Coronavirus Updates

SOGS COVID-19 Update (March 30 and 31, 2020)

SOGS COVID-19 Update (March 31, 2020)

Dear SOGS members, 

Based on a directive from the provincial government, Western has moved to essential services on campus beginning at 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, March 24, continuing for at least 14 days. 

This means that the SOGS Office and the Grad Club will remain closed until further direction from the University. 

Please see the SOGS COVID-19 landing page for more information about our available services. Our March 23, 2020 update includes all relevant information regarding SOGS services. Please see below for additional updates: 

SOGS Scholarships and Awards:

125th Scholarship and the Peggy Collins Award:

The application deadline is on April 30, 2020. To find out more information, visit http://sogs.ca/125th/ and http://sogs.ca/peggy-collins/.

Travel Subsidy:

Students who did not receive their money back after having to cancel their travel, accommodation, and conference fees due to COVID-19 can still apply and qualify for the SOGS Travel Subsidy. Students must provide proof that vendors denied the refund. Please note that these subsidies are awarded based on financial need. Only those who meet these criteria will be considered. For questions about our subsidies, please contact sogs@uwo.ca.

Resource List: 

As we adjust to these unprecedented times, we heard your concerns that resource information is dispersed and difficult to find. Therefore, SOGS has created a centralized resource list outlining information from SOGS, Western University, City of London, Province of Ontario, and Federal Government for graduate students. Please see the attached PDF document or the link here for the information. 

**Please note that the government recently announced that students who have earned $5000 in the last year, qualify for the government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).**

The SOGS Executive continues to work with staff and stakeholders on how to best support its members, while ensuring everyone’s health and safety. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time. 

If you have any comments or questions, please direct them to sogs@uwo.ca. Due to these evolving changes, please be advised that responses may be a bit slower than usual.

Sincerely,

The SOGS Executive


SOGS COVID-19 Update (March 30, 2020)

The SOGS Executive committee have written an open letter to Western University President Alan Shepard and Provost Andrew Hrymak regarding tuition support for graduate students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the letter here


Previous SOGS COVID-19 Updates

SOGS COVID-19 Update (March 23, 2020)
 

Dear SOGS members,

The SOGS Executive continues to work with staff and stakeholders on how to best support its members. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time. 

The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. In an effort to support social distancing and minimize the potential risk to all the SOGS members and staff, the SOGS office and the Grad Club remains closed until further notice and until at least March 31, 2020.

SOGS Services

Although our physical office is closed, the SOGS Executive and staff are committed to providing the best support and services possible to our graduate student community given our current circumstances.

The following SOGS services will be moved online until further notice:

Bus Pass:

Effective March 20, 2020, until April 5, 2020, the London Transit Commission (LTC) is waving bus fares. If students lose their paper bus pass or student card, they will still be able to access the LTC during this period.

Emergency Loans:

Please email sogs@uwo.ca for further information on how to access this service at this time.

Non-TA Foodbank Program:

Please email sogs@uwo.ca for further information on how to access this service at this time.

SOGS Health and Dental Plan:

If you have any questions related to the SOGS Health and Dental Plan coverage, you may contact Studentcare directly at 1-866-358-4435, Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. You may also file claims through the Studentcare mobile app.

SOGS Subsidies:

The Subsidy application deadline has been extended until May 31, 2020. Please keep your applications with you until further notice. Please be advised that processing applications may be delayed. As our physical office remains closed, and for your own safety, we ask that members do not drop off documents in the dropbox outside the SOGS Office or call the office.

If you have any questions pertaining to research, examinations, GTA issues, etc. please direct them to sgps_questions@uwo.ca. SGPS will respond with accurate information, and use the questions for generating ongoing FAQs on SGPS’ website.

If you have any comments or questions, please direct them to sogs@uwo.ca. Due to these evolving changes, please be advised that responses may be a bit slower than usual.

Sincerely,

The SOGS Executive


SOGS COVID-19 Update (March 18, 2020)
 

The University opened all parking lot gates except for the small lots that are reserved (e.g., the small lot by Alumni Hall and the Heating Plant, the lot by the Fowler-Kennedy Clinic).

