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Are You Our Next VP University and Academic Affairs?

The GSS is looking to appoint a UBC graduate student to be VP University and Academic Affairs (VPUAA) for the 2021-2022 term via a special resolution at the October council meeting.

The VPUAA is responsible for, among other responsibilities:

  • Representing graduate students to campus partners, including the University Administration, Faculty Association, Graduate Council, and teaching assistants
  • Ensuring graduate student concerns on issues like funding, academic freedom, and equity are heard and that graduate students are represented in University decision making
  • Managing our Peer Support service to ensure grad students can get help dealing with problems they encounter

If you are the interested candidate, please write a brief introduction of yourself and outline the mission or vision you wish to accomplish while in the position. Kindly, send the email to the GSS President () and cc Admin Assistant () no later than October 18, 2021, at noon.

Appointment will be made at the GSS Council meeting on October 21.

GSS Council Summary – August 2021

Welcome to the summary of GSS Council on August 19, 2021.

Congratulations to our new Affiliated Organizations: Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Association, HLI Trainee Association, African Graduate Students (AfriGS) of Acadia, and Counselling Psychology Students Association.

Council this month was short and sweet, with no matters for decision.

The meeting began with one expedient matter: an overview of UBC’s Campus and Community Planning (C+CP)’s upcoming comprehensive campus-wide land use planning process (Campus Vision 2050) – Several staff from C+CP joined the GSS to raise awareness of their work, provide an overview of Campus Vision 2050, answer questions, and understand how the GSS would like to engage through this process.

Subsequently, there were several presentations for discussion, including a report on the House Finance Committee’s recommendations for the GSS to invest in mutual aid portfolios, a proposal by the Governance and Accountability Committee for splitting the FEOO position, and an update by the Strategic Planning Ad-Hoc Committee on the current draft of the 2022-2026 Strategic Plan.

As always, minutes will be available once approved on the GSS website for more details. The next meeting will be on Thursday, September 16, 2021 on Microsoft Teams. All graduate students are welcome to attend, and to join Council as departmental representatives! Contact and for details.

Written by Sophie Penniman

GSS Council Summary – July 2021

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Welcome to the summary of GSS Council on July 15, 2021.

Congratulations to our new Councillors: Bukola Mary Ibitoye (Nursing), and Davi Monticelli (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences) and new Affiliated Organizations: Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Student Society, Biomedical Engineering Graduate Association (re-affilated), and InterVarsity Graduate Student Fellowship (re-affiliated).

Council dealt efficiently with several important items:

  • The meeting began with two expedient matters: the first was an introduction to decolonization and indigenization in higher education by Dr. Sharon Stein from the Department of Educational Studies – Dr. Stein will be expanding on this topic in the upcoming July Council Retreat; the second was an annual consultation from the Alliance of BC Students on the issues that matter most to graduate students

  • The annual appointment of the Financial and Executive Oversight Officer took place with 2 candidates making it to Council for the vote, including the incumbent. The vote was the closest seen in many years, but eventually the incumbent was voted in – congratulations Tayo Olarewaju on another year as FEOO.

  • The Governance & Accountability Committee came back with recommendations on addressing issues with the mandates of the Services and Elections Committees. Council approved the option of expanding the Services mandate to include engagement matters, dissolving Elections Committee, and considering a more temporary option for administering elections each year. Further steps to achieve this are forthcoming.

Finally, there were several presentations for discussion, including a report on the recently completed internal audit of the GSS by Bakau Consulting; a mid-term review of committees’ SMART Goals; an update on the 2021-22 executives’ goals; and the regular monthly financial overview

As always, minutes will be available once approved on the GSS website for more details. The next meeting will be on Thursday, August 19, 2021 on Microsoft Teams. All graduate students are welcome to attend, and to join Council as departmental representatives! Contact and for details.

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Tayo Olarewaju: GSS Financial & Executive Oversight Officer Re-Appointed

The GSS is excited to announce the re-appointment of Tayo Olarewaju as your Financial and Executive Oversight Officer (FEOO).

Tayo Olarewaju is a Ph.D. candidate at Peter A. Allard School of Law who possesses law and business degrees. He was appointed to the position of FEOO last year, and this experience has enabled him to engage in improving the financial reporting structure and executive oversight at the GSS. 

