Strategic Plan

In order to better plan the future of the Society, council approved the creation of a Strategic Plan Committee in 2022.

In the Fall 2023 Term, SOGS council voted on and passed the finalized SOGS 2023-28 STRATEGIC PLAN! Read the document here.

The SOGS Strategic Plan was overseen and drafted by the ad-hoc Strategic Planning Committee.

The aim of the committee is:

  • to take an environmental scan of similarly sized sister organizations in Canada, to better understand SOGS’ operational and governance strengths and weaknesses;
  • to gather feedback from members regarding their user experience of SOGS services and supports to better plan for the future;
  • to aid SOGS in becoming compliant with the Ontario Corporations Act for Not-for-Profits (ONCA) by 2024; and,
  • to set the strategic direction of the Society based on the values and priorities of our members.

The SOGS Strategic Plan Committee is comprised of:

  • SOGS Speaker (chair)
  • SOGS Deputy Speaker
  • SOGS President
  • Vice-President Finance
  • Vice-President Academic (executive-at-large)
  • SOGS Governance & Policy Manager (committee liaison)
  • SOGS Communications& Promotions Manager (staff member-at-large)
  • 3 councillors


Learn more about PHASE 1: Analysis

PHASE 1: Analysis (Where is SOGS right now?)

September 2022 – January 2023

In this phase, we: 

  • Conducted in-committee analyses of SOGS past and present (i.e., strengths, weaknesses, organizational structure, economic and social trends, etc.)
  • Conducted an Environment Scan, observing how SOGS compares to other graduate student associations in Canada.
  • Surveyed the SOGS membership (approx. 900 responses) to hear from our members about their experiences using (or not using) SOGS’ programs and services, as well as learn about the issues that matter most to them. 
  • Facilitated a Town Hall to engage with members about their experiences, as well as share results from the Strategic Plan Survey. 
  • Created the SOGS Strategic Plan webpage and Feedback Form. 


Learn more about PHASE 2: Future Planning

PHASE 2: Future Planning (Where does SOGS wish to go?)

January 2023 – April 2023

In this phase, we: 

  • Reviewed the data from the Environmental Scan and Strategic Plan Survey to clarify the programs, services, and issues that are most important to SOGS members. 
  • Developed a new Mission, Vision, and Value Statements that is reflective of member feedback and can guide SOGS into the future. 


To better understand our members, SOGS sent out a survey in December 2022 to all 6,986 graduate students at Western University. This survey asked a series of questions regarding member satisfaction pertaining to SOGS’ services, funding, benefits, volunteerism, and governance. In addition, the survey asked members what their priorities are for the future of SOGS and their institutional awareness of our services and supports. The survey was conducted via Qualtrix.


To better understand SOGS and its current operations, we gathered data on 24 graduate student associations in Canada, focusing primarily on sister organizations that are most similar to SOGS in terms of scale, membership, services, and operating budget. For example, we looked at student associations that had a membership of 2,000+ graduate students, were English-speaking, and were located at public universities.

Note: All financials and data are based on the the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Learn more about PHASE 3: Strategy

PHASE 3: Strategy (How does SOGS get there?)

March 2023 – July 2023

In this phase, we: 

  • Developed five Areas of Strategic Focus (Pillars) to base our Strategic Goals around. These pillars were established from the feedback given to us through the Strategic Plan Survey and Town Hall. 
  • Facilitated two phases of leadership consultations with our SOGS Leaders to help develop Strategic Goals and Potential Action Items that SOGS can include in the Strategic Plan to work to accomplish in the next few years:
    • Phase 1: SOGS Executive, Non-Executive, Committee Chairs (March 9 – 31, 2023)
    • Phase 2: SOGS Executive, Non-Executive, Committee Chairs, Councillors (May 29 – June 16, 2023)
  • Consulted with Commissions as part of our last rounds of consultation.
  • Created Strategic Goals and Potential Action Items to base the Strategic Plan around. These goals are the objectives SOGS aims to accomplish over the next five years. 

Learn more about PHASE 4: Compilation

PHASE 4: Compilation (Putting it all together)

July 2023 – October 2023

In this phase, we:

  • Finalized the draft Strategic Plan document.
  • Had the Strategic Plan document (mission, vision, values, goals) approved by SOGS Council (October 19, 2023).  
  • Made final revisions to the Strategic Plan document to begin publishing on SOGS media channels and share with campus partners. 




The Strategic Plan Committee met once per month. Committee minutes will be made available once they are ratified at council.

