We The Students – Student Choice Initiative

On January 17, 2019, Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, announced a series of proposed changes to OSAP funding, university tuition fees, and student ancillary fees.

This announcement included:

  • A guaranteed 4 per cent cut in institutional funding;
  • A reduction in non-repayable grants and an increase in student loans;
  • An attack on students’ unions ability to represent and service their members;
  • The elimination of the 6-month grace period for loan repayment.

News coverage:


Students’ unions serve students in a number of significant ways, including:

  • Coordinating health and dental insurance plans;
  • Providing transit passes for students;
  • Running essential support services such as peer support, equity centres (e.g Pride centres), sexual violence support centres, food banks, etc.;
  • Providing academic support and advocacy services;
  • Creating volunteer and job opportunities for students;
  • Operating non-profit commercial services, such as book stores, restaurants, cafes and food services.

What does this mean for SOGS?: Graduate students will be able to opt out of any non-essential ancillary fee, which includes SOGS membership dues. 

SOGS membership dues fund:

  • Administration of the health/dental plan and the LTC bus pass program;
  • Advocacy initiatives on and off-campus;
  • Awards – Thesis Completion Fund, Peggy Collins Memorial Award;
  • Bursaries each term for Canadian and international students;
  • Committees;
  • Commissioners stipend for the Accessibility, Indigenous, Pride, and Women’s Concerns Commissioners;
  • Elected executive stipend;
  • Elected commissioner stipends;
  • Emergency Loan program for graduate students;
  • GradCast radio show (CHRW 94.9 – every Tuesday) – SOGS official radio show for graduate student by graduate students;
  • Graduate Student Teaching Awards;
  • Ombudsperson stipend;
  • Orientation week in September and January;
  • Operation of the SOGS office (includes staffing, supplies and building services/fees);
  • Non-TA foodbank;
  • Student Government (i.e., SOGS monthly council) and the departmental grants issued to each department annually for councillor attendance at monthly council (which helps pay for activities and events for graduate student associations across campus);
  • Scholarships: 125th Scholarship
  • Student advocacy and membership in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) (includes attendance at various CFS meetings provincially and the national AGM);
  • Subsidies: Travel, Childcare, and Professional Placement;
  • Subsidized social and cultural events for students (and their families) on and off-campus throughout the year;
  • Wellness week in October;

SOGS also provides students with:

  • A well-rounded campus life;
  • Academic and wellness supports;
  • Academic appeals advocacy;
  • Advocacy for minority students;
  • A voice with local government representatives;
  • Connections with campus stakeholders, departments, campus organizations, and the TA/Postdoc union (PSAC Local 610);
  • Infrastructure of support, both academic and financial;
  • New student orientation events which bring new students together, fostering a positive graduate student experience;
  • Representation at Western University with administration;
  • Social and community programming;
  • New international student outreach;
  • Services for visiting and exchange students;
  • Support for at-risk graduate students.

If you DO NOT agree with the recent changes to Ontario university education funding, join the cause and sign the CFS-ON letter being sent to Premier Doug Ford, MPP Dr. Merrilee Fullerton (Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities), and your local MPP. 

Sign the letter here.


In addition, consider signing the March For Students Rights postcards and letter to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario available in the SOGS office (MC room 8).

   


Opinion Pieces and Editorials:

Press Releases:


Resources: 

SOGS January Council Summary

January 31, 2019

  • Full January Council Package (includes reports and agenda).
  • The SOGS Annual General Meeting will be on Tuesday, February 12th, 6:00pm, North Campus Building, room 117. Bring your Western ID!
  • The next council meeting will be on Thursday, February 28th, 6:00pm, Middlesex College, room 110.
  • Speaker’s Corner will happen before every council meeting, Thursdays at 4pm in the Grad Club.

Announcements:

  • The SOGS Presidential Election campaigning period is now open. CRO, Madison Bettle is organizing a Q&A with both candidates on Wednesday, January 30 afternoon in MC 105B – time TBD. PLease watch for an announcement. The polls for voting will be online Feb 4-5. You’ll receive notice from the University Secretariat with a link to vote online.
  • SOGS Annual General Meeting will be on FEBRUARY 12 in NCB 117 at 6 pm.
    • Councillors are not required to attend; Committee Chairs and Commissioners, however, are required to attend to present their reports.
    • All SOGS members are welcome to attend. Bring your WesternOne ID to check in at 5:30 pm.
  • Does your department host wellness events or outings? SOGS offers the Wellness Joint Fund for departments to help support wellness events for graduate students on and off campus. http://sogs.ca/wellness-joint-fund/
  • WINTER GAMES on University Hill event. Free! February 6 from 3:30-5:30pm. Snow person and snow angel making + hot beverages + winter fun and self-care.
  • CFS will be at the Grad Club February 12 and 13 from 10am-4pm to meet with SOGS members and talk about their campaigns AND to issue ISIC cards.
  • CFS will be hosting a COFFEE HOUSE event February 13 at the Grad Club from 5pm-8pm. Bring your poetry and spoken word!
  • Tubing at Boler Mountain – February 23. TIME/COST TBA. Tickets will be made available in the SOGS office.
  • Immigration Info Session with Mia Loebach-Readings, RCIC | Wednesday, February 27th 4:30pm – 6:30pm | UC 3110 Conron Hall | Online Registration to follow.
  • SOGS members – Free tax filing through CFS : ufile.ca
  • GPS committee – MC room 17, Tuesdays, 5:30-6:30pm.
  • Dissertation drop-in – Fridays all day.