In the 2021-2022 term, Tayo intends to complete various ongoing projects, such as discussions on executives’ work hours and honoraria, ways to prudently maximize returns from GSS funds, and finalizing necessary accounting policy documentation. He is also interested in assisting in filling gaps that he has become aware of in the past year (e.g. inadequate executive transition procedure).

Tayo’s term as FEOO will continue until August 2022. Please join us in congratulating Tayo on his re-appointment to the GSS Executive Team.

Thank you to the other candidates for their interest in serving the UBC graduate student community. We wish you all the best.

How GSS Has Served Grad Students: Annual Review 2019-2020

Have you ever wondered how your Graduate Student Society (GSS) have been representing and advocating on behalf of you and all graduate students at UBC Vancouver?

In 2019-2020, we focused our efforts in three key areas:

  1. Equity & Diversity: Re-affirmed our commitment to represent and champion students from diverse and marginalized backgrounds with active, equitable actions and policies
  2. Wellness: Engaged with multiple partners across and beyond campus to tackle the spectrum of problems that impact graduate student mental health
  3. Funding & Finance: Voiced the ongoing financial crises graduate students face, on multiple platforms and actively providing data-backed solutions to University administration and government officials.

Check out our GSS Annual Review 2019-2020 for all the highlights!

You Could Be Our Next Financial and Executive Oversight Officer

Do you want to build essential management and communication skills while meeting other grad students and expanding your network? We are looking for a UBC graduate student to join our student management team as the next Financial and Executive Oversight Officer (FEOO) who oversees the GSS’ budgets and finances.

This is a great opportunity to work closely with the elected GSS executives as the oversight officer. Term runs until August 2022.

What you will be Doing:

  • Report to Council on the financial situation of the Society on a monthly basis;
  • Prepare and present a complete budget and financial statements for the Society each trimester and ensure the completion of the Society budget process on schedule with House Finance Committee;
  • Chair the Executive Oversight Committee and complete all duties outlined in the Policy Manual;
  • Oversee audit of the financial records and books of accounts to be performed at the end of each fiscal year
  • Be responsible for the supervision of staff of the Society in financial matters and ensure the Society’s policy on Signing Authority is followed
  • Be responsible for the activities of the House ­Finance Committee;
  • Ensure the implementation of Bylaw 3.9 and Bylaw 11;
  • Provide six hours of office presence per week, excluding the time required for committee meetings pertaining to their duties; the time shall be used to perform other normal duties of the position
  • Report to Council on a regular basis, work collaboratively with the Executive Committee, and perform such other duties as directed by Council or the membership.

How to Apply:

If you are the interested candidate, please send an email to the GSS President () and cc Admin Assistant () no later than July 12, 2021, at noon.

Appointment will be made at the next GSS Council meeting on July 15.

About the GSS

The GSS (Graduate Student Society) serves the 10,000 graduate students at UBC Vancouver, helping them have the best experience possible during their studies. We connect graduate students with campus resources, opportunities, and social events. We provide everything from individual support for students, to advocacy at provincial and federal levels on the most important issues graduate students face. The GSS is located at Thea Koerner House, which has been the center of graduate student life on campus since it was opened in 1962.

Ensuring an inclusive and diverse workplace is a key value of the GSS. We welcome people of diverse backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives, and are proud to promote a supportive work environment.

Come, be a part of the GSS.

GSS Council Summary – June 2021

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Welcome to the summary of GSS Council on June 20, 2021.

Congratulations to our new Councillor: Desiree Fiaccabrino (Chemistry) and new Affiliated Organizations: Graduate Consulting and Business Network and Microbiology and Immunology Graduate Student Society.

Council this month saw several major matters that carried it far into the evening:

  • The meeting began with an expedient matter: a presentation from the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights group at UBC calling for the GSS to support and act on this urgent global matter; the Council pledged its support and the Academic & External Affairs Committee together with the VP External will continue the relationship

  • Following the resignation of the newly-elected VP University and Academic Affairs, Council decided to appoint an interim VPUAA while a by-election is being prepared; 3 interested candidates participated in the election and Council voted in Yundi Wang as our newest VPUAA! We hope our students will join us in welcome Yundi to this vital role as advocate in many important campus spaces

  • Council had an engaged discussion about the current state of Human Resources at the society, eventually voting in favour of the President hiring a contract HR position to address staff needs since the HR Committee chair position remains vacant and there is potential for greater changes to HR personnel structure at the Society

  • Discussion on the proposed 2022-2026 Strategic Plan themes continued after being postponed last month, and Council voted in favour of the themes “Graduate Student Experience”, “Resilience”, and “Our Society”

Finally, Council heard presentations from GSS staff about the GSS Archives project being started this summer; an update on the renovation of the Thea Koerner House and creation of the Graduate Life Centre; and the monthly financial overview.

