August 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 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 & programs

Research & workshops

In the headlines

Get involved

Grad Life at Western

At the Grad Club

Monthly giveaways: Photo contest & trivia


Scholarships, bursaries & programs

United Nations Association in Canada’s International Development & Diplomacy Internship Programme

UNA-Canada’s International Development & Diplomacy Internship Programme (IDDIP) provides successful applicants, known as Junior Professional Consultants (JPCs), with invaluable, demanding, deeply meaningful work-integrated learning experience, as well as a proven bridge to employment. The Programme provides professional development training & support including: job readiness, professional resume preparation; access to our exclusive mentorship programme before, during and after their deployments. Now in its 20th year of investing in talented young Canadians, UNA-Canada is proud to continue sending Canada’s best and brightest graduates and young professionals to UN Agencies. UNA-Canada’s JPCs will play important roles in Canada’s international diplomacy and assistance efforts for years to come, as well as having lead roles in the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

  • The application deadline is August 31st, 2016.
  • Must be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Internships are typically six-months in length with Agencies such as: UNDP, IOM, UNODC, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, UNHCR.· The internships are unpaid — successful candidates will have to cover the associated costs.
  • The majority of UNA-Canada’s internship opportunities require a completed bachelor degree. A few opportunities require applicants to be currently enrolled at a recognized university, thus 4th year students, may apply knowing there are limited opportunities available. The majority of our successful candidates are current, or graduated, grad students.
  • Successful applicants will be deployed in January and February, 2017 depending on the timelines of partner Agencies.

To apply, please visit the IDDIP webpage (disponible en français). Follow them on twitter @UNACIDDIP and @UNACanada for regular updates about the programme, as well as our Instagram @UNAC_IDDIP to see some of the remarkable locations our JPCs work in.

To read about the contributions some current and former JPCs have made with their respective UN-Agencies, consider visiting the IDDIP blog.


Research & workshops

calendar_iconLooking 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 @ Weldon Library

DavidBWeldonREGISTER for weekly thesis writing time in the Graduate Study Space in Weldon Library, The David B. Weldon Seminar Room (room 439H on the 4th floor).

  • August 10 : 9am – 12pm
  • August 15 : 1pm – 4pm

Bring your own beverage – fruit tray provided! 

Graduate study spaces

A friendly reminder that the D.B. Weldon Library offers dedicated spaces for graduate and post-doc students:

For more information about these and other study spaces available through the library, please see online.


In the headlines

Ministry of Labour Special Advisors’ Interim Report: Changing Workplaces Review

cwr_interimOntario is conducting a review of the changing nature of the workplace. An Interim Report was released on July 27 with a range of options to amend Ontario’s Labour Relations Act, 1995, and Employment Standards Act, 2000 to better protect workers while supporting business in today’s economy. The review’s Special Advisors, Michael Mitchell and former Justice John Murray, are seeking submissions on the options in the Interim Report.

The Interim Report addresses topics such as the scope of the Labour Relations Act, the bargaining process, access to collective bargaining, and precarious labour. If you’re interested to learn more, the review and feedback process is described online; the full interim report is available online as a website or as a PDF.

2016 LTC Service Changes

At the January 25, 2016 Commission meeting, the Commission approved the 2016 Service Plan. The changes will take effect on Sunday, September 4. Schedules and updated Ride Guide reflecting these changes will be available by August 15. A full description of the planned changes is available online and organized according to region.

If you have any questions regarding the 2016 Service Plan please email or contact a Customer Service Representative at 519-451-1347.


Get involved

Household items drive

HouseholdItemDrive_2016The Family and International Students Household Drive is back! Last year was a great success and we need your help to make that happen again. Please donate any household items to the Society of Graduate Students office (UCC 260) throughout the month of August. Due to space limitations, SOGS can only accept smaller household items (no furniture or TVs, for example). Recommended items include:

  • Kitchen items, such as utensils, blenders, and toasters
  • Winter items, such as coats and space heaters
  • Cleaning items, such as vacuums and storage containers
  • Office items, such as desk lamps and extension outlets
  • Other small household items, such as coat racks, fans, and mats

The department with the most donations will WIN a night at the Grad Club! Donate to the drive, and join the great movement where peers support peers. All donations will be given to student families in Platt’s Lane and incoming international students. If you’re moving out or doing some summer cleaning, consider donating items to this drive anytime between Aug 1 – Aug 26.