MotionsSummary and Outcomes:

VP of Finance Motion: The motion to approve the 2019-2020 SOGS and Grad Club budgets was passed by council. The full budget breakdown can be found in the council report appendix here. In light of the Ford government’s January 17th announcement regarding student fees, councillors are encouraged to speak to fellow members about what SOGS is and provides, the awards they can apply for, the events they can attend, and the causes they can support.

Finance Committee Motion: The motion to accept the updated Finance Committee policy was passed by council. This update more accurately reflects the duties and responsibilities of the Finance Committee, acting as a useful template for future policy documents.

SOGS President Motion: The motion to strike an ad hoc committee to study SOGS’s structure and that of other graduate student societies in Canada, and for that ad hoc committee to maintain an arms-length relationship with the current executive while adopting the terms of reference outlined in the report, was passed by council. The committee shall have a maximum of eight voting members, elected from the SOGS membership by SOGS Council at the February 2019 Council. The SOGS Ombudsperson will act as ex-officio, non-voting member, and a committee chair will be elected amongst its members.

VP of Advocacy Motions: Two motions from the VP of Advocacy were passed. The first motion regarded writing a letter to the President, Provost, and Chair of the Board of Governors of Western in support of the project to development a general space for Indigenous graduate students. It is important for SOGS to take action and support the needs of Indigenous students, who should have a safe space on campus. The second motion regarded updating the Commissioner Bylaws, so Commissioners report twice per academic term, as well as report to the VP Advocacy prior to the Council package report submission date. This motion is to improve our current reporting methodology, keeping everyone in the process accountable.

Bylaws Committee Motion: The motion to include new Bylaws regarding Presidential nominations was passed. The Bylaws now reflect, In the event that a second nomination period is required for the presidential election, the online polling shall be conducted by the CRO, with assistance from the DCRO, no later than the third full week in March. No access shall be granted to the results of the on-line polling during the election, by any member or employee of the Society, with the exception of the CRO and the DCRO. The CRO and DCRO must verify daily that the on-line polling station remains operational, with the CRO taking ultimate responsibility.

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).

As always, check out our website (www.sogs.ca) and follow us on Facebook (@Western.SOGS) and Twitter (@WesternSOGS) for communications, updates, and information about upcoming events!

February 2019: Newsletter

SOGS Update, the official monthly electronic newsletter from SOGS, keeps you up to date on issues and events affecting graduate students at Western University.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook,  Twitter, the IGSIC Facebook page and on our events calendar!

________________________________________

Newsletter Contents:

  • 2019 SOGS Presidential Election Update
  • SOGS Annual General Meeting – February 12, 2019 @ 6pm, NCB room 117
  • SOGS Events
  • Academic Opportunities & Initiatives
  • SOGS Support Programs
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Campus Events
  • Campus Events: International Students
  • Local Events
  • Campus Resources
  • Free Tax Filing
  • SOGS Surveys
  • Monthly Trivia

2019 SOGS Presidential Election

Update (February 7, 2019): Election Results

Congratulations, Jina Kum! She will take on her new role as President of SOGS on May 1, 2019.

SOGS thanks both Wesam AbdElhamid Mohamed and Jina Kum for their robust and thoughtful campaigns.

Voter turnout: 638 (10.3%) of 6193 votes.
Jina Kum received 345 (54.6%) votes.
Wesam AbdElhamid Mohamed received 287 (45.4%) votes.
6 (0.9%) abstained.
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HOW to VOTE!

Tuesday, February 5th (until 8pm) is the LAST day to vote for the next SOGS president. 

VOTE: https://westernuniversitysecretariat.simplyvoting.com/


Annual General Meeting

Each year SOGS hosts its Annual General Meeting (AGM). This is the council session where all SOGS members are welcome to attend, and will learn about what SOGS has been up to in the past year and what will be happening in the coming months. Additionally, the SOGS annual budget is voted on during the AGM.

If you want to attend, bring your UWO student ID with you to be signed in/verified as a SOGS member.

If you can’t attend, but want voting rights, each person in attendance can act as proxy for two (2) absent SOGS members.

Review the SOGS 2019 AGM package here. (Note: the proxy form is on the last page of the package. Fill it out and have your proxy bring it with them on the 12th.)


Social Events

Don’t have a car? Don’t worry – you can get to Boler Mountain on the London city bus! Quick route from Natural Science: https://goo.gl/maps/Ac5F2KvEGM22. For more information about bus routes, please visit: londontransit.ca

Notes: Helmets are provided. Dress appropriately. Make your own way to Boler via car or bus. Hot chocolate provided after tubing. Must be a minimum of 42 inches in height to ride. More information: https://www.bolermountain.com/tubing/.

Get your tickets at the SOGS office – Middlesex College, room 8. Cash only, please.


Academic Opportunities & Initiatives

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Want to publish non-academic writing and art? Consider getting in touch with PRISM: Western’s Queer Arts Magazine, which highlights queer expression. More information: https://www.facebook.com/prismUWO.

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Visit the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences website to register or renew your membership today: https://csmb-scbm.ca/membership/.

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Graduate Students! There is still time to submit an application to the 2019 CAGS Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentorship.

Outstanding mentors inspire their graduate students to be creative in their thinking, to push their research in new directions, and to make a positive impact on the future.

This award recognizes graduate faculty members with a record of excellent mentorship of graduate students under their supervision. A total of twelve (12) outstanding mentors will be profiled in this year’s competition, with the winner receiving a special prize package!