As always, minutes will be available once approved on the GSS website for more details. The next meeting will be on Thursday, June 17, 2021. All graduate students are welcome to attend, and to join Council as departmental representatives! Contact and for details.

Written by Victoria Gomez[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

We’re Hiring! Advocacy Coordinator

Be the support to fellow graduate students who encounter academic, social, or personal issues! We’re hiring for an Advocacy Coordinator.

As part of the Graduate Student Society (GSS), our Advocacy Coordinators support individual UBC graduate students that encounter academic, social, or personal issues. In addition to directly advocating on behalf of these students, advocacy coordinators work to connect students with campus resources that can provide the appropriate assistance to students.

In addition, this role will play an important part in the GSS’s work to develop resources and training for graduate students that focus on sexual assault prevention and encourage a culture of consent. The GSS represents the 10,000 UBC graduate students. Our staff and executives get graduate students talking about important issues and inspire them to enjoy an active and balanced campus life.

The Advocacy Coordinators report to the GSS VP University and Academic Affairs in their role as advocates and to the General Manager as employees of the GSS.


ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Provide support to UBC graduate students engaged in disciplinary proceedings and provide assistance to UBC graduate students as requested who are engaged in appeal procedures
  • Provide appropriate referrals to various campus and non-campus resources in support of UBC graduate students.
  • Establish and maintain collaborative relationships with other stakeholders on campus, including SVPRO, SASC, Equity and Inclusion office AMS Advocacy, focusing on sexual assault prevention with the goal to centralize educational efforts for students
  • Assisting with VP Academic and University Affairs to organize events/workshops to train graduate students on related topics (e.g., increase awareness of culture of consent)
  • Work to increase graduate students’ awareness about inclusive work environments, respectful dialogue on campus for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities
  • Attends all mandatory training as determined by the GSS VP University and Academic Affairs and the GSS General Manager.
  • Maintain detailed records regarding each student case
  • Write an annual transition report on the advocacy activities and present the report at the annual GSS AGM

QUALIFICATIONS

  • A UBC graduate student preferred with a passion to advocate for the benefit of graduate students
    • Excellent team player and self-motivated learner
    • Strong time management and project coordination skills
    • Strong written and verbal communication skills
    • Excellent Attention to detail
    • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision
    • Education and/or experience in student counseling or a minimum of one year’s experience in a similar position would be desirable
    • Knowledge of PIPPA or FIPPA regulations and experience applying such regulations would be an asset

TRAINING AND ORIENTATION

  • The student will receive an Orientation to the work of the GSS from the Office Manager covering areas like the structure of the team, function of the society as well as practical areas like health and safety.
  • Advocacy Coordinators must attend several mandatory training sessions to familiarise them with
  • Government regulations (FIPPA/PIPPA) to maintain client confidentiality
    •To ensure files and communications regarding student cases and interactions are kept secure and confidential.
  • Ongoing training and supervision are provided by the VP Academic and University Affairs

NETWORKING AND MENTORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

  • Experience working in a communications environment, meeting those involved in making student policies on campus and gathering knowledge from professional staff.
  • Working with graduate student executives. An opportunity to understand more about their work and how student run societies operate
  • Interacting with other stakeholders on campus, including SVPRO, SASC, Equity and Inclusion office and AMS Advocacy.
  • General career mentorship from the VP Academic and University Affairs in areas such as: interacting successfully with staff and faculty, developing a portfolio, and advice about future job applications.

SUPPORT AND EVALUATION

  • The student will work in the same office as the VP Academic and University Affairs and communication, questions, ideas and suggestions are encouraged. They are an essential part of a good team.
  • Weekly opportunities to meet briefly one on one with supervisor to discuss performance.
  • At the end of the period and possibly after the completion of individual projects there will be a general debrief about the role. This is an opportunity discussion, suggestions for improvements and recognition of successes.

WORKPLACE SKILLS AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

For students interested in working in counselling, teaching or educational administration, the experience of working to support graduate students at UBC dealing with personal or professional problems is invaluable. This work provides hands on experience that relates directly to real world jobs.

