January 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 Presidential Election
  • Winter Bus Pass Schedule
  • SOGS Health Plan: Opt-in/Opt-out
  • Social Events
  • Academic Opportunities
  • Support Programs
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Campus Initiatives
  • Campus Events: International Students
  • SOGS Committees
  • Monthly Trivia


Presidential Election – 2019

Attention graduate students! 
Are you a strong leader? Are you passionate about graduate student issues? Are you looking to make a difference at Western?

                                                                                                                                          Nominate yourself to be the 2019-2020 President of the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS). For more information about the position, check out SOGS Bylaws 1.6.2., 2.1.1., and 2.1.2 in our Bylaws & Constitution. Please also consider contacting the current President (president@sogs.ca) and/or the Executive (executive@sogs.ca) to learn about the current projects and personal experiences involved with running SOGS. All SOGS members are eligible to be nominated.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
We will only accept nominations between Monday, January 7, 2019 and Friday, January 18, 2019 at 4pm. Nomination forms  must be obtained from and submitted in writing to the SOGS office (Middlesex College, room 8). A complete form requires two (2) signatures of two (2) full or associate SOGS members (see Bylaw
If you have any questions, please send all inquiries to sogscro@gmail.com.

Winter 2019 Bus Passes

If you are a student who has a new WesternONE tap card (made fall 2016 onwards), please disregard this bus pass distribution schedule.

If you are a student with an OLD Western student ID or are a visiting student, please come to the SOGS office (MC room 8) to pick up your paper pass. Visiting students will fill out a form and pay a cash fee for the term pass.

SOGS Health Plan: Opt-in/Opt-out

Health Plan Opt-In/Opt-out deadline this term is January 31, 2019. For more information about the SOGS health plan, visit our website or Studentcare’s website.

If you are a new, full-time graduate student and you would like to opt-in family members (spouse and/or children) to the plan or  you’d like to opt-out of the plan (because you already have an equivalent policy from a spouse, parent or employer),  do so here.

If you are a new part-time student or post-doctoral scholar/fellow, and you would like to opt-in to the SOGS health plan, you must submit this form to the SOGS office with payment by January 31, 2019.

Social Events

Love to dance? Want a cheap night out? The SOGS Orientation & Social committee is hosting the Snowball Dance at the Grad Club on Friday, January 18, 2019. Dance music from 8-11pm. FREE event for all. Some snacks and appetizers will be provided. More information here.

Bring your crafts and art projects to the Grad Club on January 14, 2019. Meet new friends and finish that creative project you’ve been working on (for far too long). Event is free. More information about the BYOC schedule here.


Join us at the Grad Club every Tuesday evening for weekly trivia. Winning teams get Grad Club vouchers as prizes! Come early to get a good seat.


Academic Opportunities

Learn more about the annual Western Research Forum here. If you are interested in presenting a poster or a short talk about your graduate-level research, sign-up here.

Do you know an amazing TA that went above and beyond in the fall 2018 term? If so, consider nominating them for a Graduate Student Teaching Award. Winners are selected in the Spring 2019 term, and are awarded a $500 cash prize. Students, staff, and faculty may nominate graduate student teaching assistants. More information here. Fill out our nomination survey here. Nomination survey closes January 15, 11:59pm.

The Graduate Student Internship Program is a new experiential learning initiative that allows students in research-based graduate programs to enhance their employability, expand their networks, and explore potential careers through paid internships. Western is one of the few universities in Ontario that offers a Graduate Student Internship Program specifically for research-based graduate students.

To be eligible, students must be domestic students registered in a research-based program which does not include a mandatory internship, co-op, practicum, or placement component. Applicants must submit a signed Document of Support along with each application.

Questions? You can connect with us:


Are you a PhD student/candidate at Western? If so, consider helping Dr. Natalia Lapshina, Faculty of Education (nlapshin@uwo.ca) by filling out this survey. The goal is to better understand PhD-supervisor relationships at Western and gather critical data to help future PhDs on campus. Your information and responses are anonymous and confidential. Raw data will NOT be shared with or released to university administration or departments.

Attention Western University graduate students!

Inspiring Diversity in STEM is looking for motivated and passionate advocates for diversity in STEM to lead the 3rd biennial Inspiring Diversity in STEM Conference in March 2020! 

The IDSTEM Conference was started to engage, empower, and inspire students who wish to pursue academic or industry careers in a STEM-related field. Our past conferences have seen upwards of 200 attendees, and feature keynote speakers, an expert panel, an undergraduate poster competition, a graduate student research expo, and an industry expo with Ontario companies looking to hire STEM degree holders. 

We’re looking for a new team to lead our 2020 conference. Students at all degree stages are welcome to apply. Applications are now open and will close on January 18, 2019. All open positions are described in the application form. 

