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:
- SOGS Facebook – main: https://www.facebook.com/Western.SOGS
- SOGS Facebook – social group: https://www.facebook.com/Western.SOGS.Socials
- SOGS Facebook – international students:
- SOGS Twitter: https://twitter.com/westernsogs
- SOGS Forum, a joinable OWL site (contact email@example.com if unsure how to join sites on OWL)
Do you have a news item or announcement you would like to have included in the next SOGS Update? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In this month’s Update:
- Competition open for Canadians: Commonwealth Scholarship Plan (CSFP) – United Kingdom and New Zealand (June 17)
- Weekly Thesis Writing @ The Grad Club (June 1, 7, 15, 20, 29)
- Upcoming election for SOGS Council Speaker (June 13)
- Win $100 Grad Club certificate with the SOGS Cover Photo Contest (July 1)
- SOGS Councillors, past and present: How can we make Council more engaging?
- Board Game Night (June 16)
- Graduate Peer Support Weekly Drop-In (every Wednesday)
- SOGS is Going to Wonderland (June 25)
- Save the Date and Show Your Pride (July 23)
- Fall Orientation – Invitation to Participate and Get Involved
Monthly giveaways: Photo contest & trivia
Scholarships & bursaries
Competition open for Canadians: Commonwealth Scholarship Plan (CSFP) – United Kingdom and New Zealand
The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) has launched a competition for Canadians to pursue doctoral studies in September/October 2016 in the United Kingdom (UK). The scholarships are funded by the United Kingdom Department for Business, InRWnovation and Skills in conjunction with UK universities.
The deadline to submit an application is June 17, 2016.
Visit Commonwealth Scholarship for PhD and split-site PhD study for full program details and to submit an online application.
In addition, please note that the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan – New Zealand competition will soon be open for Canadian students and researchers wishing to pursue doctoral studies or research at participating New Zealand universities. Subscribe to the International Scholarships RSS feed to be kept informed of competition launch dates and other news relating to the International Scholarships Program of Global Affairs Canada.
Please do not hesitate to forward this information to your networks.
Research & workshops
Looking for more workshops? You can consult the Western Events Calendar, Teaching Support Centre Graduate Student Events Calendar, or SGPS’ The Wire to learn more about what’s happening on campus.
Weekly Thesis Writing @ The Grad Club
Weekly Thesis Writing Time is a pilot project spearheaded by SOGS and SGPS dedicated to providing a comfortable, distraction-free space conducive for graduate student thesis writing. Sessions will run on June 1, 7, 15, 20, and 29. Space is limited; please register online. If registration is full, please consider volunteering to oversee the sessions in order to participate. Email email@example.com to volunteer.
In the headlines
Petition on PSSSP Broken Promise
[text taken from a Canadian Federation of Students email; further information is available online]
After the 2016 Federal Budget, the Canadian Federation of Students broke the news that the budget did not commit to lifting the restrictive 2 per cent funding cap on the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) for Indigenous students nor did it invest an additional $50 million per year as promised by Trudeau. This was neither a mistake nor an oversight by the government. The commitment to increased PSSSP funding was deliberately left out of the federal budget. But it’s not too late! The federal government can still right this wrong and open access to post-secondary education for thousands of Indigenous students at a small cost.
Join the Federation in calling on the Trudeau Government to immediately invest $50 million in the PSSSP and fully fund all Indigenous learners.
What you can do to support this campaign:
- Learn about post-secondary student support for Indigenous students by reading the Federation’s blog post
- Sign the online petition (open through September 7, 2016)
- Tweet @JustinTrudeau and @CarolynBennett and tell them to mend their broken promise to Indigenous students
- Download and share this image to garner support through your networks
If you’re interested in student issues and advocacy, you may want to check out these other topics and campaigns from the Canadian Federation of Students:
- A Global Struggle: Tri-national conference in defence of public education
CFS-National Treasurer-Elect Peyton Veitch attended the 12th Biennial Tri-national Conference in Defence of Public Education at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver
- OHIP for International Students
CFS-Ontario has long demanded the re-integration of international students into OHIP. This year, the Federation met with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to discuss options for re-integration and has produced a formal policy document outlining options for the provincial government.