Campus Recreation Survey

WesternOntarioMustangslogoYou may know that through mandatory ancillary fees, graduate students pay to use the Campus Recreation facilities, and pay fees towards the Recreation Centre building fee, Campus Athletics, and the Athletic Centre.

SOGS and Campus Rec know that fitness facilities are being underutilized by graduate students as a whole, but we do not have accurate data about who is coming and who is not. In order to better engage graduate students we would like to know more about why you use, or don’t use, the facilities. Data will be de-identified. Your answers will remain confidential.

Please consider completing this online survey to help Campus Rec better understand their graduate student user base, and for your chance to WIN. If you choose to leave an email you will be entered to win a water bottle and one of three Grad Club gift certificates; one grand prize winner of a $100 gift certificate, and two other winners of one $25 gift certificate each. Your answers will remain confidential and de-identified if you do leave an email.

Participation invited through August 31, 2016. Thank you.

Important update if you completed our Campus Recreation Survey Prior to July 22

Campus Rec Survey Update

Please note, due to an oversight, the original form did not include a space to provide your email for the contest; this has since been corrected. If you completed the survey prior to July 22, please provide your email in this form. Out of consideration for our error, we have added two $25 Grad Club gift certificates to the draw, now allowing for three winners overall.

We are very sorry for this oversight, and appreciate your understanding.

Would you like to be trained as a peer support facilitator?

The Graduate Peer Support (GPS) Committee, with the support of Student Experience, is currently recruiting volunteers to be trained as peer support facilitators this September and to support the continuation of the weekly Graduate Peer Support program. Although this training is being custom developed for the graduate support community, this training experience has a high potential of transferable applicability, particularly for those of you interested in careers with a focus on managing and supporting people (such as education, social work, and therapy).

If you’re interested to get an impression of what peer support can look like and provide at Western, consider this page describing the development of peer support programming at the undergrad level.

Volunteers who are interested, or those who desire further information, are requested to contact the VP Advocacy ( by August 26. Please include your name, program, and a brief introduction (1-2 paragraphs) explaining your interest in the training and programming. The program and introduction are requested only as a means of improving the structure of the training and the GPS programming. Volunteers will be contacted to confirm receipt of their introductory information, and will be contacted over August and early September to work out availability for training. Please note that you may withdraw your interest at any time; however, those who complete training will be expected to complete several shifts with GPS as the training program is explicitly tied to the provision of this program.


Grad Life at Western

calendar_iconLooking for more to do? You can consult the Western Events Calendar, London Tourism’s Events Calendar, or SGPS’ The Wire to learn more about what’s happening on campus and in your community.

Columbia Sportswear End of Season Sale

Columbia_SummerSale2016DATE: through August 7
PLACE: 1425 Max Brose Drive
HOURS: M-F 10am-7pm; Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 11am-5pm

Through August 7, Western University Society of Grad Students (SOGS) are invited to Columbia’s first ever Summer End of Season Sale at the Employee Store. This exclusive invitation will gain you access to an ADDITIONAL 25% OFF Employee Store Pricing on end of season select styles available in all departments; priced as marked. You are welcome to bring your family and friends with you (up to 4 guests). To gain access to the store, please bring the following:

  1. A printed copy of this invitation letter
  2. Your bus pass and Western University ID card; if you do not have a buss pass, you may request a letter confirming your membership from the SOGS office
  3. A piece of personal photo ID

Columbia Sportswear Company is a leading global outdoor apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment company.

Graduate Peer Support Weekly Drop-In

GPS-LogoDraft-1Ever feel like you need some space to unwind? Or want the opportunity to talk to other grads about their experiences and studies?

