at ourselves! If you are interested please email Taniya Nagpal at

Calling all students who wish to be a part of the Graduate Student TA Awards Committee

This is an excellent opportunity to help celebrate the extraordinary efforts of our TAs who dedicate themselves to teaching and the education experience of students at Western University. The committee will be active from March through May. If you are interested, please email the VP Academic ( with your name, department/program, and faculty.

SOGS Orientation Committee Call for Members

The SOGS Orientation & Social Committee is looking for new members in order to begin preparations for SOGS Fall Orientation. The committee is looking to transform Orientation, and offer additional events, and we can’t make that happen without you! We are currently in the process of setting up meetings with each of the Faculties, so if you’re interested in attending, please feel free.

Please contact to join our Orientation committee and to help make SOGS Orientation the best it can be.

Grad Life at Western

Grad students, are you satisfied with your program?


[Information taken from Western News]

As of today, Western has launched the Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (CGPSS), a survey designed to provide universities with information regarding the quality of their graduate programs as assessed by their own graduate students. Western has participated in each administration of the survey, starting with the pilot project back in 2005.

The CGPSS Survey is the largest survey of its kind on Canada. For 2016, graduate students at approximately 50 universities across Canada will take part.

The CGPSS Survey will officially launch March 2 and run for the entire month. Graduate students will receive an email, and subsequent reminders, to complete the online, 20-minute survey administered by Mosaic Research Solutions.

As an added incentive, the three graduate programs with the highest response rate will be given funds to support their students’ travel costs to attend conferences, workshops or other academic events.

More information available by email or at

We want to know how YOU feel about London’s Rapid Transit plan

Representatives from Western came to our February Council meeting to discuss the City of London’s plan for Rapid Transit. While you can also provide feedback directly to the University on this issue, the SOGS Executive is looking to collect feedback from our members to help us draft a letter to the Board of Governors to express graduate student perspectives about Rapid Transit.

Please consider the links below and send any feedback on the proposal; your thoughts on its impact to Western and the campus community; and to graduate students specifically by email to or in our anonymous online form. Feedback is requested by end of business on Friday, March 18; all submissions will remain confidential.

The Grad Club Presents… The Liquid Education Series

Throughout March, you’re invited to the Grad Club for Wednesday evenings sampling craft beers, gin cocktails, or estate-produced wines paired alongside small plates from Chef Mark Brigham.

  • March 9, 7pm, Craft beer & appies
  • March 16, 7pm, Gin masterclass: cocktails & hors d’oeuvres
  • March 30, 7pm, Wine & tapas

Tickets are $20, or $50 for all three evenings. Tickets are available for purchase in person at the Grad Club, or by phone at 519.661.3082. Tickets will be sold until the day before the event.


Pedometer challenge

You’re invited to join the Canadian Obesity Network at Western for the launch of the Canadian Pedometer Challenge. Every university in Canada will be recording step counts, and we want Western to take home the prize! On March 9, join us at 10:30am in NCB 295 for the launch event with keynote speaker Dr. Harry Prapavessis. He will share how we can create a “sit less” campus and leading a debate on HITT v.s. 1 hour physical activity. Free food will be there!

Weekly Thesis Writing Pilot Project

ChuCentreThis project has been such a success so far that registration filled up quickly. Was it full when you tried to register? If you volunteer for one of the dates, you cans still have your chance to take advantage of this program.

Sign up for the following dates by emailing

  • March 11, 9am-12pm
  • March 14, 1pm-4pm
  • March 25, 9am-12pm
  • March 31, 9am-12pm

We are hoping to have two volunteers for each date, and also hoping to build a pool of volunteers so that we can ensure the program becomes permanent. We are also working towards building a Waiting List to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to take advantage of the Chu Centre space.

Dueling Pianos 4 Epilepsy

DuelingPianosDance, clap and sing to an all-request piano showdown featuring your favourite country and rock hits! Enjoy a dueling piano show with two musical teams and some interactive comedy by Main Street Dueling Pianos on Saturday, March 12 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Brookside Banquet Centre (99 Brookside Street) in London, Ontario.

Purchase your tickets in advance! Early bird tickets are now on sale for $40. Ticket prices will increase to $50 after March 7. Tickets include live entertainment and appetizers. Cash bar will be available. 19+ I.D. required.

To purchase your tickets online, please visit

To purchase your tickets in-person, please visit the Epilepsy Support Centre, located at 690 Hale Street, London, Ontario N5W 1H4.

To purchase your tickets by phone, please call the Epilepsy Support Centre at 519.433.4073.

And don’t forget to invite your friends, family and colleagues! You can also join our facebook event page at or read our event description at

All proceeds from this event will fund research and support services for people living with epilepsy through EpLink – The Epilepsy Research Program of the Ontario Brain Institute and Epilepsy Support Centre.