- Divestment from Fossil Fuels
Go Fossil Free is a 350.org campaign run in partnership with the Canadian Federation of Students, the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition and the Sierra Youth Coalition to pressure organizations that serve the public good to divest from fossil fuels.
Western announces changes to Homecoming for October 2016
Western University announced today that this year’s Homecoming has been moved to Saturday, Oct. 22 (“Homecoming Saturday”) in an effort to address a variety of concerns associated with the unsanctioned and unsupervised street party that has taken place in recent years on Homecoming weekend. Previously planned Faculty reunions, as well as the Alumni Awards of Merit and Golden Anniversary dinners will still take place as originally planned on Reunion Weekend (September 30 to October 2).
Upcoming election for SOGS Council Speaker
Are you keen on keeping things running smoothly at SOGS? Are you interested in policy and procedure? Maybe you geek out over Robert’s Rules, or enjoy chairing meetings? If so, please consider nominating yourself for the position of Speaker.
Nominations and inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations must be received by June 13. All nominations are vetted by the SOGS Executive, which may include an interview process. The election for speaker will take place at June Council (June 30).
Win $100 Grad Club certificate with the SOGS Cover Photo Contest
SOGS and the Orientation and Social Committee are hosting a Cover Photo Contest for the SOGS Orientation Handbook for incoming graduate students. Submissions should capture the theme “Graduate Student Experience at Western”. The contest is open to all graduate students. Participants may submit more than one entry, and entries may be photos or digital/hand-drawn illustrations. The winner will be selected by the OSC and will receive a $100 Grad Club certificate. Please submit all entries to email@example.com by July 1.
All entries must include the text (in any design):
- Society of Graduate Students
- Graduate Orientation Handbook
Good luck to all our entrants!
Grad Life at Western
SOGS Councillors, past and present: How can we make Council more engaging?
For all SOGS Councillors past and present, we would like to hear from you about what would make SOGS Council meetings a more positive and engaging experience for you. At the May Council meeting, our President gave a presentation comparing Council structures for our sister U6 schools, and identifying some of the problems we have had with attendance and engagement of Councillors over the past few years.
Please send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any feedback is appreciated.
Here are some guiding questions to get you thinking:
- Should Council be smaller?
- Is it difficult to fill your department’s Council seats on a regular basis?
- What would make Council meetings more relevant or “fun”?
- Do you find Robert’s Rules make participation easier or more difficult?
- What subjects or guest speakers would be relevant to you and the grad students from your department?
- How can we create more dialogue amongst Councillors?
The OSC hosts its monthly Board Game Night on June 16, 7pm @ the Grad Club. Discounted beer, free appetizers, and games galore! You can add this event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1126830344034448/.
If you haven’t liked the OSC’s Facebook Page yet, be sure to do so here to stay up-to-date on events.
Graduate Peer Support Weekly Drop-In
The SOGS Equity Committee, along with SGPS, Student Experience, and CONNECT for Mental Health have teamed up to provide grads with a space for a mid-week break. Over the summer, stop by the Wellness Education Center Wednesdays between 10:30am and 12:30pm for coffee, tea, snacks, and company. These drop-in sessions are open to any Western graduate student, and will be hosted by trained peer support facilitators to keep everything running smoothly.
Once per month, this drop-in will be dedicated to a specific topic. These talks kicked off on May 4 with Imposter Syndrome; many thanks to those of you who came out to our inaugural session on this important topic. The schedule for the rest of our themed talks for the summer is as follows:
- July 6 – Living on a Tight Budget: Beyond Ramen
- August 3 – Unrealistic Expectations of Grad Studies: How Am I Supposed to Do All This
We hope you’ll stop by over the summer, or consider getting involved with the recently founded Graduate Peer Support (GPS) Committee. Please email the VP Advocacy (email@example.com) for more information about the program, the committee, or to suggest talks you’d like to see in the future.
