April 2019 Newsletter


SOGS Update, the official monthly electronic newsletter from SOGS, keeps you up to date on issues and events affecting graduate students at Western University.

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

Newsletter Contents:

  • 2019 SOGS Vice-President Elections
  • We’re Hiring…Again! Job Opportunity with SOGS
  • Graduate Student Teaching Awards
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Support Programs
  • Changes to OHIP+
  • Events
  • The Grad Club
  • Academic Opportunities
  • Free Tax Filing
  • Volunteers Needed: SOGS Committee Call-Out 
  • Monthly Trivia

SOGS Vice-Presidential Elections

Want to be more involved with SOGS? Want to be an active member of the executive team? Want to give back to your peers and help make graduate student life at Western University the best it can be? At April council next month all Vice-President positions will be up for election! Elected candidates will take office on May 1, 2019. Executive positions are paid and run for 12-months (until April 30, 2020). To nominate yourself, email speaker@sogs.ca by April 16. 

Learn more about each Vice-President position here: sogs.ca/executive/. Not enough information? Email our current president, Mary Blake Rose at president@sogs.ca, and she will be happy to answer all of your questions. If you want position-specific information, email the current Vice-President corresponding to the position (see below).You can also pop in to the SOGS office (MC, rm 8) and the office staff will also be more than happy to talk with you about how SOGS.

The Vice President Academic (academic@sogs.ca) co-ordinates a number of academic programs and services offered by the Society, including the Western Research Forum, and the Graduate Student Teaching Awards. This VP also meets regularly with the School of Graduate & Postdoctoral Students, and with other university bodies, to discuss academic issues and concerns. The Academic Committee, Graduate Student Teaching Awards Committee, and the Gradcast Editorial Board operate in this VP’s portfolio.

The Vice President Advocacy (advocacy@sogs.ca) works with and oversees the SOGS Equity, Sustainability, Graduate Student Issues, and Graduate Peer Support committees. The VP Advocacy portfolio focuses on graduate student issues, equity concerns, accessibility and inclusivity and improved partnerships with campus and community partners, including the Canadian Federation of Students. This VP contributes to graduate student life by planning Graduate Student Wellness week in October with VP Student Services and oversees SOGS weekly Graduate Peer Support drop-in.

The Vice President Finance (finance@sogs.cahas primary oversight over the finances of the Society. This VP works with the Society’s Accounting Manager and external accountant to manage the Society’s finances and prepares the annual budget. This VP also oversees the operation of the Grad Club, our graduate student pub, and administers various financial aid programs. The Finance Committee, Grad Club Committee, and the Bursary and Subsidy Committee operate in this VP’s portfolio. 

The Vice President Student Services oversees the SOGS Health Plan, International Graduate Student Issues, and Orientation and Social committees. This VP contributes to graduate student life by planning fall orientation events, works with VP Advocacy to run Graduate Student Wellness week in October, and meets with Western stakeholders to improve graduate student services.

Job Opportunity at SOGS

Graduate Student Teaching Awards (GSTA):

Know a TA who went above and beyond this winter term? Maybe you are a TA and want to let your teaching supervisor/class know about this award?

The winter GSTA nomination survey is now open until May 10, 2019 at 11:59PM. Each year SOGS and SGPS honour the winners of the GSTA at a luncheon ceremony in the spring, and awards each winner a $500 cash prize and a GSTA certificate. More information here.

To nominate a Teaching Assistant, fill out this survey. More information about the GSTA here. Please note that this nomination process is open to students, faculty, and staff. SPREAD the WORD!

Funding Opportunities:

Applications for the 125th Scholarship are due on April 30 to the SOGS office in hard copy. Each year SOGS awards 2 Master’s students and 2 Doctoral students/candidates a $1,500 scholarship. This scholarship is based on academic merit, research excellence, community involvement, professional development AND financial need.  Note: This award is geared to students who do not or have very little funding – their funding must be less than the cost of their annual tuition. More information here.

