Over the years, SOGS has evolved, growing in membership and expanding its services and benefits to consistently enhance graduate student quality of life at Western University. Started in 1963, SOGS was initially a social club that hosted a weekly pub night in the attic of Somerville House. Today, SOGS is so much more; it is a student government, an advocacy organization, and a student union.
SOGS is a democratic student government that entrusts elected Executive Officers and Council members with running the Society’s day-to-day and long-term affairs. SOGS Council represents all faculties and departments at Western University. SOGS is accountable to its membership.
As a not-for-profit organization, SOGS negotiates and operates core services, such as the graduate student health & dental plan and bus pass program. It also engages in advocacy initiatives in order to ensure the best #GradLifeWesternU possible.
Historically, SOGS has always been an advocate, representing graduate student interests on- and off- campus, working with local, government, and university officials. To ensure SOGS advocates for its diverse membership, SOGS Commissioners (Accessibility, Gender Concerns’, Indigenous, Pride, and Racial Equity and Inclusivity) connect with the specific constituency groups to bring issues and concerns about contemporary graduate student life to the forefront.
While not a labour union in its own right, SOGS collects membership dues from over 6,000 graduate students each year, advocating for and representing the interests of thousands of Master’s and PhD students at Western University.
In addition, SOGS joined the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), Canada’s largest student union and advocacy organization, as Local 47 in the 1980s. By paying CFS dues, SOGS members have a voice and collective representation at the national and provincial levels of policy and advocacy work. SOGS stands in solidarity with 63 other student associations in Canada!
In addition to its role at CFS, SOGS not only works with its sister organizations, PSAC 610 (TA union) and the University Students’ Council (USC; represents undergraduates) in order to better student life on campus, it also supports unionized labour and union-made goods.
What is #GradLifeWesternU?
Action. Support. Community.
SOGS endeavours to represent graduate student interests on campus and create a safe, supportive, and active community for all members. In order to bring graduate students together from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds, SOGS hosts many subsidized social events throughout the year, often at the Grad Club.
SOGS also has a wide-variety of ways you can actively get involved and represent your interests on campus, such as:
- joining one of its many committees,
- becoming a councillor, and/or
- being elected as an executive or non-executive officer