If a mentor has made a difference in your graduate student community, please consider nominating them today.

For more information regarding the prize, eligibility, and the nomination process, please visit our website: https://cags.ca/outstanding-graduate-mentorship/.

NOTE: Competition closes 5:00 PM (EST), 15 February 2019!

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Interested in learning what Zotero can do? The FIMS Graduate Library is hosting a Zotero workshop on Tuesday, February 12th from 12:00pm – 1:00pm! Come to the FIMS Graduate Resource Library to sign up!


SOGS Support Programs

More information here.

Download the SOGS Emergency Loan application for here.

Download the application form here. More information on our website.

No pressure, just support. Come and hang with us in a stress-free, judgement-free space.


Funding Opportunities

If you are a part-time graduate student, this award might apply to you. More information: http://sogs.ca/awards/.

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Have a wellness event you want to plan for your department? We can help! Find out more here.


Campus Events

Want to learn more about the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS)? (FYI: SOGS is local 57.) Need an International Student Identity Card (ISIC)? Want to get more active in the political climate affecting students? Join CFS at the Grad Club on February 12 & 13!

Special Coffee House event at the Grad Club in the evening of the 13th. Express yourself. Eat snacks. Get involved with the student movement.

More information here.

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Your PSAC 610 local women’s committee will be hosting a town-hall-style meet and greet on February 6th from 7 PM – 10 PM at the GRAD CLUB. Come out to socialize, snack, and drink with your fellow TAs and postdocs, and to learn more about your rights and the opportunities available to you through Western. There will also be prizes and raffles available! Win tickets to a local Paint Night and Western’s own production of The Vagina Monologues!

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Campus Events: International Students

Working in Canada (Regulations for International Students)

Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2019 | Time: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm | Location: International and Graduate Affairs Building | Room: Chu Centre, 2nd floor | Cost: Free

This IESC workshop will review immigration regulations that are related to international students which may allow you to work while you study in Canada. We will discuss on-campus and off-campus work, Co-op Work Permits, Post-Graduation Work Permits, and Open Work Permits for spouses of International Students. Information will be presented by an RCIC. | Register here!

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International Graduate Students, are you interested in learning more about becoming a permanent resident of Canada? Join the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) and the International and Exchange Student Centre (IESC) for this FREE Immigration Seminar. During this seminar you will learn more about the Express Entry system, Canada’s economic immigration programs, and the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).

Please register early as seating is limited! Register here.


Off-campus Community Events

Join amateur silkscreening master Megan Arnold at Good Sport on Saturday, February 9th between 12-4pm for a drop-in vegan-friendly edible screen-printed valentine workshop. Valentine design and all materials will be provided. Participation by donation, suggested $5 per valentine sheet. More information here.

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Free Family Fun Night

Free Family Fun Night is an opportunity for all families to engage in hands-on learning and exploration at the London Children’s Museum. Exhibits and programs allow families to explore history, science, art and culture in a safe and inclusive environment.

Enjoy an evening of free admission. Spend quality time together as a family, learn something new, and of course, play!

DATES: February 7, 14, 21, and 28 from 5:00-8:00pm. More information here


Campus Resources

The Office of Human Research Ethics has an open door policy!  Through online resources and office hours, they are available to help.  At any stage of your project, don’t hesitate to reach out and discuss your questions.

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FREE Tax Filing

The Canadian Federation of Students negotiated with UFile.ca to offer students free online tax filing.  Although the service starts at $15.95 per use, members of the Federation are provided with a code to access UFile.ca for free all year round.

Students can use UFile.ca to file taxes for their spouses, partners or dependents. The service is also available in French at impôtexpert.ca.

How to File

To file for free, members must:

  1. Sign in to a new or existing UFile account for the current tax year
  2. Enter tuition fees and months at school (must file T2202a)
  3. Local the “Special Offer” form in UFile’s left hand navigation
  4. Enter the special offer code: CFS1981

(note: entering the code CFS1981 at check-out will not discount the tax file, the student must enter the code in the Special Offer section.)

For the full instructions, please direct members to www.ufilefree.ca or www.impotexpertgratuit.ca.


SOGS Survey Results & Winners

Grad Club Committee Coffee Survey: Results TBA.

Winners: If you won a prize for filling out the coffee survey, please come to the SOGS Office (MC, rm 8) and pick up your Grad Club vouchers.

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Graduate Student Issues survey:

  • 2017-2018 Graduate Student Issues Committee Surveyprimary concern was graduate student parking & supervisor issues.
  • Survey results
  • Conclusion:
    • Parking on campus is a headache for all students and visitors. For graduate students who commute, work off campus or have to drive children/family members, a lack of available parking spots is problematic. Main campus parking problem for graduate students: Western oversells its parking lot spots, which means spots are not guaranteed.
    • At Western the “student-supervisor relationship” is not well-defined, which means that this relationship varies across campus. Factors of this relationship: A supervisor’s style of mentorship and the student’s willingness to work under that framework. SGPS has a “license” system that limits how many students a professor can mentor, based on tracking: 1) how many of those students graduated on time and 2) how many complaints a faculty member receives from their students.

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For more information about SOGS’ surveys, please visit our website.


Monthly Trivia

January Trivia Winners: 

  • Arzoo Sethi
  • Hema Sharma
  • Rebecca Dang

Please come to the SOGS office with your student ID to pick up your Grad Club gift voucher!

