SOGS Update 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.
Recently, a Western media release, and President Chakma personally, "applauded the Canadian government for creating a $1.5 billion plan to bolster innovative research at Canada's universities as part of the 2014 federal budget." This funding, unfortunately, is nowhere near what Canadian Post-Secondary Education needs and has needed for decades. Our University President encourages the Western community to mark a hollow victory.
The federal budget contains nothing to celebrate for students in Canada. There is no relief to exorbitant tuition fees, nothing to lift graduate students and their families out of poverty, nothing to help our libraries and study spaces and nothing to protect the values of peer-reviewed, curiosity-based research. There is only further near-sighed funding for commercialized research projects. We continue to be forced to do more with so much less.
But worse than this, President Chakma in the Western release, he writes that the new approach "will allow universities like Western to expand their competitiveness as it seeks to grow its international presence through partnerships and outreach programs." Concerning the new funding "to what extend Western may derive benefits from this investment depends on how we perform in our pursuit of excellence relative to our peers."
President Chakma tells us that it is acceptable to see Canadian universities find no relief from underfunding and he also welcomes further competition between ourselves and our colleagues at other institutions. If we fight against each other for meagre crumbs of funding we all lose. If we are to celebrate the achievement of "excellence" in the Canadian Post-Secondary Education context, let us set the goals higher.
Let us work to see our tuition fees reduced and eventually eliminated to make our institutions financially accessible to all students. Let us work to provide our graduate students sufficient funding to lift them and their families above the poverty line. Let us work to demand research grants and funding that remains in the purview of the peer-review process and not in the hands of private, commercialized interests. Let us achieve greatness with the collective intelligence, enthusiasm and hard work of graduate student colleagues and faculty across Canada and not just at Western. Anything less is a false pretence.
And, one day, if that true achievement comes through - thanks to the collaboration of students, faculty and administration - then we can celebrate victory. We will gather with our colleagues in the streets of our cities and communities, and there, we will find our faculty and staff allies and celebrate with them. And in those streets we will hope to find President Chakma and we will share with him a true victory for graduate students and Canadian Post-Secondary Education.
Until that day - and that victory - comes, we have a lot of work to do. Let's see our work done. Let us do it together, in the spirit of collaboration and solidarity.
President, Society of Graduate Students at the University of Western Ontario
Local 47 - Canadian Federation of Students
President's Advisory Committee for Environment and Sustainability (PACES) seeks a student representative
Western is looking for a graduate student members of SOGS to join the PACES committee for their meetings, which occur bimonthly. There is also a student space on a PACES subcommittee the Western's Operations Group for Sustainability (WOGS), which also meets bimonthly.
Trailblazing Grad Students, Sign up for the SOGS Cross-Country Skiing Event! All Skill Levels Welcome!
(Picture from tupper-lake.com)
Take a break from your breakthrough work and enjoy groomed and tracked trails at the nearby and naturally beautiful Circle R Ranch:
Saturday, March 1, from 12PM to 5 PM
(Bus leaves Middlesex College at 11AM and leaves Circle R Ranch at 5 PM.) Transportation and Trail Fees for each participating grad student will be completely covered by SOGS. Just pay $25 per person for equipment rental, only if needed. Tickets for non grad students cost $40 per person ($15 if ticket holder will be using own equipment).
Beginners are absolutely welcome; no previous experience is necessary. Optional mini-lessons will be held at the ranch. Snacks are available for purchase there.
Hurry! Only a limited number of tickets is available.
- Brought to you by the Orientation and Social Committee (OSC) of SOGS (The Society of Graduate Students of the UWO)
New Health Plan Smartphone App Now Enables SOGS Members to Take Picts of Health and Dental Receipts, Submit Claims Online, and Get Reimbursements Fast!
The new SOGS Health and Dental Plan ihaveaplan mobile app is a free, innovative service designed to provide SOGS members with enhanced convenience when it comes to submitting claims. It's now available initially for users of iOS devices (iPhone, iPod, or iPad). Students lead fast-paced, busy lives; the ihaveaplan mobile app provides a quicker and easier way for students to manage their health care. The new paperless service simplifies the claiming process and speeds up reimbursement.
With this app, students just have to take snapshots of their health and dental receipts and submit them directly to the insurer from their personal iOS device. All claims are processed within five business days. It's as simple as snapping a picture, clicking submit, and voilà, the reimbursement is deposited into the student's bank account in just a few days (direct deposit setup required)!
The ihaveaplan mobile app offers more than just electronic claims submissions. It also keeps track of students' personal submission history, stores an electronic Pay Direct Card, and provides students with emergency travel contact information. A sustainability friendly tool, the ihaveaplan mobile app is designed to make as many SOGS Health and Dental Plan services as paperless as possible.
In addition, keeping student information safe is a top priority for Studentcare, the Society's health plan provider. According to them, the app exercises industry-leading privacy protocols and exceeds the demands of provincial and federal security legislation in Canada. More information about the ihaveaplan app's security policy is available online at http://my.ihaveaplan.ca/privacy/.