Are you a grad student who is BEYOND the term of their funding? Do you need a little injection of money to help get you through?

SOGS and PSAC 610 offer the Thesis Completion Fund n an attempt to help “year-X” students who are in financial need. For example, if you are a PhD candidate in year 5 or higher, chances are you have no funding left and are paying tuition and ancillary fees out-of-pocket, which adds up and puts SOGS members further into debt.

Bring this application form to the SOGS office (MC room 8) by Friday, April 12 by 4pm. SOGS and PSAC are offering a total of 6 awards valued at $500 this term. This fund is one-time, meaning it is not something that is offered annually. More information here.

Did you present at a conference this year? Maybe you went out of town to do some thesis-related research? Apply to the SOGS Travel Subsidy and receive up to $500 to off-set the costs incurred. Fill out this application and bring it to the SOGS office by 4pm on April 30. Original receipts must be attached to the application.


  • If you are submitting original receipts to another source of funding (i.e., your department or faculty), make photocopies of those receipts and have the associated administrator stamp and sign those copies – SOGS wants to know what your total travel costs are.
  • If you flew on a plane or rode a train, be sure to provide SOGS with copies of your boarding passes.

Did you live outside of London to complete a mandatory professional placement this term? If so, apply to the SOGS Professional Placement subsidy. Fill out this application and letter confirming your placement. Attach original receipts (no per diems permitted) and bring it to the SOGS office by April 30 at 4pm.

Note: If you lived in London for your placement or commuted to the placement from London, SOGS will not consider your rent as a permitted expense.

If you have children in daycare, apply to the SOGS Childcare SubsidyApplications with original receipts must be brought in to the SOGS office (MC room 8) by 4pm on April 30. More information here.

Each term SOGS funds a number of bursaries, which help graduate students in need. To apply for the summer bursary (in May), login in to the SGPS student portal here. From there, fill out the online application. Be sure to answer all questions AND to write a short essay detailing why you are in need. ALL SOGS members are eligible to apply. Successful applicants will receive a $1,500 bursary, and will be notified by email after the closing of the application process.

This winter term SOGS funded $108,000 in bursaries, which were awarded to 72 SOGS members.

Support Programs:

If you are a SOGS member who is food insecure and NOT a TA, don’t go without. Instead, apply the SOGS Non-TA Food Bank. Application and more information can be found here. Fill out this application and email it to sogs.accounting@uwo.ca.

Congratulations to the SOGS Sustainability Committee for winning FIRST place in Western’s Ideas for Sustainability and the Environment competition this year! The winnings will help fund the project.

Their project, the Student Re-Use program will help all students on campus by creating an infrastructure with Western Sustainability to store and collect useable household items and clothing from students who are moving out of apartments and dorms near or on campus. Instead of throwing the items in the trash (or donating them to for-profit used stores), the Student Re-Use program will limit items going in the landfill and will give back to students in need. This initiative will offer students a space to not only drop off unwanted usable items, but to also collect any dropped off items for their own use, free of charge. The program will also offer transportation services on select days/times, in which we will assist in the collection of unwanted, donatable items from nearby student residencies.

The Student Re-Use program will operate as a pilot project this upcoming year. Stay tuned for more information!

Do you have a wellness-based event you’d like to throw for your peers in your department? Maybe you want to host a talk or fun even or even a cultural event. Apply to SOGS’ Wellness Joint Fund for financial support. SOGS can help by providing monies to pay for the event and help with logistical aspects of the event, such as: room bookings, graphic design, and advertising. Application and more information here.

When times get tough, you might not have anyone to help, but SOGS is here for its members. Take a loan up to a maximum of $1,000 interest-free. Fill out this application and bring it to the SOGS office (MC room 8) OR email it to sogs.accounting@uwo.ca.

Grad school is hard and SOGS is here to help and support you. If you need a ear or a shoulder, come to room 17 in Middlesex College every Tuesday from 5:30pm – 6:30pm. Trained Graduate Peer Support volunteers are here to talk and listen during these drop-in sessions. More information here.