Which Western stakeholder is SOGS partnering with to present the upcoming Immigration Seminar?

Email sogs.communications@uwo.ca your answer.

January 2019: Newsletter

SOGS Update, the official monthly electronic newsletter from SOGS, keeps you up to date on issues and events affecting graduate students at Western University.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook,  Twitter, the IGSIC Facebook page and on our events calendar!

________________________________________

Newsletter Contents:

  • 2019 SOGS Presidential Election
  • Winter Bus Pass Schedule
  • SOGS Health Plan: Opt-in/Opt-out
  • Social Events
  • Academic Opportunities
  • Support Programs
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Campus Initiatives
  • Campus Events: International Students
  • SOGS Committees
  • Monthly Trivia

________________________________________

Presidential Election – 2019

Attention graduate students! 
Are you a strong leader? Are you passionate about graduate student issues? Are you looking to make a difference at Western?

                                                                                                                                          Nominate yourself to be the 2019-2020 President of the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS). For more information about the position, check out SOGS Bylaws 1.6.2., 2.1.1., and 2.1.2 in our Bylaws & Constitution. Please also consider contacting the current President (president@sogs.ca) and/or the Executive (executive@sogs.ca) to learn about the current projects and personal experiences involved with running SOGS. All SOGS members are eligible to be nominated.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
We will only accept nominations between Monday, January 7, 2019 and Friday, January 18, 2019 at 4pm. Nomination forms  must be obtained from and submitted in writing to the SOGS office (Middlesex College, room 8). A complete form requires two (2) signatures of two (2) full or associate SOGS members (see Bylaw 3.3.2.2).
If you have any questions, please send all inquiries to sogscro@gmail.com.

Winter 2019 Bus Passes

If you are a student who has a new WesternONE tap card (made fall 2016 onwards), please disregard this bus pass distribution schedule.

If you are a student with an OLD Western student ID or are a visiting student, please come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your paper pass. Visiting students will fill out a form and pay a cash fee for the term pass.

SOGS Health Plan: Opt-in/Opt-out

Health Plan Opt-In/Opt-out deadline this term is January 31, 2019. For more information about the SOGS health plan, visit our website or Studentcare’s website.

If you are a new, full-time graduate student and you would like to opt-in family members (spouse and/or children) to the plan or  you’d like to opt-out of the plan (because you already have an equivalent policy from a spouse, parent or employer),  do so here.

If you are a new part-time student or post-doctoral scholar/fellow, and you would like to opt-in to the SOGS health plan, you must submit this form to the SOGS office with payment by January 31, 2019.

Social Events

Love to dance? Want a cheap night out? The SOGS Orientation & Social committee is hosting the Snowball Dance at the Grad Club on Friday, January 18, 2019. Dance music from 8-11pm. FREE event for all. Some snacks and appetizers will be provided. More information here.


Bring your crafts and art projects to the Grad Club on January 14, 2019. Meet new friends and finish that creative project you’ve been working on (for far too long). Event is free. More information about the BYOC schedule here.

 

Join us at the Grad Club every Tuesday evening for weekly trivia. Winning teams get Grad Club vouchers as prizes! Come early to get a good seat.

 

Academic Opportunities

Learn more about the annual Western Research Forum here. If you are interested in presenting a poster or a short talk about your graduate-level research, sign-up here.


Do you know an amazing TA that went above and beyond in the fall 2018 term? If so, consider nominating them for a Graduate Student Teaching Award. Winners are selected in the Spring 2019 term, and are awarded a $500 cash prize. Students, staff, and faculty may nominate graduate student teaching assistants. More information here. Fill out our nomination survey here. Nomination survey closes January 15, 11:59pm.

The Graduate Student Internship Program is a new experiential learning initiative that allows students in research-based graduate programs to enhance their employability, expand their networks, and explore potential careers through paid internships. Western is one of the few universities in Ontario that offers a Graduate Student Internship Program specifically for research-based graduate students.

To be eligible, students must be domestic students registered in a research-based program which does not include a mandatory internship, co-op, practicum, or placement component. Applicants must submit a signed Document of Support along with each application.

Questions? You can connect with us:

REMINDER!

Are you a PhD student/candidate at Western? If so, consider helping Dr. Natalia Lapshina, Faculty of Education (nlapshin@uwo.ca) by filling out this survey. The goal is to better understand PhD-supervisor relationships at Western and gather critical data to help future PhDs on campus. Your information and responses are anonymous and confidential. Raw data will NOT be shared with or released to university administration or departments.

Attention Western University graduate students!

Inspiring Diversity in STEM is looking for motivated and passionate advocates for diversity in STEM to lead the 3rd biennial Inspiring Diversity in STEM Conference in March 2020! 

The IDSTEM Conference was started to engage, empower, and inspire students who wish to pursue academic or industry careers in a STEM-related field. Our past conferences have seen upwards of 200 attendees, and feature keynote speakers, an expert panel, an undergraduate poster competition, a graduate student research expo, and an industry expo with Ontario companies looking to hire STEM degree holders. 

We’re looking for a new team to lead our 2020 conference. Students at all degree stages are welcome to apply. Applications are now open and will close on January 18, 2019. All open positions are described in the application form. 

Apply here!