This comes after the SOGS Executive shared concerns and sent a request asking to open the parking gates yesterday. This provides graduate students not feeling safe to take the public transit to drive to campus for research obligations.

Anyone can park in the open lots, except for in the spots that are marked “Reserved”.

Even if our physical office is closed, our work does not stop.

The SOGS Executive is here to support you and will help in any way we can. We welcome you to share feedback and/or concerns.

Stay safe and healthy.
The SOGS Executive


SOGS COVID-19 Update (March 16, 2020)

Dear SOGS members,

Due to the changing nature and spread of COVID-19, and in an effort to support social distancing and minimize the potential risk to all the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) members and staff, the SOGS office and the Grad Club operations will be closed effective Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 until further notice and until at least March 31st, 2020.

For Monday, March 16th, 2020, the SOGS Office will be opened until 4 pm and the Grad Club will be opened until 7 pm.

The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. The SOGS Executive and staff are committed to providing the best support and services possible to our graduate student community given our current circumstances.

If you have any questions related to the SOGS Health and Dental Plan coverage, you may contact Studentcare directly at 1-866-358-4435, Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

We have already begun the process of determining which SOGS services can be moved online. We will provide an update on the online services we can offer once we have more information by the end of the week.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
 
Sincerely,
The SOGS Executive

SOGS COVID-19 Update (March 13, 2020)

Dear SOGS members,

The Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) Executive has been working closely with Western University and the Middlesex-London Health Unit since January to assess the impact of COVID-19 on our campus community. The health and safety of all campus community members is our shared priority.

In light of Western’s update regarding COVID-19, the SOGS Executive would like to provide information as it relates to SOGS programs, services, and operations.

SOGS is closely monitoring the situation on campus and is in regular communication with Western’s Administration. We understand that the cancellation of extracurricular activities and the move to online education will have a major impact on our campus community. This situation is unprecedented in our university’s history; we can only adapt to this new reality if everyone in our community is as patient and cooperative as possible.

As campus remains open at this time, our operations will be open as scheduled until we have more direction from Western. The Grad Club will operate regular hours. The SOGS Office will be open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. We will provide an update on the future schedules of our operations once we have more information.

Consistent with the university’s announcements on March 12, 2020, all scheduled SOGS events are cancelled until further notice. We are currently working with relevant stakeholders including the university, the staff, SOGS Committees and Commissioners to evaluate the impact on individual programs and events.

We are committed to supporting students through these changes and invite students to share their feedback or concerns regarding the changes to support our advocacy. Comments and questions can be directed to sogs@uwo.ca or (519) 661-3394.

Resources:

Sincerely, 

The SOGS Executive


COVID-19 Information and Resources


School of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies (SGPS) Resources and Information


Western Resource Hub for Students

Information for prospective, new, and incoming students about Western, academic life, and student services in light of COVID-19 available here.


Virtual Events to Stay Connected

 For more information about our events, see ourFacebook Page.

If balancing grad school and the isolation, anxiousness, frustration, sadness, or disconnect of social distancing is weighing on you, join the SOGS Virtual Support Group for Racialized and International Graduate Students (via Zoom) to re-connect, support, and motivate each other. Everyone is welcome! The group will meet twice per week on Tuesdays from 1-2pm and Thursdays from 12-1pm.

Interested in participating? Fill out our intake survey here.

Are you struggling with the isolation that has come with COVID-19? You are not alone!  In order to help connect our womxn and femme constituents, our Women’s Concerns Commissioner, Jaclyn Siegel, will be hosting an online support group on Mondays from 10-11AM and on Thursdays from 2:30-3:30PM during this bout of COVID-19 isolation.

If you want support, or just to commiserate with your peers, join in on the virtual group by filling out our survey here

Miss weekly Trivia Nights at the The Western Grad Club? We do! Join Virtual Trivia Night with your fellow grad, Elizabeth, at 8pm each Tuesday and have a pub night at home!

Want to play? Join here.  Just want to watch? Tune in here for the questions!