November 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

Research & workshops

In the headlines

Get involved

Grad Life at Western

At the Grad Club

Monthly giveaways: Photo contest & trivia


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.

Graduate Mental Health and Wellness Working Group

The Graduate Mental Health and Wellness Working Group will be meeting on December 7 from 9:00-10:30am. It will be held in the USC Council Chambers (UCC 315). If you wish to attend, please email Katie Merchant,


In the headlines

Recent news about access to education and student poverty

In honour of Fight the Fees week, we’ve brought together some recent articles regarding student poverty and access to education.


Get involved

Fight the Fees

Many thanks to those of you who attended our Night of the Living Debt Zombie Walk, Unity Breakfast, or IGSIC Goes to the Global Cafe events this week.

If you missed out on these events, there are still other ways to get involved and fight the fees. We have a list of active petitions and open letters you can complete, or you can share your opinion with us and we’ll host it on the SOGS website.

The Ontario NDP is currently running an End Student Debt campaign. You can sign up to receive updates, share your story, or read others’ stories on the matter of student debt.


Call for members for ad hoc committee on Canada’s 150th Events Fund Adjudication

The Western University Canada150 Committee is making $2500 available to the Society of Graduate Students to commit towards events throughout 2017 to commemorate Canada’s 150th Anniversary.

We are calling on interested members to join the ad hoc committee which will be responsible for adjudicating applications to this fund, and providing a budget report by February 2018 accounting for the projects that were funded.

If interested in joining the Committee, or if you have any questions about the committee or fund, please email


Western Student Research Conference (WSRC) seeking judges

The Western Student Research Conference (WSRC) takes place in March, and showcases research conducted by Western undergraduate students.

The WSRC are seeking judges for the conference for two purposes. For one, abstracts will be received and judged from late November to early January, and thus judges tare required to evaluate the abstracts and ultimately decide which projects will be presented. Secondly, judges will be required to evaluate poster and oral presentations during the actual day of the conference. While the demand is not rigorous since it involves attendance for only the conference day, there is important information about the rules, regulations and methods by which the judging takes place; however, the format is relatively straight forward and rubrics will be provided (for both the abstracts and the actual presentations).

If anyone from is interested, please respond to with your name, faculty, email address and, if possible, a brief statement about your interest in judging. By responding with this information, we will send the rubric and more information about the conference and the judging process itself.


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.


Board Game Night

Our November Board Game Night is happening on November 16 at 7pm at The Grad Club! FREE appetizers, discounted beer, and games galore. Join our Event page to spread the word.


PSAC 610 Turns 20 / Thesis Completion Fundraiser

PSAC Local 610 turns 20 this year, and we will be marking the occasion with a celebration at the Grad Club on November 18th. In conjunction with this event, we will be raising money for the Thesis Completion Fund, a joint initiative between PSAC Local 610 and SOGS to help students who are beyond their funding period without any specific funding source. The fundraising event will be from November 11th to 18th.

Our plan is to initiate a “Thesis Completion Fund” to support Masters and PhD students who are not funded by the University as their funding period has passed while their research project needs more work to be completed. To get the fund started, SOGS has donated $8,500 and PSAC 610 has donated $5,000, but the need is much larger than this, and your donation would be greatly appreciated. Donations can be made by cheque to SOGS with the memo “Thesis Completion Fund’ or by contacting to arrange an electronic transfer. We thank you in advance for your support, and please feel free to spread the word.


A Night on the Town


Join us for a night on the town November 18. Beginning at 6:30pm, we’re having Pizza dinner at Budweiser Gardens. At 7:30pm, we’ll watch the London Knights face off against North Bay.

After the game, we’ll meet up at The Bull & Barrel at 10pm. The after event is partially sponsored by the Bull and Barrel: free cover, line pass, and a free ride on the bull for our group. Appetizers are on SOGS!

Tickets available for $20 in the SOGS Office. Join our Event page to spread the word.


Graduate Peer Support

GPS-LogoDraft-1As of Oct 5, the Graduate Peer Support program is back and wants to invite you to join us any Wednesday from 10:30am – 12:30pm in the Wellness Education Center (basement of UCC, between the bookstore and the grocery store). Drop-in for conversation, coffee, and to meet with graduate students from across campus.

Each week has a different theme intended to complement the GPS program and support grads.

Special guest facilitator: Prof. Thomas Telfer

On Wednesday, November 23, GPS is proud to host Prof. Thomas Telfer of the faculty of law as a guest facilitator. Prof. Telfer has been a vocal advocate for reducing the stigma around mental health and worked with the Zero Suicide Initiative.

Prof. Telfer has offered to speak with graduate students on the topic of work-life balance. If this topic, or other work of Prof. Telfer, interests you, we invite you to join us November 23 at 10:30am for a presentation and discussion in the Wellness Education Centre. Coffee and snacks are available.


Immigration seminar for international graduate students

The International Graduate Students Committee (IGSC) is hosting an Immigration Seminar for International graduate students on November 23 from 12-2pm in the USC Council Chambers.

The Seminar is FREE but all international graduate students must register online in order to attend.  Be sure to join & share the event on Facebook.


LTC Public Drop-In Events

Join in open forum discussions with staff and Commissioners as part of LTC’s consultation process.

Sessions will be held between 2-4pm and 6-8pm on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, November 23; Central Library
  • Thursday, November 24; Masonville Public Library
  • Tuesday, November 29; Jalna Public Library
  • Thursday, December 1; Stronach Recreation Center
  • Monday, December 5; YMCA Family Centre Argyle
  • Wednesday, December 7; Lambeth United Church
  • Thursday, December 8; Central Library

Information about proposed changes and an online survey are available online.


Western International and Global Cafe

Western International runs a variety of events for international and exchange students at Western. You can consult their events calendar,  or stop by the IGAB Atrium any Thursday from 3-5pm for their weekly Global Cafe.


At the Grad ClubGradClub

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.

Winter 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

pumpkinOctober’s theme was: all things pumpkin. Congratulations to winner, Isabela Reiniati, with this picture from a pumpkin farm.

November’s theme is: nostalgia. Photo from the archives? Your grandparents wedding photo from Stratford? Your beloved Furby, troll doll, or Beanie baby collection from childhood? Whatever gets you thinking of the good old days, we hope you’ll consider sharing it as part of the monthly photo contest. Send your photo into; the winner will be randomly selected, and their photo will be featured in next month’s Update newsletter.


Please note: Since we posted October trivia so late, we’ll be recognizing TWO extra trivia winners this month (for a total of six).

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 November 31.

November question

  • What is the focus of the special fund that has been established for events in the year 2017?

October winners

Congratulations to our October winner:

  • Christina Chung

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