Email the IDSTEM team at inspiringdiversityinstem@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Sincerely, Ramina Adam, Nicolette Noonan, and Avital Sternin, Inspiring Diversity in STEM Co-chairs

Support Programs

If DO NOT have a TAship this year and are food insecure at the moment, think about applying to the SOGS Food Bank Program. If you are a TA and are food insecure please refer to the PSAC 610 website here. SOGS members are eligible to apply once per semester and receive up to $75 per applicant PLUS $25 for each dependant. Fill out the application form and bring it into the SOGS office or email sogs.accounting@uwo.ca.

Have a wellness-focused event you’d like to plan for your department or graduate association? Apply to the Wellness Joint Fund today! This program offers funding for wellness events subsidized/paid for by SOGS, SGPS, and Western Student Experience. Email your application to advocacy@sogs.ca.

The SOGS Emergency Loan Program is designed to help SOGS members who are experiencing a short-term financial insecurity. Small, interest free  loans up to $1000 can be provided to SOGS members. Note: Your Graduate Program Coordinator, supervisor or Department Chair will have to sign-off on the form AND you are required to provide SOGS with post-dated cheques  before the loan is released. Please talk to the SOGS office staff if you have questions or need help.


Funding Opportunities

Are you a graduate student enrolled in PART-TIME studies, and are balancing family commitments and community involvement? If that’s you, consider applying. Write an essay (250 words maximum) that outlines how you deal with the school-work-life balance and email it to academic@sogs.ca by February 12, 2019 by 11:59PM. (There is no application for this award.)

Value: 2 at $1000 each, based on the essay

Visit the SOGS website for more information about our bursaries and subsidies and awards. please visit the SOGS website here.

For more information about the SOGS bursaries, visit our website. Apply to the bursary via the SGPS graduate student portal.

SOGS Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund (OSOTF) Bursary – valued at $1500 each. These bursaries are awarded to students from Ontario with demonstrated financial need.

SOGS Out of Province/Country (OOP) Bursary –  valued at $1500 each. These bursaries are awarded to students from outside Ontario with demonstrated financial need.

Campus Initiatives:

Weldon Library wants your feedback regarding the upcoming renovation. Do you want a say in how the Western’s main library is designed? If so, fill out this survey and enter to win prizes! Fill out the survey here.

Western’s Ideas for Sustainability and the Environment (WISE) Competition was established in 2014 to foster innovative and high-impact ideas that reduce or eliminate today’s most pressing environmental concerns. The aim of the competition is to generate ideas and initiatives among Western’s students around the topic of sustainability, and officially recognize the winning ideas.

Proposals will be reviewed by a selection committee, and finalists within each competition will be invited to pitch their idea to the committee in a brief oral presentation. The competition is open to individuals and teams of two or three. The grand prize for the winning proposal within each competition will be $1,500.

Submit your great idea to WISE here. Submission deadline: January 13, 2019.

More information here.

Campus Events: International Students

Want to practice your English? Join the IESC for their English Conversation Program. English Conversation sessions last 2 hours, once per week, for 8 weeks each term. Circles are held at various locations on campus. Participants are matched in circles of 4 – 9 people based on the session time they register for. More information here. Register here.

If you are an international student, consider attending the IESC’s winter tern Potluck dinner THIS Friday, January 11, 2019. More information. Register here.

SOGS Committees

Didn’t get a chance to listen to Gradcast before the holidays?

Gradcast December episodes (available here)

Ep195: Knockin’ on Truth’s Door – Marie Gueguen discusses opposing ideas in science, and how to arrive at informed decisions with hosts Roger and Greg.

Ep196: Heads Up! – Kinesiology student Justin Smith tells Gradcast hosts Greg and Ariel about changes in cognitive function in kids after playing football.
Ep197: Caffeine or No Caffeine… – Kinesiology student Anisa Morava shares the link between exercise, caffeine and memory to hosts Joyla and Greg!
SPECIAL EPISODE: Greg Goes to Grad School! – New Gradcast host Greg Robinson talks about his grad school experience and current research in Physiology and Pharmacology, hosted by Taniya and Joyla.
SPECIAL EPISODE: Time to Track AIDS – Even newer Gradcast host Connor Chato from the Pathology department is invited to talk about his research using algorithms to detect AIDS. Hosted by Taniya and Gavin.

If you want to share your graduate research with the Western community and beyond, get in touch with Gradcast.

SOGS Monthly Trivia

December Trivia Winners: Victoria Jaremek | Farzin Sarvaramini | Sarah Babcock

Please come to the SOGS office with your student ID to pick up your Grad Club gift voucher!

January trivia question: What is the name of the person associated with the SOGS memorial award listed in this month’s newsletter?

Email sogs.communications@uwo.ca your answer.

December 2018: Newsletter

SOGS Update, the official monthly electronic newsletter from SOGS, keeps you up to date on issues and events affecting graduate students at Western University.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook,  Twitter, the IGSIC Facebook page and on our events calendar!

____________________________________

Upcoming SOGS Events

Bring your friends and loved ones to the SOGS annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party on Thursday, December 6, 7:30 – 11PM at the Grad Club! Bring your tackiest Christmas sweater and get in the holiday spirit. There will be snacks, activities, trivia, themed holiday cocktails, and gingerbread house making/sugar cookie decorating. $5 tickets available at the SOGS office (MC room 8). Don’t be tardy for the party!

(Keep your eyes peeled for the Winter 2019 “Snowball” orientation dance party coming in January.)

SOGS Grad Club committee is now hosting B.Y.O.C: Bring your Own Crafts event the second Monday of every month at the Grad Club. Join them on December 10, 2018 at 7pm for a night of self-care and fun. Bring your crafting gear, relax, and make new friends.