Hot yoga event

On Sunday, March 13, come on over to Moksha Yoga for an evening of stress relieving hot yoga for just $10.00. All proceeds will go towards the Canadian Cancer Society. In addition to yoga, after your session there will be a short discussion with a Western student who is a cancer survivor; this student wants to share his story with you and motivate you in leading a balanced lifestyle. Please visit this link here to sign up:

Board Game Night

The Orientation and Social Committee (OSC) will hold its monthly Board Game Night on Wednesday, March 16 @ 7pm @ The Grad Club. If you haven’t yet done so, join the SOGS Social Group page ( and share the Event with your friends and colleagues:

Post-St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast

StPatsBreakfastThe Orientation and Social Committee (OSC) is hosting a Post-St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast on March 18 from 11:30-1:30 at the Grad Club.

Tickets will be $5 and will be available for purchase in the SOGS Office (UCC 260) once menu items are set.

Please like the SOGS Social Group Facebook page for updates.

Women’s Empowerment Dinner

Female graduate students are invited to attend a Connections Dinner where Western brings together strong female leaders in the London community including MPP Andrea Horwath. For $13.00, enjoy a catered dinner with discussion about Women in Leadership with engaging female professors, CEO’s, non-profit directors and political leaders. The event takes place on March 24 at 5:45pm in Somerville House 3320.

There are a limited number of tickets available so we encourage you to buy your tickets as soon as possible online.

Facebook Event Page:

London Knights Playoff Event

The Orientation and Social Committee (OSC) is in the process of planning another London Knights Playoff Event. Tentative dates include: March 25, March 31, or April 1.

Like last year, the ticket price will include both the food and the price of the ticket. More information regarding this event will be made available on the SOGS Social Group page.

If you would be interested in purchasing tickets to this event, email to pre-order.

International Graduate Students are cordially invited to an End of Year Party

IGSIC_EoY_MenuOn March 28, the International Graduate Student Issues Committee (IGSIC) will be hosting an end of year party at the Grad Club at 7pm. Tickets are $10 and include a full dinner, as well as games and prizes.

Dinner options will include: chicken parmesan, tofu/eggplant parmesan, garlic bread, french fries, caesar and market salad, desserts, and your choice of pop.

Tickets are available in the SOGS Office (UCC 260).

Facebook Event page:

At the Grad ClubGradClub

Liquid Education Series

The Grad Club will be hosting three food pairing session during the month of March.

March 9, Craft Beer & Appies: We will be sampling four different beers from Toboggan Brewery paired with four diffrent appetizers

March 16, Gin Master Class & Hors D’Oeuvres with Brokers Gin Founder Andy Dawson: Andy will be discussing the art of making gin and food pairing.

March 30, Wine & Tapas: Rick Doyle will be sharing tasting notes on two Ontario white wines and two Spanish Beronia red wines paired with four tapas created by Chef Mark Brigham

$20.00 per event or $50.00 for all three events. Purchase your ticket at the Grad Club or by phone 519.661.2111 ext 86386. Tickets will be sold until the day before the event.

St Patrick’s Day Celebration

Join us on Thursday March 17 for a St Patrick’s day celebration. Food specials, games and prizes.

Dinner & Movie
Purchase one of our dinner special and you can purchase a Western Film movie for $3.50. Voucher is good for any movie.


Trivia Tuesday: 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Come early to get a good seat

Every Thursday: Mill St presents Rick McGhie – 8:00 PM start

Every third Wednesday: The OSC is hosting Boardgame night starting at 6:00PM. You can purchase a bottle of Bud Light, Shock Top or Goose Island IPA for $3.50.

Winter Hours of Operation

Monday to Friday – 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM (midnight)
Saturday – closed
Sunday – closed.

The Grad Club will open on weekends for events or conferences
Call 519-661-2111 ext 86386 or e-mail to set up your event.

Free parking after 7:30 PM.

Get Your VanHoutte Coffee Card

Buy ten coffees and get one free.

Lunch Specials

Tuesday – 11:30am – 1:30PM
Pad Thai or Buffalo Chicken Wrap – vegetarian options available

Wednesday – 11:30am – 1:30PM – $10.25 one trip
Indian Buffet (South Asian Cuisine)

Thursday – 11:30am – 1:30pm – $8.50
Create your own Pasta; gluten free pasta available

Friday – 11:30AM – 1:30PM
Themed buffet

You can find all of our lunch and dinner specials on the Grad Club website

Book the Goblet

To reserve The Goblet of Knowledge for your upcoming defense party, call Marc 519-661-2111 ext 86386.

Monthly giveaways

SOGSTriviaEach month, SOGS hosts a trivia contest featuring information from our newsletter or our website. Correct answers are entered into a draw and four students will win a certificate to the Grad Club! Please email your response to by March 31.

New this month, we’re piloting a photo contest. This month’s theme is campus. Send a photo into; the winner will be randomly selected, and their photo will be featured in next month’s Update newsletter and notification email.

Winners can pick up their Grad Club certificates in the SOGS office during regular office hours, and their names will be posted in next month’s newsletter.

March Question:

What is the dollar value of Winter 2016 bursaries that were awarded?

February Winners:

Congratulations to our February winners:

  • Taylor Strande
  • Heidi Kellett
  • Lola Wong
  • Susanna George
  • Chelsea Vaters

And congratulations also to our social media contest winners who each won a pair of tickets to A Night to Connect:

  • Danielle Trojcak
  • Leah Marie Blenkhorn

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