Apply here!

Email the IDSTEM team at inspiringdiversityinstem@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Sincerely, Ramina Adam, Nicolette Noonan, and Avital Sternin, Inspiring Diversity in STEM Co-chairs

Support Programs

If DO NOT have a TAship this year and are food insecure at the moment, think about applying to the SOGS Food Bank Program. If you are a TA and are food insecure please refer to the PSAC 610 website here. SOGS members are eligible to apply once per semester and receive up to $75 per applicant PLUS $25 for each dependant. Fill out the application form and bring it into the SOGS office or email sogs.accounting@uwo.ca.

Have a wellness-focused event you’d like to plan for your department or graduate association? Apply to the Wellness Joint Fund today! This program offers funding for wellness events subsidized/paid for by SOGS, SGPS, and Western Student Experience. Email your application to advocacy@sogs.ca.

The SOGS Emergency Loan Program is designed to help SOGS members who are experiencing a short-term financial insecurity. Small, interest free  loans up to $1000 can be provided to SOGS members. Note: Your Graduate Program Coordinator, supervisor or Department Chair will have to sign-off on the form AND you are required to provide SOGS with post-dated cheques  before the loan is released. Please talk to the SOGS office staff if you have questions or need help.

Funding Opportunities

Are you a graduate student enrolled in PART-TIME studies, and are balancing family commitments and community involvement? If that’s you, consider applying. Write an essay (250 words maximum) that outlines how you deal with the school-work-life balance and email it to academic@sogs.ca by February 12, 2019 by 11:59PM. (There is no application for this award.)

Value: 2 at $1000 each, based on the essay

Visit the SOGS website for more information about our bursaries and subsidies and awards. please visit the SOGS website here.

For more information about the SOGS bursaries, visit our website. Apply to the bursary via the SGPS graduate student portal.

SOGS Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund (OSOTF) Bursary – valued at $1500 each. These bursaries are awarded to students from Ontario with demonstrated financial need.

SOGS Out of Province/Country (OOP) Bursary –  valued at $1500 each. These bursaries are awarded to students from outside Ontario with demonstrated financial need.

Campus Initiatives:

Weldon Library wants your feedback regarding the upcoming renovation. Do you want a say in how the Western’s main library is designed? If so, fill out this survey and enter to win prizes! Fill out the survey here.

Western’s Ideas for Sustainability and the Environment (WISE) Competition was established in 2014 to foster innovative and high-impact ideas that reduce or eliminate today’s most pressing environmental concerns. The aim of the competition is to generate ideas and initiatives among Western’s students around the topic of sustainability, and officially recognize the winning ideas.

Proposals will be reviewed by a selection committee, and finalists within each competition will be invited to pitch their idea to the committee in a brief oral presentation. The competition is open to individuals and teams of two or three. The grand prize for the winning proposal within each competition will be $1,500.

Submit your great idea to WISE here. Submission deadline: January 13, 2019.

More information here.

Campus Events: International Students

Want to practice your English? Join the IESC for their English Conversation Program. English Conversation sessions last 2 hours, once per week, for 8 weeks each term. Circles are held at various locations on campus. Participants are matched in circles of 4 – 9 people based on the session time they register for. More information here. Register here.

If you are an international student, consider attending the IESC’s winter tern Potluck dinner THIS Friday, January 11, 2019. More information. Register here.

SOGS Committees

Didn’t get a chance to listen to Gradcast before the holidays?

Gradcast December episodes (available here)

Ep195: Knockin’ on Truth’s Door – Marie Gueguen discusses opposing ideas in science, and how to arrive at informed decisions with hosts Roger and Greg.

Ep196: Heads Up! – Kinesiology student Justin Smith tells Gradcast hosts Greg and Ariel about changes in cognitive function in kids after playing football.
Ep197: Caffeine or No Caffeine… – Kinesiology student Anisa Morava shares the link between exercise, caffeine and memory to hosts Joyla and Greg!
SPECIAL EPISODE: Greg Goes to Grad School! – New Gradcast host Greg Robinson talks about his grad school experience and current research in Physiology and Pharmacology, hosted by Taniya and Joyla.
SPECIAL EPISODE: Time to Track AIDS – Even newer Gradcast host Connor Chato from the Pathology department is invited to talk about his research using algorithms to detect AIDS. Hosted by Taniya and Gavin.

If you want to share your graduate research with the Western community and beyond, get in touch with Gradcast.

SOGS Monthly Trivia

December Trivia Winners: Victoria Jaremek | Farzin Sarvaramini | Sarah Babcock

Please come to the SOGS office with your student ID to pick up your Grad Club gift voucher!

January trivia question: What is the name of the person associated with the SOGS memorial award listed in this month’s newsletter?

Email sogs.communications@uwo.ca your answer.

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