August Council Summary

The following provides a brief summary of the recent Council meeting on August 30. The complete Council package, which includes the agenda and reports, can be accessed here. Full minutes of the meeting will be available in the September Council package.

This summary is provided to increase transparency, and to support Councillors in completing their obligations under Bylaw 2.3.5; “shall regularly communicate with his or her constituents concerning the activities, programs, and decisions of the Society”. If you have any questions, please contact our Communications Administrator (sogs.communications@uwo.ca) or the Speaker (speaker@sogs.ca).

The next Council meeting will be on September 27, 2018 at 6pm in MC 105B.

If you are interested in running for VP Advocacy for VP Student Services, submit your nomination statements to speaker@sogs.ca by September 18. If you have questions about these positions, contact the Executive.

Announcements
GET EXCITED FOR SOGS Orientation (Sept 10-14)! Buy your tickets in the SOGS Office!
Graduate Peer Support (GPS) will launch weekly drop-in peer support starting Wednesday, September 19 from 2:30-4:00pm. Email gps@sogs.ca if you have any questions.
Thesis Drop-in on Fridays in the SOGS Office (MC Room 8)!
Graduate Student Cookbook Contest! Submit to gps@sogs.ca and post your recipe on social media by September 3 to win!
Summer Graduate Student Teaching Award Nomination period is open! Nominate here.
Annual International Graduate Student Household Drive – accepting donations until Aug 31. The department with the most donations will win a Night at the Grad Club ($200 Grad Club certificate).
Please help SOGS complete our Department Graduate Student Association/Council list.
Fifth Annual BUG DAY at the Children’s Museum on September 8.
GradCast will be having a recruitment event on October 5.

Events
SOGS Orientation (September 10-14)
Graduate Wellness Week (Oct 1-6)

Updates
Empower Me:
Councillors are encouraged to still gather feedback from their members. The HPC will aim to collect more information and present it to Council and potentially look into having a public event where Studentcare can present on this program.
Graduate Wellness Week (Oct 1-6): The keynote for the Wellness Forum will be the new AVP Student Experience: Jennie Massey. The IGSIC bowling trip needed to be pushed back until the following week.
IGSIC will be presenting its INTL Satisfaction Survey Summary in September.

Relevant Motions Passed:

Motion 11 (VP Student Services)
[see Appendix 4 for “Wellness Committee Proposal”]

Whereas graduate students in 2015 SGPS-run focus groups identified the need for grad-specific mental
health resources, greater recognition of student diversity, and informal systems, practices, and “safe spaces” to promote wellness that are not problematized or stigmatized, as well as the need for a formal, top-down cultural shift in graduate school;

Whereas the 2018 Western University’s Mental Health and Wellness Committee identified, among many
other factors, “Culture of Graduate Education” for distinguishing graduate student mental health from
undergraduate;

Whereas recent studies show that graduate students are six times more likely to experience depression and anxiety compared to the general population;

Whereas SOGS needs a dedicated committee devoted to the visibility of graduate student mental health and wellness needs, as well as for the education of the greater Western community, in regards to devoting more resources to graduate students;

Whereas the SOGS VP Student Services has solely, for the last three years, overseen the portfolio of
graduate student mental health;

BIRT SOGS create a Wellness Committee within the portfolio of the VP Student Services in the next fiscal
(2019-2020) year pending the recommendation of the finance committee and the approval of the Wellness Committee funds in the 2019 AGM;

BIFRT the “Graduate Wellness Week” line item within the VP Student Services portfolio be renamed
“Graduate Wellness Committee” to reflect the change.

BIFRT the Finance Committee discuss and make a recommendation to Council in October for how to
proceed with the requested line item changes.

BIFRT should the Finance Committee’s recommendation meet with Council’s approval, that the creation of the Wellness Committee be included in the February 2019 AGM fiscal budget.

Motion 12VP Student Services and VP Advocacy

Whereas the election of the Vice Presidents to the Society’s executive should align with the completion of the major responsibilities of each portfolio;

Whereas the VP Student Services (in January 2015) and VP Advocacy (then External) (in April, 2016) election dates were altered (May to September) to better align with each portfolio’s projects;

Whereas the VPSS portfolio has altered significantly with the placement of the Graduate Orientation Handbook under the Communications Administrator, and the occurrence of Graduate Wellness Week during the first week of October;

Whereas the VP Advocacy portfolio should align with SOGS’ advocacy project preparation (eg. Pride Parade, Sexual Violence Awareness, Indigenous Awareness, etc) and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS)’ conference dates;

BIRT the election of the VP Student Services and VP Advocacy occur at April Council, to take office May 1.

BIFRT the by-election for the VP Student Services and VP Advocacy be held in September, 2018.

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