Miss the bus trips last week? Don’t worry, SOGS has another Columbia Employee store invite for graduate students. Shop from November 30 until December 9, 2018. Bring your student ID and this invite with you. You may bring up to 4 guests. If you don’t have a car, but still want to shop, bus instructions can be found here. If you are driving, here is a map to help you get there.

Upcoming Deadlines: Funding

SOGS and PSAC 610: Thesis Completion Fund

DUE December 7, 2018, 4PM @ the SOGS office (MC room 8).


Are you a student who is outside of their funding package? Are you a “Year X” student? (“Year X” refers to students, often upper-year PhDs in year-5 and up, who pay student fees but do not have funding from the school.) Apply to the SOGS/PSAC 610 Thesis Completion fund for financial help finishing up your degree. Fund is competitive, and is awarded based on academic merit and financial need.  Download the form here. More information about the fund here.

sogs bursary applications:Travel, childcare, and professional placement

DUE December 21, 2018, 4PM @ the SOGS office (MC room 8)

Please be advised that SOGS can only accept ORIGINAL receipts. If you are submitting expenses elsewhere in addition to SOGS, we can accept photocopies of expenses ONLY IF THEY ARE STAMPED AND SIGNED OFF by the dept./admin. head you are submitting the originals to.

If you are submitting childcare expenses, the receipts must indicate your name on them. We cannot accept receipts with a spouse or partner’s contact information.

If you did a professional placement this term, please submit the receipt for your out-of-town living costs. SOGS cannot accept applications for a placement done in a different term (i.e., last summer) – the placement must have been completed in the FALL 2018 term.

Please see our DOCUMENTS page to download the application forms. 

Feedback Opportunities

fall 2018 gsta awards survey

The SOGS Fall 2018 Graduate Student Teaching Assistant awards survey will be live from December 1, 2018 to January 15, 2019. Nominate a Teaching Assistant you think deserves to be recognized for teaching excellence here. Students, faculty and staff may nominate Teaching Assistants (one nomination per TA)!  More information about they GSTA awards here. Winners will receive $500 and an award certificate at the spring 2019 awards ceremony.

reminder: Survey on PhD student-supervisor relationship

Are you a PhD student/candidate at Western? If so, consider helping Dr. Natalia Lapshina, Faculty of Education (nlapshin@uwo.ca) by filling out this survey. The goal is to better understand PhD-supervisor relationships at Western and gather critical data to help future PhDs on campus. Your information and responses are anonymous and confidential. Raw data will NOT be shared with or released to university administration or departments.

western course feedback survey

If you took a graduate course this term, consider filling out this survey and enter to win 1 of 5 $500 Amazon gift card.

Experiential Learning for graduate students feedback

Want to offer feedback on the prospect of experiential learning for graduate students? If so, please fill out the feedback form. More information on what experiential learning here.

Professional Development Opportunities

The Graduate Student Internship Program is a new experiential learning initiative that allows students in research-based graduate programs to enhance their employability, expand their networks, and explore potential careers through paid internships. Western is one of the few universities in Ontario that offers a Graduate Student Internship Program specifically for research-based graduate students.

To be eligible, students must be domestic students registered in a research-based program which does not include a mandatory internship, co-op, practicum, or placement component. Applicants must submit a signed Document of Support along with each application.

Additional details are available online (grad.uwo.ca/internship) or by emailing gradEL@uwo.ca.

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Announcing the OCUFA Fellowship in Higher Education Journalism

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) is excited to announce the $10,000 OCUFA Fellowship in Higher Education Journalism.

 In recent years, there has been a marked shortage of informed investigative reporting on Canadian higher education issues in the Canadian media. The OCUFA Fellowship in Higher Education Journalism is intended to help address this gap, and support those wishing to pursue in-depth journalism on higher education.

The Fellowship is open to full-time, part-time, and freelance journalists, including students, who wish to pursue an investigative research project in the area of Canadian higher education. Applications focusing on any topic within this area are welcomed, including public policy, labour relations, the academic labour market, governance, financing, teaching, research, librarianship and information management, demographics, education quality, free speech and academic freedom, equity and diversity, indigeneity, and reconciliation.

The deadline for applications is January 25, 2019. The Fellowship is valued at $10,000 and administered by OCUFA, with the first half payable at the start of the project and the second half upon completion. The winner will have to complete and publish and/or broadcast the project within a year of being granted the Fellowship. OCUFA will not exercise any editorial control or judgment over the work produced.

To learn more about the fellowship and to apply, please visit: https://ocufa.on.ca/awards/journalismfellowship

If you have any questions, or require further information, contact Ben Lewis at blewis@ocufa.on.ca

Do you want to get involved in the largest scientific festival in Canada? Science Rendezvous is a Canada‐wide festival that takes science out of the lab and onto the streets. We are now actively recruiting graduate students to join the Organizing Committees to assist in the planning of the event, which will be held on May 11, 2019.

Visit the website for more information.  International students can apply. Any graduate student in any department can apply.

On-Campus Support

 

Need someone to talk to that won’t judge you? The Graduate Peer Support committee members are here for you. Whether you need to talk about life or school, SOGS has your back. Come to the SOGS office every Wednesday from 2:30 to 4PM for coffee, a char, and a shoulder to lean on.  #NoPressureJustSupport 


SOGS Committees

GradCast: Are you interested in presenting your research on the radio? That’s right, the radio! We want to HEAR from you!