Download version 2.0 of the ihaveaplan app from the Apple App Store now. It's free, easy, and secure. Android and web versions of the app are coming soon. The projected release date is early 2014.
Save the date! WRF - 2014 will be held March 17-19th. Details will soon be available and the SOGS website will be open for abstract, paper, and poster submissions. We have some exciting keynote speakers planned, so stay tuned!
Grad students got cozy in a successful winter soiree and enjoyed delicious Grad Club pasta, garlic bread, market salad, booze, and sweet prizes. Other recent social activities included the Boler Mountain Ski Event on Feb. 12 and a Feb. 20 Reading Week Movie Night. Thanks so much to all who came! The Cross-Country Skiing Event is coming up on March 1 (see article in this newsletter). Watch out for announcements on more exciting events from your Orientation and Social Committee!
As members of the Canadian Federation of Students, SOGS members can file their taxes for free with Ufile.
Just follow this link for instructions.
GradCast is the Society of Graduate Students' radio show and features candid interviews with graduate students. Listen live every 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 6pm on CHRW 94.9FM or www.chrwradio.com.
Follow GradCast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sogsgradcast
Since Pierre Poilievre proposed the "Fair Elections Act" on February 4, a Bill that would suppress student votes and muzzle Elections Canada, we all have pushed back, and it's time for decision-makers to listen.
While students should have many concerns about the dramatic reforms proposed in the Bill, the primary concern is changes to the requirements on voter identification that will suppress youth voter turnout.
The response has been incredible. We have called and emailed Members of Parliament, delivered petitions, and raised our voices on social media. Our voices are not being ignored. The "Fair Elections Act" is now being discussed by committee, which has slowed down the repressive and secretive process that Minister Poilievre intended to follow.
It is time to take the next step; we are launching a national campaign, targeting key Conservative ridings, to continue our work. Starting today, we began running radio ads across the country. This Bill is an affront to Canadian democracy and it's time to let the country and the government know that students will not sit by and let these changes come into effect, moving the ballot box even further away from youth.
Join us in telling the Conservative government to Let People Vote. Add your voice at www.fairelectionsact.ca. Sign up to send an email to committee members voicing your opposition to the Bill and share the campaign on social media.
We have drawn significant attention to the Bill and built up momentum in a few short weeks. Thank you for all of your hard work. Together we can fight this and win.
Canadian Federation of Students
w. 613.232.7394 x 221
SOGS members may have noticed the malfunctioning LTC sign at Natural Science. Over the past months the LTC has been working diligently with the supplier of their signage by Western's Natural Science Building to get it operational again. Unfortunately, the parties experienced problems with troubleshooting, and most, if not all, of the parts had to be replaced, but it is still not functional. It was recommended that LTC convert the signage from a cellular connection to a radio connection, which they anticipate will be completed soon.
Western Libraries' Map and Data Centre is pleased to announce the launch of a six-month pilot project to provide statistical consulting help free of charge to the Western community (undergraduates, graduates, faculty, staff, and post-docs). The statistical consultant will work in the Map and Data Centre on the ground floor of Weldon Library. During the pilot project, the service will be offered Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 to 16:30, and on Wednesday from 10:00 to 12:00.
How the service is intended to assist users (examples):
- Data analysis (e.g., what test do I use, or how do I use it?);
- Interpretation of results (e.g., I've done this analysis - what does it mean?);
- Software selection (e.g., would it be best to use SPSS or SAS for the analysis I need to do?);
- Statistical methodology or creating data collection models (e.g., I want to study this subject - how should I collect the data to support the analysis I need?).
An analysis of usage statistics and user feedback will determine whether Western Libraries will fund the statistical consulting service beyond the six-month pilot project. User feedback on the service is essential!
Please check the web site (http://www.lib.uwo.ca/madgic/statisticalconsulting.html) for the hours of this service and for further information.
Stories of Illness & Health: Engaging the Patient Experience
Date: Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
Location: Wolf Performance Hall, London Public Library (Central Branch)
This event is free and open to campus and community!
Have you or anyone you know experienced chronic or acute illness? How does the art of storytelling work to improve health care education and the experience of patient care? In what ways are doctors, patients and other health professionals storytellers? How can researchers, educators, students, and members of the greater public work together to produce compassionate approaches to patient-centred care?
Stories of Health & Illness invites members of the public, both campus and community, to join us to experience the stories of people living with illness. Through stories shared by participants who have dealt with chronic or acute conditions, audience members will hear first-hand accounts of what is important to patients throughout their health care experience. Following each story, we will invite the audience to reflect on their experience of each narrative and engage in an open dialogue with our storytellers.
Our moderator for the evening will be Dr. Jeff Nisker, Professor of Obstetrics-Gynaecology at the Schulich School Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, and Scientist, Children's Health Research Institute. He holds, and has held, CIHR and Genome Canada grants to explore ethical and social issues in reproductive medicine, genetics, and exposure of pregnant women to environmental toxins. He has held a CIHR/Health Canada grant exploring public engagement for citizen deliberation regarding pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Jeff has written or co-written over 150 scientific articles and book chapters, as well as seven plays. His plays have been performed throughout Canada, as well as in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa.