Changes to OHIP+

Campus Events:

Want a cheap night out? Bring your friends to the Grad Club on April 5 for a snack and song-filled night of fun. Event information here.

Next Monday, April 8 is B.Y.O.C. Bring your craft/art projects to the Grad Club and enjoy socializing with other graduate student crafters. Event page here.

The Grad Club:

Wan to stay in the know about various events and lunch/dinner specials at the Grad Club? Like the Grad Club on Facebook.  follow it on Twitter. To learn more about the history, events, and menu of the Grad Club, visit its website here.


Every Tuesday is Trivia Night at the Grad Club AND $5 Steam Whistle pints!

David’s Tea is now being offered at the Grad Club!

Academic Opportunities:

2019 Worldviews on Media and Higher Education Conference

  • When: June 12-14, 2019
  • Where: Toronto, Canada
  • Topic: Democracy at risk? Reflecting on the future of higher education and media in a post-truth world.
  • Information/Registration: https://worldviewsconference.com/ 
  • The conference will bring together a diverse group of academics, students, higher education leaders, communications professionals, and journalists with a wide range of experiences, insights, and opinions. Through a series of keynote talks, panel discussions, interviews, and interactive exhibits, conference participants will focus on the challenges and opportunities presented by the democratization of higher education and the media, engage in an ongoing and lively exchange of ideas, and explore innovative possibilities for partnerships.

Represent Western as an International ACAC Western Conference Ambassador

This summer, Western will be welcoming the world to Canada as host of the International ACAC Conference and we are looking for a team of volunteers to help us ensure our guests have a truly incredible Canadian experience on our campus.

If you’ll be in London between July 7 and July 13 and have some time to volunteer, join us in showing international high school guidance counsellors and admissions professionals from around the world just how incredible our Western students, community and campus are.

Applications will be accepted until April 10: https://uwo.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9Rga0UNjxeCrP5X

The Office of Human Research Ethics wants your feedback!

Please complete this 5-minute anonymous online survey to help the office understand your experiences, needs, and suggestions here.

Income Tax Filing

To take advantage of this offer…

  1. Sign in to a new or existing UFile account for the current tax year.
  2. Enter your tuition fees and months at school and click NEXT.
  3. Locate the “Special offer” form in UFile’s left hand navigation. (You may need to scroll down the screen.)
  4. Enter the following Canadian Federation of Students “Free for Students” special offer code: CFS1981
  5. Click NEXT.
  6. Enter the rest of your tax information and then you can print or NETFILE your return whenever you are ready — free of charge!

Special code offer: CFS1981

Committee Member Call-Out

SOGS has an array of committees, all of which manage different aspects of SOGS outreach, advocacy, orientation, and student life in general.

The following committees are in need of new members:

  • Finance committee: Interested in how SOGS spends its money? Want to help prepare the annual budget? Email our VP Finance, Steven Janisse at finance@uwo.ca  to join or to for more information.
  • Grad Club committee: Love the Grad Club? Want to help direct the look, feel, and taste of theSOGS-owned restaurant, bar, and student hang spot? Join the Grad Club committee today! Email: finance@sogs.ca to join the committee or to get more information.
  • Policy committee: Interested in working on the maintenance and creation of SOGS policies? If you are interested, email the committee chair, April Morris, at amorri95@uwo.ca.
  • Subsidies and Bursaries committee: Want to help review SOGS funding applications? Want to better understand what SOGS does with a bulk of its budget every year? If you are interested in becoming a new member of this committee, email the chair, Michelle Wong at ywong252@uwo.ca.

Monthly Trivia

March trivia winners: Madison Bettle | Jiliang Li | Ben Corrigan

Please come to the SOGS office to pick-up your $10 Grad Club gift voucher.

April trivia question: How many bursaries did SOGS issue to its members in the winter term? What is the monetary value of all those bursaries? (Answer both questions, please.)

Email your answer to: sogs.communications@uwo.ca




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