Interested in joining one of SOGS’ committees? Learn more about the committees here. Email the committee chair for more information. Due to reaching member capacity, some committee have waitlists.

SOGS Services

SOGS Monthly Trivia

November Trivia Winners: Donna Swapp | Khadija Ahmed | Phuong Vu

Please come to the SOGS office with your student ID to pick up your Grad Club gift voucher!

December trivia question: What is the name of the winter dance upcoming in January?

Email sogs.communications@uwo.ca your answer.

November 2018 Council Summary

Announcements

  • The next council meeting will be on JANUARY 31  in MC 110.
  • Speaker’s Corner will happen at 4-5 pm prior to Council meetings. If you have questions regarding Council protocols or about motions in the package, this is your opportunity to ask the Speaker before the meeting.

Upcoming SOGS Events:

  • Ugly Sweater Party (Dec 6: 7:30 pm-11 pm @ the Grad Club): Tickets are $5, which includes: a themed cocktail, gingerbread house or cookie decorating, trivia participation, and access to prizes! Tickets are available at the SOGS office (MC 8).
  • B.Y.O.C.  Bring Your Own Crafts – Monday, December 10 @ the Grad Club, 7 pm
  • December Board Game Night: December 19th @ the Grad Club, 7pm-11 pm.
  • January Orientation “Snowball” Dance: January 18th @ the Grad Club, 8 pm-11 pm.
  • The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has drop-in hours starting Nov 21 to Dec 13 in Student Health Services (UCC, room 11).
  • CMHA is also soliciting feedback and ideas on mental health literacy initiatives. If you or someone you know has any ideas or suggestions to improve mental health literacy on campus, please email services@sogs.ca and VP Student Services, Jeremy Johnston, will forward that information to our CMHA contacts.
  • Western Research Forum abstract call-out during the last week of November.
  • GPS committee: The drop-in peer support program continues on Wednesdays from 2:30-4:00 pm in the multi-purpose room, SOGS office (MC 8).
  • Dissertation drop-in will continue on Friday’s from 10am-3:45pm. Bring your lunch, coffee and snacks, and write in a stress-free space all day in the SOGS multi-purpose room.

Motions

This was a busy meeting, with a wide variety of motions on the agenda.

Response to the provincial government’s financial update: The President asked for a mandate from SOGS to make a public statement condemning the provincial government’s recent decision to cancel three proposed satellite campuses and a new French-language university in Ontario. The motion passed.

2017–18 Surplus: A number of motions were passed relating to the allocation of SOGS’s operating surplus from the 2017–18 fiscal year. The Finance Committee prepared a recommendation based on requests they had a received, and Council approved the Finance Committee’s recommendation. The items in the recommendation varied from purchasing boardroom chairs for the new SOGS office to hiring a graduate student to perform a research project on grad student well-being. A separate motion from the VP Academic was passed to create two graduate student positions designated for assisting with academic appeals. More details about the various initiatives to be funded through the surplus will follow. A motion was also passed requesting transparency with regards to budget and surplus recommendations.

Indigenous bursary: A motion was passed formally creating a bursary designated for Indigenous graduate students, funded through a donation from Studentcare, our current healthcare broker. The first bursary will be awarded in the 2019–2020 academic year.

Fair Trade and Direct Trade Coffee: Council passed a motion from the VP Finance formalizing SOGS’s commitment to offering fair trade or direct trade coffee at the Grad Club.

Bylaw changes: The bylaws and constitution committee put a series of motions on the agenda. The changes provided clarification on several points, particularly the membership and role of the Appeals Review Commission.

Freedom of Expression Speaker Series: In light of the recent decision by the provincial government, Councillor Colin Couper proposed that SOGS strike an ad hoc committee tasked with organizing a speaker series on free speech and freedom of expression. The motion passed. A call for members will go out shortly.

Feedback wanted

SOGS is seeking feedback on the following topics:

International tuition: Starting in September 2018, international PhD students pay domestic tuition instead of international tuition. There have been reports that after this change, some international PhD students’ take-home pay decreased. If students are in this situation, they are encouraged to contact Dr. Linda Miller, Vice-Provost (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) at lmiller@uwo.ca

Vacation time: Currently, graduate students are entitled to two weeks of vacation time per school year (in addition to statutory holidays and standard university closures). SOGS would like to know if grad students feel that this is sufficient. Those who would like to provide feedback may do so by contacting the VP academic at academic@sogs.ca.

Discovery credit: Currently, undergraduate students at Western have the option of taking a course outside of their major on a pass/fail basis, called a discovery credit. Discovery credit provide students with a lower-risk opportunity to explore a new area. SOGS would like to know if graduate students would like to see this option made available to them. Members are encouraged to weigh in by emailing the VP academic at academic@sogs.ca.

Language requirements: Some programs require graduate students to demonstrate reading proficiency in a second and third language. Currently, Western has a French reading course and a German reading course that provide the means to fulfill language requirements. However, these courses are often not offered and grad students are pursuing language study elsewhere, often at their own expense. If it would be useful to grad students in your program for the French and German reading courses to be offered every summer, please contact Councillor Diana Wu (dwu328@uwo.ca) with information about the requirements in your program and the barriers students have faced.

Call for Nominations

Graduate Education Council: Representatives from Ivey and Law still needed to sit on the GEC. Meetings are once per term. Contact president@sogs.ca for more information.

SOGS Presidential Election: Call for Nominations will be open January 7-18, 2019. Balloting will be January 29-30, as per the University Secretariat. More information to come.

