March 2021 Newsletter

The SOGS Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students. Stay in the loop about important deadlines, social events, member services, volunteer opportunities, academic support, professional development, advocacy initiatives, and more!

Read the newsletter and WIN! Answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers!  Email your answer to sogs.communications@uwo.ca.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates sent to your WesternU inbox and on Facebook,  TwitterInstagram!

Congratulations to our February 2021 newsletter trivia winners: JULIE NORD and LORA YURDAKUL! You’ve both won the FEBRUARY 2021 newsletter trivia!

****Come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your $10 Grad Club gift card.

SOGS Declaration of Climate of Emergency

The Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) Declaration of Climate Emergency

Climate change poses an imminent, monumental threat to peoples’ livelihoods both on Western University’s campus and within the greater City of London community. Meanwhile, the ongoing collapse of biodiversity and loss of species here in Canada and abroad risks unprecedented devastation to the natural world. Continued environmental decline will leave behind a poorer, more fragile state of life on our planet for future generations: mass extinction will permanently reduce the capacity of our planet to grow food, to regenerate landscapes and to provide ecosystem services which we, and all other life depend on to survive. Today, it is still possible for humanity to prevent mass extinction by changing our behaviours.

The changes to our planet, being induced by anthropogenic climate crisis and biodiversity loss, disproportionately affect historically oppressed groups, who pay the greatest cost in food insecurity, loss of natural resources, and displacement. Continued inaction by governments and institutions to address the root causes of climate change and biodiversity loss constitutes unacceptable environmental injustice.

In accordance with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Paris Agreement and Production Gap Report, Western University signed the Sustainable Development Goals Accord Global Climate Letter. With their signature, Western pledged to perform the following actions by the year 2025:

  1. Mobilize more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation;
  2. Pledge to reach net-zero by 2030, or 2050 at the very latest;
  3. Increase the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curriculum, campus and community outreach programmes;
  4. Produce a plan on how they will achieve net-zero, with interim targets, and make this publicly available and update on an annual basis.

For Western University to stay true to their pledge to the SDG Accord, it must strive towards setting and meeting more ambitious sustainability targets.

In the Fall semester of 2020 the SOGS Sustainability Committee sent out a survey to all Western graduate students to collect information about their perceptions of sustainability issues involving SOGS, Western University, and the London community at large. The survey found that 90% of respondents feel anxious about their future because of climate change. Graduate students expressed overwhelming support for Western University to renew its commitment to environmental sustainability, with 90% of responses indicating Western should do more to address climate change and suggesting that Western should increase promotion of its existing sustainability programs on campus. In summary, the majority of SOGS members who completed the survey want Western to recognize climate change as an emergency (see Appendix X).

In keeping with similar efforts led by the Canadian Federation of Students’ Climate Justice and a Liveable Planet Campaign, University of British Columbia’s Climate Emergency Declaration, and

City of London’s Climate Emergency Declaration, the Sustainability Committee is calling on SOGS to demonstrate support for swift and ambitious climate actions within our Society and Western University by endorsing the present declaration that we are in a state of climate emergency.  This declaration is necessary (1) as a direct response to SOGS members’ concerns about climate change, (2) to refocus our institutional leadership’s priorities around the crisis we face, and (3) to stand in solidarity with the 2019 City of London climate emergency declaration. By endorsing this declaration, SOGS will prepare to support efforts on campus and within the community to address unprecedented societal challenges.

In declaring a climate emergency, SOGS recognizes:

  1. That climate change is an urgent, monumental threat that is of great concern to SOGS members.
  2. That the Society bears a responsibility to meet environmental concerns of its members with strategic actions.
  3. That as a public institution, Western University has a fundamental, ethical responsibility to become a leader in actively combating climate change through adaptation, mitigation, and resiliency both within and beyond its institutional boundaries.
  4. That given Western’s reputation as one of Canada’s most distinguished research institutions, the declaration is consistent with the university’s scientific integrity and academic rigour.
  5. That conserving natural features and biodiversity on Western’s campus grounds is of high importance to graduate students.

READ THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY DECLARATION  HERE.

February 2021 Newsletter

The SOGS Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students. Stay in the loop about important deadlines, social events, member services, volunteer opportunities, academic support, professional development, advocacy initiatives, and more!

