SOGS provides support and advocacy to its members on two levels: (1) as individual students, and (2) as a collective body. Such support and advocacy is carried out not only by the Society's executive members, but also by certain committees of the Society.
Nonetheless, through the office, SOGS provides general advice and referrals to external services that may be able to assist graduate students experiencing academic- and administration-related problems. Appointments should be made with the President and/or the VP Academic of the Society. In general, individuals seeking support should consider the following services first:
- Community Legal Services, (519) 661-3352
- Dispute Resolution Centre
- University Ombuds Office
- Psychological Services
Primarily through the Graduate Student Issues Committee (GSIC), SOGS advocates on behalf of the collective interests of its members at the local level. Essentially, GSIC functions to fulfill two of the Society's key purposes, as stated in our Constitution: "to be an advocate for graduate students on issues and concerns affecting graduate student life at the University of Western Ontario" and "to represent graduate student issues and concerns with the University Administration."
GSIC is mandated to better the quality and accessibility of education for graduate students. In essence, the purpose of GSIC is to express and work towards the socio-political goals of the Society. As an example of its work, GSIC has been involved in fighting tuition hikes and costly administrative fees - with success! Those interested in joining GSIC should contact the office, the VP External Affairs and Communications, or the GSIC Chairperson. Campaign ideas are welcome as well.
Provincially and Federally
Another of the Society's key purposes, as stated in our Constitution, is "to represent graduate student issues and concerns with ... other organizations." Such organizations include the provincial and federal governments, and those agencies that govern post-secondary education. The policies of these bodies affect us in ways more directly than we usually imagine.
SOGS advocates on behalf of graduate students at the governmental levels primarily through the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), our national student organisation. Our issues and concerns reach the provincial and federal governments through delegates that we send, on a regular basis, to national and provincial general meetings of the Federation. Through the Federation, we are also members of the Ontario Graduate Association (OGA) and the National Graduate Council (NGC).
Society policy requires that at least two delegates be sent to all general meetings of the CFS, including one executive member (either the VP-External or the SOGS CFS Liaison) and one non-executive member (selected by GSIC). Such policy ensures that the Society fulfills its responsibility of representing graduate student issues at the provincial and federal levels.