October 2020 Newsletter

The Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students that keeps you informed about issues affecting graduate students, such as important deadlines, social events, volunteer opportunities, and advocacy initiatives.

In the October 2020 issue you will learn about our Fall 2020 Wellness Week (Oct 13-17) and our #MySupportSystem Appreciation Day (Oct. 16), our new SOGS Household Donation Zone,  upcoming elections, virtual events, and more!

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook,  TwitterInstagram, theIGSIC Facebook page, our SOGS Advocacy page on our events calendar!

Read the newsletter and answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers!  

All links to external websites in this issue are live within the PDF document.

Congratulations to our September 2020 newsletter trivia winners: Dhruvika Angrish and Sahab Zandi ****Please come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your prize.

Quick link: https://tinyurl.com/SOGS-OCt2020-Newsletter

Update on Increases to International Graduate Student Tuition

Dear members;

The following update summarizes the ongoing work to further respond to concerns our international members have shared regarding tuition increases.

Dr. Siddiqui—Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Western Engineering—has kindly responded to a series of questions we shared with him around the decision to increase Masters of Engineering tuition 15% within one year. In summary:

  • The decision was part of a multi-year plan to bring Western’s tuition costs inline with comparable university programs.
  • Tuition estimates are shared with incoming students based on previous year costs. Engineering is working with SGS to improve this method.
  • The increase was decided before the pandemic hit, but the costs were maintained given the costs to adapt to online teaching environments.
  • Masters of Engineering is a self-funded program, so any additional funding/supports are managed through SGPS or other sources.

These additional details are underwhelming to say the least, but still appreciated for helping to identify service gaps to address. These responses have been shared with the Graduate Engineering Society in full to ensure transparency and to invite their thoughts on next steps.

Linda Miller has committed to following up with Glen Tigert, University Registrar, and Ruban Chelladurai, Associate VP (Planning, Budgeting & Information Technology), about how, and when, the additional funding Western committed in this year’s budget will be allocated to students.

Our ongoing and impending efforts on international students’ concerns are:

  • Reached out to Lise Laporte at Western international to ask about additional supports and future collaborations to address this issue;
  • Bringing a motion to Council to ensure any further efforts are completed with the weight of Council’s vote behind them;
  • Working with university contacts to try to get late fees waived for international students;
  • Working with our Committees and the Canadian Federation of Students to get a better sense of what other universities have been doing about tuition during COVID;
  • Working with the Canadian Federation of Students to identify additional opportunities for advocacy and escalation;
  • Reviewing our own processes to improve our ability to advocate promptly and proactively.

We’d like to once again offer our sympathies to our international members both for the frustrating situation they’re in, and for the time required to identify and implement appropriate responses.

In solidarity;

kirstyn seanor
SOGS President

September 2020 Newsletter

The Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students that keeps you informed about issues affecting graduate students, such as important deadlines, social events, volunteer opportunities, and advocacy initiatives.

In the September 2020 issue you will learn about our Fall 2020 Term orientation week events, the SOGS Ombudsperson by-election, and our new SOGS Donation Zone where community members can donate (“sell”) gently used household items to graduate students for a chance to win 1 of 2 $75 in gift cards to the Grad Club, and more! 

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook,  TwitterInstagram, theIGSIC Facebook page, our SOGS Advocacy page on our events calendar!

Read the newsletter and answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers!  

All links to external websites in this issue are live within the PDF document.

Congratulations to our August 2020 newsletter trivia winners: Diana Pham and Hema Sharma ****Please come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your prize.

Quick links:

President’s Report: Increase in International Graduate Student Tuition

Multiple students brought forward concerns about international tuition fees. Preliminary research has found that moderate tuition increases were approved for international master’s programs in the spring and Western University has decided to maintain these approved tuition commitments. A key exception is that the Master’s of Engineering degree was approved a 15% increase.
 
The response from the university has primarily been to emphasize that tuition rates are proposed by faculties. Additionally, the university has committed an additional $13.5 million of financial support through “needs-based bursaries, work-study opportunities, summer research opportunities, and residence accommodation subsidies.”
 
These responses remain frustrating given the precarity our international students face. These responses are, nonetheless, understandable given the complexity of university affairs and the number of units involved in budgeting processes.
 