Read the newsletter and WIN! Answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers!  Email your answer to sogs.communications@uwo.ca.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates sent to your WesternU inbox and on Facebook,  TwitterInstagram!

Congratulations to our January 2021 newsletter trivia winners: CAROLYNN WHITEHOUSE and STEPHANIE BROCKLEHURST 

****Come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your $10 Grad Club gift card once it is safe to due so.

January 2021 Newsletter

The SOGS Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students. Stay in the loop about important deadlines, social events, member services, volunteer opportunities, academic support, professional development, advocacy initiatives, and more!

Read the newsletter and WIN! Answer our monthly trivia question for a chance to win 1 of 2 $10 Grad Club gift vouchers!  Email your answer to sogs.communications@uwo.ca.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates sent to your WesternU inbox and on Facebook,  TwitterInstagram!

Congratulations to our December 2020 newsletter trivia winners: Shaela Khan and Xi Zhang ****Come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your $10 Grad Club gift card once it is safe to due so.

December 2020 Newsletter

The Update is the official monthly electronic newsletter from the Society of Graduate Students that keeps you informed about important deadlines, social events, member services, volunteer opportunities, academic support, professional development, advocacy initiatives, and more!

In the December 2020 issue  you will learn about what SOGS was up to last month and meet our new SOGS squad team members. Congratulations to Yousuf Hasan (VP Advocacy), Denise Kamyuka (Racial Equity & Inclusivity Commissioner), and Merna Seliman (Accessibility Commissioner) for winning recent elections at Council in November. We’ve got a ton of call-outs for involvement – conferences, committees, courses, and more! 

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

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

Congratulations to our November 2020 newsletter trivia winners: JONATHAN CHAN and BRENDAN SAMUELS ****Come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your $10 Grad Club gift card.

Quick link: https://tinyurl.com/SOGS-Dec2020-Newsletter 

SOGS Statement Regarding Harassment During the 2020 Presidential By-Election

Dear SOGS members, 

During the SOGS Presidential by-election this past summer, one member of the SOGS community failed to uphold the commitment to respect others outlined in our mission statement. In particular, this member sent several email messages to other members and Society officers that were variously intimidating, threatening and personally harassing. Although healthy debate and disagreement is encouraged at SOGS, these behaviours are clearly unwelcome and beyond what is appropriate. Please see a formal statement outlining SOGS’ response to this case of harassment.
 
Concerns about harassment can be directed to our Ombudsperson, Seth Kadish (ombudsperson@sogs.ca). Concerns about our harassment policies and procedures can be directed to our President, kirstyn seanor (president@sogs.ca).
 
Read the full statement HERE.

U15 Report

Graduate student societies (GSSs) from the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities informally met on November 10, 2020, to discuss how to coordinate federal advocacy initiatives relevant to graduate programs at research-intensive universities. This collaboration is loosely based on the Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities (UCRU).

Several common concerns have already been identified through our inaugural meeting, which include.

  • Challenges faced by international students still abroad
  • International student work permits and pathways to immigration in Canada
  • Mental health supports across cultural and linguistic groups
  • Tri-Council funding packages

President seanor is excited to be part of a sub-committee that will be coordinating to draft a letter to the federal government intending to:

1) draw attention to unique needs and contribution of graduate students,

2) highlight how the pandemic has impacted graduate students, and

3) outline solutions and actions for federal government to provide relief and support for graduate students.

Read the full report HERE.

November 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 November 2020 issue you will learn about our upcoming Structural Retreat (Nov 10, 12, 17, 19) open to all SOGS members, 2021 Wellness Research Forum (annual grad conference), and Graduate Peer Support themed drop-ins, and more. The positions of Vice-President Advocacy (by-election) and Indigenous Commissioner (VACANT) are up for election at November Council. See what new events, initiatives, and clubs SOGS has planned.

Between editions of the newsletter, you’ll find updates on Facebook,  TwitterInstagram, the IGSIC 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. Try clicking on text and images for hyperlinks.

Congratulations to our October 2020 newsletter trivia winners: MAHSHAD BERJIS and UJJOYINEE BARUA.  ****Please come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your prize.

Quick link:  https://tinyurl.com/SOGSNovNewsletter