This event will be videotaped for educational purposes.
Thank you to our partners: Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, the London Health Sciences Centre, the Public Humanities at Western, and the Narrative Medicine Initiative.
Have you ever considered what it might take to help save someone's life? What if all it took was to shave your head?
Every year, thousands of brave men, women, and children have joined the St. Baldrick's Foundation and shed their locks in support of childhood cancer research. I invite you to make a "bald" statement and join us on March 18, 2014 (tentative date) at Western University. Please support us in our pursuit to raise funds to help eradicate the number one disease killer of children in the U.S. and Canada.
St. Baldrick's events have raised approximately $150 million, providing research grants to doctors and scientists at more than 200 institutions. These funds enable them to pursue the most promising new cures for childhood cancer, in addition to making clinical trials available to more children than ever. Since 2000, St. Baldrick's has hosted more than 5,500 head-shaving events, shaving more than 244,000 heads in 30 countries and 50 U.S. states.
Consider this staggering fact: one out of every five children diagnosed with cancer will not survive – that's one child too many. Join us in our efforts to find a cure so that no child has to suffer at the hands of this merciless disease.
Going bald is not for everyone. But you can still help! Visit www.StBaldricks.org and click Get Involved (or give me a call at (226) 378-9584 to see other ways to be involved! You can sign up to volunteer at our event, set up a fundraising page, make a donation on behalf of a participant (or to the event as a whole) or simply help us by spreading the word.
To join the fun and learn more about the St. Baldrick's Foundation, visit www.StBaldricks.org or call 888.889.BALD. Thank you for your support.
Together, let's Conquer Kids' Cancer! Sincerely,
St. Baldrick's Western Coordinator
In its 18th year, the United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) is pleased to announce our Call for Applications for our Self-Funded United Nations Professional Placement Programme (UNPPP) – continuing to offer qualified and passionate Canadians a unique opportunity to apply their skills and expertise to a range of pressing issues at the core of the United Nations' mandate.
This year, the UNPPP will offer six-month international professional placements with our long-standing partners, as well as new partnerships with UN country offices around the globe, including UNICEF Geneva, UNHCR India, UNDP Bhutan, ILO Zimbabwe, UNICEF Namibia, UN-Habitat Kenya, and UNWomen Senegal. Please see attached flyer – and to find out more about these and other UNPPP opportunities, we encourage you to visit the UNPPP Website for further details.
Successful candidates will deploy in spring of 2014!
Project Officer/agent de projet
United Nations Association in Canada
Association canadienne pour les Nations Unies
United Nations Professional Placements Programme (UNPPP)
UNPPP blogsite: www.unacppp.blogspot.com
UNPPP Twitter account: @UNACPPP
#300-309 Cooper Street, Ottawa, ON. K2P 0G5 Canada
T: (613) 232-5751 ext 234 F: (613) 563-2455
Congratulations to all of the Canadian Olympic athletes who competed in Sochi. You represented our country well and made us proud.
Fall Hours of Operation
Monday to Friday
8:00am to 12:00AM
10:00am to 3:00pm
Free parking after 8pm.
Upcoming Entertainment at the Grad Club
Watch English Premier Soccer at the Grad Club!
Sponsored by Carlsberg. Enter to win a Premier League team jersey of your choice. Ask your server for more details.
Get your VanHoutte coffee card
Buy ten coffees and get one free.
Tuesday Chinese Buffet
Served from 11:30AM - 1:30PM. $9.50 one trip.
Wednesday Indian Buffet (South Asian)
Every Wednesday the Grad Clubs serves an East Indian Buffet, 11:30AM-1:30PM.
Thursday Create Your Own Pasta
Every Thursday, create your own Pasta. 11:30AM - 2:00PM.
Friday Theme Buffet
Served from 11:30AM - 1:30PM. $9.50.
Monday Open Mic
Monday Mill St Open Mic with Mike. Starting September 9, 2013.
Every Tuesday @ 8pm. Come join the fun and win prizes including Grad Club gift certificates.
Thursday "Rick McGhie"
Every Thursday, 8:00pm-11:00pm enjoy the music of Rick McGhie.
Book the Goblet
To reserve The Goblet of Knowledge for your upcoming defense party, call Marc Extension 86386.
For more info, visit the Grad Club Online.
February Question: On what day of the week can you enjoy a "Create Your Own Pasta" lunch at the Grad Club?
- Shahram Amirnia
- Rubaiat Ameena Mithila
- Neven Vulic
- Jelyn Urbano
- Yonathan Araya
- A. Z. M. Ariful Islam
- Naemeh Assadat Naghavi Alhosseini Abiazani
- Golnaz Salehipour
- Deepika Jonnalagadda
- Aruba Mahmud