November 2018: Newsletter

SOGS Update, the official monthly electronic newsletter from SOGS, keeps you up to date on issues and events affecting graduate students at Western University.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook,  Twitter, the IGSIC Facebook page and on our events calendar!


UPCOMING SOGS EVENTS:

Need a new date night option? Want to learn how to cook a fancy vegetarian meal? Need a break from all that dissertating? Join the Orientation and Social committee for a night of culinary fun at the Loblaws at Masonville. Cooking class is two-hours in duration, and you get to eat the food you make! Tickets are $20 per person. You can bring guests with you.

 

If you didn’t make it to the Columbia employee store in October, SOGS and Columbia Sportswear are arranging three bus trips from Middlesex College to the Columbia employee store in late November. To reserve your seat on one of the three buses, come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) and pay for your $2 ticket. See the SOGS website and Facebook for more information. You will get a paper invitation from the SOGS office when you reserve your bus ticket.

Please be advised that you are NOT permitted to bring any backpacks in the store – please leave them at home or in your office.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EVENTS:

Monday, November 12: Want OHIP for all students? Think international students should have access to OHIP? Come to the short talk about the Fairness for International Students campaign with Canadian Federation of Students representatives.

Please note that CFS will be at the Grad Club all day on Monday, November 12 to discuss the Fairness for International Students campaign. 

Wednesday, November 14: If you are an international graduate student with plans to stay in Canada after the completion of your studies, come to the second SOGS immigration seminar this term and learn about the process from immigration specialist, lawyer Greg Willoughby of Only Immigration. Tickets are free, but must be reserved on Eventbrite. See Facebook for more details.

IESC EVENTS:

 

US Visa Information Session:

Wednesday November 14th

If you are planning on travelling to the U.S. or are interested in studying or working temporarily in the U.S., then you will not want to miss this presentation. It will cover different U.S. Visa classifications such as “B1/B2” (business/pleasure), “F & J” (student and exchange visitors), “H” (temporary worker) and “TN” (NAFTA professionals).

The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period. This session will be presented by representatives from the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto.

Click here for more Information and to register.

SOGS RECURRING EVENTS:

ELECTIONS/NOMINATIONS:

 

SOGS Graduate Student Teaching Assistant (GSTA) award survey will be open on December 1, 2018 and will close on January 15, 2019. Nominate a teaching assistant here (as of Dec 1).

 

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES:

SOGS, SGPS & Western Student Experience sponsor the Wellness Joint Fund, which provides the graduate community (graduate departments, graduate student associations/councils, graduate students, and faculty) funding and resources to host and plan wellness events. If you would like to plan a wellness event, and require some funding, please fill out the application, and email it to SOGS’ VP AdvocacyApplications are due at least 30 days prior to the planned event. 

Notes:

  • Please note that all applications MUST include a letter or intent, a detailed budget, and a proposed schedule of the event.
  • Priority given to on campus events and those that benefit the most people.
  • Recipients are required to provide receipts and return unused funds within one month of the completion stated on the application.

 

The Thesis Completion Fund is a collaborative, one-time awards program between SOGS and Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 610 (PSAC 610) to help members of the Society of Graduate Students. Based on academic merit, research excellence, and financial need, its aim is to provide assistance to graduate students beyond the end of their funding packages. SOGS and PSAC 610 advocate for proper funding according to the needs of each graduate student.
*Applicants must be outside their funding period at the time of application submission*

Fill out the application form and submit it to the SOGS office (MC room 8) by December 7, 2018. For more information on the Thesis Completion Fund, visit the SOGS website.

 

IMPORTANT DEADLINES:

If you have health care expenses to claim with the SOGS health plan insurer from the 2017-18 academic year, do so by November 29, 2018. Please note that you will have to submit your claims through the app (fastest route), or at the SOGS office (sent via Courier every Tuesday), or by mail on your own (note: due to rotating strikes at Canada Post, mail services have been delayed). If you need help submitting a claim, please visit the SOGS website.

 

RESEARCH INITIATIVES:

If you want your opinion on Experiential Learning for graduate students at Western to be heard, fill out the feedback form. More information on EL at Western here. 

Interested in entrepreneurship but don’t have an idea?

Consider Proteus – a four-month long competition that challenges you to create a commercialization plan for 1 of 3 technologies developed out of Ontario’s research institutions. More information here. 

Looking to add value to your graduate degree and to your research? Join Western’s cohort of Graduate Student Innovation Scholars! Receive a participation award of $1,500. Apply your discipline-specific knowledge and develop expertise in entrepreneurship, commercialization and knowledge transfer with hands-on training. Apply your knowledge. Apply today.

How to apply

• Submit your CV, a 200-250-word statement of interest and a cover letter

• Supervisor’s sign-off

• Submit your application to sis@uwo.ca

Applications can be submitted now and are due by midnight on Sunday, December 9, 2018.

Interviews will be conducted the week of December 17.

The program is expected to start in January.

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GET INVOLVED

  • Call for SOGS committee members & volunteers
    • Bursaries & Subsidies Committee – Students from the Arts & Humanities
    • Graduate Education Council: Education and Engineering need representatives.

 

SOGS MONTHLY TRIVIA:

October trivia winners: Seva Ioussoufovitch | Tristan Kuehn | Natasha DesRochers

November trivia question:

What are the two (2) funding opportunities advertised in this month’s trivia? (Name both.) Email your answer to sogs.communications@uwo.ca