We’ve identified the following next steps:
 
    • Reach out to Engineering to get additional information;
    • Collaborate with SGPS to promote, and improve, subsidies and bursaries;
    • Identify/research responses at other universities;
    • Advocate through governmental and student advocacy contacts (e.g. CFS); and,
    • Review, confirm, and strengthen our own supports.
Additional suggestions and/or concerns are welcome at president@sogs.ca.
 
If you would like to learn more, please see our attached preliminary report here.
 
In solidarity, 
 
kirstyn seanor
SOGS President
 

August 2020 Newsletter

The Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students that keeps you informed about issues affecting graduate students, such as important deadlines, social events, volunteer opportunities, and advocacy initiatives.

In the August 2020 issue you will learn about upcoming funding deadlines,  ongoing surveys, new resources, virtual events, and more. 

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

 All links to external websites in this issue are live within the PDF document.

Read the newsletter and answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers! 

Congratulations to our July 2020 newsletter trivia winners: Sarai Guererro and Laura K. D. Johnson. ****Please come to the SOGS office in the Fall term once we re-open to collect your prize.

Quick Link: https://tinyurl.com/August2020-Newsletter

July 2020 Newsletter

The Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students that keeps you informed about issues affecting graduate students, such as important deadlines, social events, volunteer opportunities, and advocacy initiatives.

In the July 2020 issue you will learn about the SOGS Presidential By-Election,  why and when it is taking place (Tuesday, July 14, 2020), and who is running to be the next leader of the Society. You will also learn about the call for nominations for our VP Finance by-election and Ombudsperson 2020-2021 election. This issue contains links to financial resources, virtual events, academic/support workshops, the new Grad Club patio menu, and more.

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

 All links to external websites in this issue are live within the PDF document.

Read the newsletter and answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers! 

Congratulations to our June 2020 newsletter trivia winners: Mabel Yuan and Sarah Babcock. ****Please come to the SOGS office to pick up your prize ($10 Grad Club gift voucher) once we re-open. 

Quick link: https://tinyurl.com/SOGS-July-Newsletter

June 2020 Newsletter

The Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students. The Update keeps you informed about issues affecting graduate students, such as important deadlines, social events, volunteer opportunities, and advocacy initiatives.

In the June 2020 issue you will learn about our Anti-Black Racism Statement issued in support of #BlackLivesMatter. In addition, you will learn about out Summer Orientation Week events, resources and supports, funding, as well as volunteering opportunities.

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

 All links to external websites in this issue are live within the PDF document.

Read the newsletter and answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers! 

Congratulations to our May 2020 newsletter trivia winners: Alexa Clerk and Atinuke Osunbunmi. ****Please come to the SOGS office to pick up your prize ($10 Grad Club gift voucher) once we re-open. 

Read the newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/SOGS-June2020-Newsletter

May 2020 Newsletter

The Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students. The Update keeps you informed about issues affecting graduate students, such as important deadlines, social events, volunteer opportunities, and advocacy initiatives.

In the May 2020 issue you will learn about the resources, support, and funding available in the Summer 2020 Term; the new SOGS 2020-2021 Executive Committee; and the SOGS 2019-2020 Annual Report. 

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

 All links to external websites in this issue are live within the PDF document.

Read the newsletter and answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers! 

Congratulations to our December newsletter trivia winners: Stephanie Pui Wai Wong and Kiriza Estranero. ****Please come to the SOGS office to pick up your prize ($10 Grad Club gift voucher) once we re-open. 

Quick links:

April 2020 Newsletter

The Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students. The Update keeps you informed about issues affecting graduate students, such as important deadlines, social events, volunteer opportunities, and advocacy initiatives.

In the April 2020 issue you will learn about the resources, support, and funding available to you in light of COVID-19. Read a letter to Western University from the SOGS Executive Committee regarding summer 2020 tuition. Additionally, SOGS VP positions (Academic, Advocacy, Finance, Student Services) are up for nomination and election for the 2020-2021 academic year. Read the edition to learn more!

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

 All links to external websites in this issue are live within the PDF document.

Read the newsletter and answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers! 

Congratulations to our December newsletter trivia winners: Sarah Babcock and Navjot Gill. Post-COVID-19 social distancing measures, and once the SOGS office is re-opened, please come to the SOGS office to pick up your prize.

Quick Links: https://tinyurl.com/SOGS-April-2020-Newsletter