  • An Environment Scan of other Graduate Student Associations (2021-2022)
  • Strategic Plan Survey to SOGS Membership (December 2022-January 2023)
  • Membership Town Hall (January 2023)
  • Discussions with Western Administration (Winter 2023)
  • Feedback Form on SOGS Website (ongoing)
  • SOGS Leadership Consultations 
    • March 2023 (Executive, Non-Executive, Committee Chairs)
    • May-June 2023 (Executive, Non-Executive, Committee Chairs, Council)
  • Presentations at SOGS Council 
    • August 2022
    • October 2022
    • February 2023
    • September 2023)
  • Open Office Hours for SOGS Leadership
    • March 2023 (Executive, Non-Executive, Committee Chairs)
    • October 2023 (Executive, Non-Executive, Committee Chairs, Council)
  • Commissions Consultation (July 2023)
  • SOGS & Grad Club (management) Staff Consultation (August-September 2023)


To collectively advocate for and maintain graduate students’ academic, economic, and social interests.  


An elevated graduate student experience at Western University.


Accessible | Accountable | Actionable (Service-Driven) | Adaptable (Community-Focused) | Affordable | Approachable

Learn more about SOGS' Values

The Society of Graduate Students strives to be Accessible to all members. The Society endeavors to eliminate systemic barriers that prevent members from engaging with or accessing programs and services. The Society will work diligently to assess, advocate for, and support an inclusive and barrier-free campus. 

The Society of Graduate Students shall be Accountable to its members. We believe that all students have the right to know and have a say in how their student fees are used and be confident in the financial management of the organization. We will continue to be transparent with all decisions that impact the student experience of our members.

The Society of Graduate Students shall be member-driven in everything we do. We are committed to ensuring our policies, procedures, and strategies are Actionable, so that we may strive to consistently elevate the programs and services available to our members. 

The Society of Graduate Students shall be Adaptable to change. The organization will respond to emerging trends within the post-secondary environment in order to advocate for a high-quality student experience. We will prioritize responsibly structured outreach within our membership to understand the evolving needs of the campus community.

The Society of Graduate Students strives to remain Affordable for all members. We are committed to maintaining high-value services, while recognizing the financial realities of graduate student life on- and off-campus. We will continue to leverage our stakeholder relationships to ensure the financial needs of graduate students are prioritized.

The Society of Graduate Students shall be Approachable to all members. We will strive to promote and foster a culture of support and inclusivity, and create a safe, sustainable, and empowering environment within the Western community. 

Quality of (Grad) Life
  • Goal: Advocate for an Accessible SOGS and Western University
  • Goal: Keep Student Academics at the Forefront of Grad Life
  • Goal: Ensure Graduate Student Tuition and Ancillary Fees are Affordable
  • Goal: Ensure SOGS is a Sustainable Organization
Services & Support
  • Goal: Elevate Students from Equity Deserving Groups
  • Goal: Build Long-Term Financial Investments with Campus and Community Partners
  • Goal: Simplify the SOGS Bus Pass System
  • Goal: Enhance Current Services and Supports to Benefit More Students
Communication & Engagement
  • Goal: Expand Onboarding, Training, and Professional Development
  • Goal: Emphasize Education and Transparency
  • Goal: Revamp SOGS Programming
  • Goal: Enhance the SOGS Volunteer Experience
Community Outreach & Accountability
  • Goal: Elevate the International Student Experience
  • Goal: Advocate to Create Actionable Change on Campus
  • Goal: Remain Aware of Graduate Student Issues
Organizational Growth & Stability
  • Goal: Improve SOGS Council
  • Goal: Enhance the Grad Club Environment
  • Goal: Improve Productivity and Efficiency at the Grad Club
  • Goal: Increase Profitability at the Grad Club
  • Goal: Enhance SOGS’ Governance Structure
  • Goal: Reopen Dialogue with Western University Regarding the Grad Wing

In order to keep updating the actions (the projects tentatively laid out in our draft document) within the strategic plan as our membership changes, we need to gather even more feedback about your experience using our services and supports. The feedback collected will help direct how the Society will operate over the coming years, impacting our services, funding models, community outreach, and more.

Complete our FEEDBACK FORM.


Started in 1964, the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) represents the interests of 6,500+ master’s and doctoral students from 60+ programs at WesternU. SOGS is a democratic student union, advocacy organization, and student government that advocates for the interests of the majority of graduate students on campus, offering essential services (bus passhealth plan), financial aid (bursariessubsidiesscholarshipsfunds), social programming (Orientation WeekWellness Week), community support (commissionerspeer supportfood bank), and more!

If you’re unfamiliar with grad life at WesternU, SOGS also owns the Grad Club, an eatery and bar in Middlesex College! The Grad Club functions as a student service, events space, and community hang-out for grad student and faculty members.

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