By the end of the work term, the Advocacy Coordinator will have gained:

  • Experience of working in a professional office environment, serving the needs of graduate students
  • Hands on experience of negotiating and advocating for graduate students tactfully and professionally
  • A better understanding of the issues facing graduate student on campus and knowledge of the services available to graduate students
  • Enhanced communication skills. Working on cases will enhance their listening skills and ability to communicate ideas clearly.
  • Increased confidence in leadership skills by taking the initiative on advising and negotiating solutions for student clients with partners on campus
  • Effective time management skills by managing deadlines and learning how to prioritize urgent items.
  • The ability to connect with graduate students and to understand how to communicate as an advisor and mentor

Salary / Wage
18.04
Hours Per Week
8

HOW TO APPLY

Apply at Careersonline 
• Application deadline: July 6, 2021.

We thank all candidates in advance for their interests in the position. However, only those selected for interviews will be contacted. No phone calls or follow-up emails, please.

GSS VP University & Academic Affairs Appointment: Yundi Wang

The GSS is excited to announce the appointment of Yundi Wang as the new VP University and Academic Affairs.

Yundi is a third-year Neuroscience PhD candidate and an active volunteer in the UBC community. Some of her goals for her term include:

  1. Continuing the advocacy work on equitable tuition consultation and increased funding and scholarship/bursaries opportunities
  2. Opening up discussions surrounding an equitable and safe transition to campus reopening and onwards
  3. Exploring equitable and accessible models of higher education for current and future graduate students

Yundi’s term as VPUAA will start immediately. Please join us in welcoming Yundi to the GSS Executive Team.

Thank you to the other candidates for their interest in serving the UBC graduate student community. We wish you all the best.

GSS Letter on the Mass Grave of 215 Children at Kamloops Residential School and UBC Honorary Degree to John O’Grady

Dear Members of the UBC GSS community,

On May 27th, 215 Indigenous children were found buried at the site of the former Kamloops Residential School in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation territory. This school was one of the largest institutions in Canada’s residential school systems and was opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890. In 1969, the federal government overtook the operation from the church to operate as a day school until it closed in 1978. This discovery continues to be devastating for Indigenous peoples and for non-Indigenous people of Turtle Island. It is believed that these children’s deaths were undocumented and are part of the other missing and murdered Indigenous women and children across the nation.

The GSS is run by and for the graduate students at UBC Vancouver, which includes members of all backgrounds and identities. Our fellow Indigenous students are valued community members and it is our responsibility to provide and protect safe and inclusive environments on campus and in virtual spaces. While the University has stated that there is an “aware[ness] of the community concerns relating to the honorary degree,” and that the “issues raised are deeply upsetting,” this response does not feel appropriate for this level of devastation. It is the responsibility of all UBC staff, faculty, associates, students and community members to ensure that we are using the language that emphasizes the gravity of the situation. At the GSS, we refuse to accept delayed responses to this matter and we will push for reconciliation in accordance with the consultation of Indigenous UBC community members.

Therefore, in the spirit of true reconciliation with our Indigenous community, the UBC GSS would like to call upon the Vancouver Senate Tributes Committee to revoke the 1986 honorary degree conferred to John O’Grady, who was principal at the Kamloops Residential School from 1939 to 1952, and for the University to consult with Indigenous UBC community members to address their needs, concerns and desires. We at the GSS offer our sincerest apologies and stand with Indigenous families and communities across the nation. Furthermore, we would like to also call for further investigations into all honorary degrees conferred by UBCV and UBCO to current and past recipients in order for the University to commit to the accountability and responsibility needed for creating and sustaining safe, inclusive, and equitable communities.

It is difficult to begin to understand how our students have been adversely affected by the recent news. However, the GSS believes that the patriarchal and colonial systems that underlie the university institution must be approached through decolonization, beginning with consultation of Indigenous communities across Canada. The GSS is committed to decolonization and reconciliation through our work, support, and service to the UBC community and broader society.

Sincerely, 
Graduate Student Society of UBC Vancouver

Photo credit: Global News

Study Room, Thea Koerner House, UBC

GSS Loft, Rm. 4202 of AMS Student Nest, UBC

Leon’s Lounge, Thea Koerner House, UBC

Thea’s Lounge, Thea Koerner House, UBC

Penthouse, Thea Koerner House, UBC