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.

The current GPS programming will run through August 31. GPS is expected to restart with new programming in October, as we will be using September to train volunteers and prepare for a fresh new approach and celebratory official launch event.

We hope you’ll stop by over the summer, or consider getting involved with the Graduate Peer Support (GPS) Committee. We are currently seeking volunteers interested in being trained as peer support facilitators. Please email the VP Advocacy ( for more information about the program, the committee, or to suggest talks you’d like to see in the future.

SOGS goes to the Beach

GrandBendThe International Graduate Student Issues Committee (IGSIC) and the Orientation and Social Committee (OSC) have teamed up to host a day trip to Grand Bend on Saturday, August 13. Tickets are $10 which covers the cost of your transportation to Grand Bend and back to campus. Purchase your tickets at the SOGS Office (UCC 260). Bring your whole family and your coolers!

Forest City Beer Fest

PrintDATE: Saturday, August 13
TIME: 3pm – 11pm
PLACE: Covent Garden Market

Forest City Beer Fest brings together a number of food and drink vendors together in central London. Access to the beer garden is free; drink/food tickets will be available for $2.50 each. Generally, one ticket will get you a 4oz sample size and two tickets will get you a full 12oz beer; however, some brewers may charge more than two tickets for premium brands.

Want to skip the lineups? This year, for the first time, Forect City Beer Fest is selling a small number of Flight Passes that will not only let you skip the lineup, but will also get you started with two drink/food tickets and send you home with a souvenir beer glass. Flight Passes are available to SOGS members for the discounted price of $15 while supplies last; enter the promotional code SOGS on the tickets page to take advantage of this 25% discount.

Board Game Night

The last Board Game Night of the summer is happening on August 17 @ 7pm @ the Grad Club. Discounted beer, appetizers, and games galore!

If you haven’t liked the OSC’s Facebook Page yet, be sure to do so here to stay up-to-date on events.

Fall orientation


Get ready for Fall Orientation! There are lots of exciting events and awesome prizes to be won. For a full line up of events, see the SOGS Orientation page: Join the Facebook Event page to stay up to date:

  • International Graduate Student Meet and Greet – We need current international graduate students to volunteer to represent their home countries. Contact Volunteer and get a free meal on September 13!
  • Amazing Race: SOGS EditionSIGN UP for your chance to win $200, $150, $100 Grad Club certificates!
  • Welcome to YOUR Grad Club – Encourage your graduate association/council to SIGN UP!


At the Grad ClubGradClub

The Grad Club BBQ will be open every Friday beginning June 3rd
from 11:30AM – 1:30PM

During the summer months, Trivia Tuesday start time is 7:30PM

The parking at Middlesex College will be going up at 7:00PM during the summer months

2016 Golf Tournament
Saturday August 13, 2016
Oxbow Glen Golf Course

Includes: 18 Holes, Golf Cart, Boxed Lunch, Dinner at the Grad Club, & Prizes

$85.00 per person ($70.00 for students)
If payment is received after July 31st, $95.00 per person (no student rate)

Reserve tee times at the Grad Club or call 661- 2111 ext 86386
Registration forms are available at the bar or via e-mail (

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 – 7:00 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 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; Grad Club BBQ

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

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.

Photo contest

July’s theme was: crowds, concerts, and hullabaloo. Sadly, no one submitted photos for July’s theme.  August’s theme is: DIY (do it yourself). Make a particularly delicious meal? Proud of your recent sewing project? Have you designed the coolest RPi setup, or maybe refurbished a chair? Send your photo into; 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 by August 31.

August question

What is the chief purpose of the Ministry of Labour Special Advisors’ Interim Report: Changing Workplaces Review?


Which part of this month’s newsletter did you find most helpful / appealing?

July winners

Since we did not receive any photos for July, five trivia respondents will receive our trivia prize this month.

Congratulations to our July winners:

  • Lola Wong
  • Taylor Strande
  • Jeremy Brozyna
  • Mary Blake Bonn
  • Sali Farhan

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