SOGS is Going to Wonderland
The International Graduate Student Issues Committee (IGSIC) and the Orientation and Social Committee (OSC) have teamed up! SOGS is going to Wonderland on Saturday, June 25 (pick up: 8:30 am, Middlesex College). Tickets are $75 and includes: transportation there and back, entrance to the park, and all you can drink and eat picnic lunch. Purchase your ticket in the SOGS Office (UCC 260). Guests welcome!
Save the Date and Show Your Pride
Our Pride Commissioner encourages you to save the date for the 22nd Annual Pride London Festival, running from July 14 through July 24. You are invited to join them for a 1:00pm potluck picnic in Harris Park on Saturday, July 23 prior to walking over to the outdoor festival in Victoria Park
Attendees are encouraged to bring family. If you bring food, please do so with any allergens listed. There will be a Facebook event created shortly so that folks can announce what they intend to bring.
Information about marching in the parade and rainy day plans will be in the next newsletter and on social media as it becomes available. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall Orientation – Invitation to Participate and Get Involved
IGSIC and OSC have events lined up for incoming and current graduate students spanning September 13-16. If your Graduate Student Association is looking to partner with SOGS to help run Orientation events for incoming students in your department, please contact email@example.com. We can help organize your event and flip part of the bill!
More information on Fall Orientation will be available on the SOGS website in the coming month.
The Grad Club BBQ will be open every Friday beginning June 3rd from 11:30AM – 1:30PM
The parking at Middlesex College will be going up at 7:00PM during the summer months
Catch the Euro Cup 2016 action at the Grad Club
The tournament starts June 10th Come to the Grad Club and enter to win Carlsberg prizes: fridge, shirts, glassware, and a trip to the Euro Cup 2016 finals in France. See your server for details
Schoefferhofer Beach Set
Order a Schoefferhofer and enter to win a beach set. No purchase – must be 19+ to enter. See your server for more details
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: 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Come early to get a good seat
Every Thursday: Come and enjoy the music of Rick McGhie – 8:00 PM start
Every third Wednesday of the Month 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.
Summer Hours of Operation
Monday to Friday – 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Saturday – closed
Sunday – closed.
The Grad Club will open on weekends for events or conferences
Call 519-661-2111 ext 86386 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your event.
Free parking after 7:00 PM.
Get Your VanHoutte Coffee Card
Buy ten coffees and get one free.
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
You can find all of our lunch and dinner specials on the Grad Club website http://gradclub.sogs.ca/
Book the Goblet
To reserve The Goblet of Knowledge for your upcoming defense party, call Marc 519-661-2111 ext 86386.
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.
Congratulations to our May winner, Isabela Reiniati. May’s theme was: May Flowers. June’s theme is : water. That can be a river, a pond, a rainstorm, a water park, or even the strange glassware you’ve collected over the years. Send your photo into email@example.com; the winner will be randomly selected, and their photo will be featured in next month’s Update newsletter.
Each 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 firstname.lastname@example.org by June 30.
Oh man; this month doesn’t readily offer up easy trivia, so let’s try something kind of fun…
What do you love about being a grad student, either at Western specifically or just generally? We so often talk about the struggles of grad school, and it can be a drag to get motivated to research when the weather’s so nice, so let’s take a moment to refresh and talk about why we’ve committed to academic life.
Responses will be shared in next month’s newsletter; please specify in your entry if you would prefer that your answer to remain confidential or anonymous.
If you’re a current or former Councillor who responds to the President’s request for feedback, please cc email@example.com to be considered for the trivia contest as well.
Congratulations to our May winners:
- Anirban Banerjee
- Christina Chung
- Lauren Crutchlow
- Chelsea Vaters