The GSS Office is open. For COVID-19 pandemic updates and support information for UBC graduate students, click here

The best things about GSS 

There are 10000 graduate students at UBC Vancouver, who form the Graduate Student Society (GSS). GSS defends and promotes the interests of its members academically, socially, and culturally. Since it opened in 1962, Thea Koerner House has been the center of graduate student life on campus. The society’s executive team of five graduate students works with the council, committees, and staff to facilitate connections among graduate students and the university, the government, and the university. We have so many things to be proud of, and now it’s our turn to tell you about them.  

1. Relentless advocacy  

Undergraduate Graduate Students at UBC Vancouver are represented by the Graduate Student Society, which advocates for them to the University, the Government, and the general public. In addition to providing academic, professional, social, and recreational services, we serve as trustees of the Graduate Student Centre at Thea Koerner House. 

2. Peer support  

Grad school can be overwhelming, which is why the GSS offers Peer Support. Through this program, Peer Support Specialists are available to provide students with support, information, resources, and representation. As it is important that hard working graduate students are not left stranded to feel alone, the GSS works hard to ensure that our graduate students are well provided for and well catered to. 

Graduate students providing individual support to students experiencing difficulties are called peer support specialists. In addition to providing information on and facilitation of access to university resources, they will ensure that your concerns are handled fairly and in a timely fashion.  

3. Financial aid  

Financial aid for graduate students at the Vancouver campus experiencing unforeseen circumstances is provided by the Graduate Student Financial Aid program (GSFA), which is administered by GSS.  

Expenses that are incurred directly as a result of unforeseen circumstances may be covered by the fund, including, but not limited to:  

  • Expenses for living and rent  
  • Non-covered prescription medications under MSP, Pharmacare, and AMS/GSS health and dental insurance  
  • Expenses related to moving  
  • Fee for UBC Leaves of Absence    

4. AMS/GSS health and dental plan

The AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan gives extensive health and dental coverage, particularly made for graduate students to cover most fees not taken into account by regular health care. This plan handles very important amenities such as prescription drugs, dental care, travel health coverage, vision care, and much more. 

5. Elected leadership  

The GSS is led by our passionate and friendly executives, working tirelessly to give our graduate students a flawless experience at UBC and in our society. Each executive is specially elected by members of our own society, so they always have graduate students’ best interests at heart. Moreover, the executives are typically graduate students themselves who work together to serve the interests of graduate students, launch initiatives, and be the voice of all graduate students here at UBC. 

Must take photos during your time on campus (get exploring) 

Whether you live for the perfect Vancouver photo to highlight on your gorgeous Instagram feed or are a photographer looking for interesting spots in the area for amazing shoots, UBC (University of British Columbia) campus has something for everyone. There are countless hot spots to take perfect selfies, landscape shots and much more on its vast grounds. Without further ado, here are a few places one must abide by at UBC. 

1. Main Mall  

You will have to wait till the leaves change to red and yellow in the fall to produce a carpet along the bustling walks of Main Mall for a shot there. With a photograph of this important location, you can undoubtedly capture the soul of UBC. Even in the summer, the Main Mall is lovely, with luscious trees under the sun beaming brightly. Find a quiet spot to take it all in and get the whole experience of October in Vancouver. 

2. Wreck Beach  

From sunny picnic days to dramatic sunsets and bonfires, UBC students love this backyard beach. This location is especially magical for your Instagram account on days when the sun illuminates the heavens in every shade of pink and orange. Pose your models against the rocky shores or use the ocean as a backdrop as you explore deeper down the beach. Alternatively, take a quick landscape shot of the water and sky. 

3. Nitobe Gardens  

These lovely gardens are tranquil, calm, and picture-perfect. The lush greens of the mossy ground and the gently swaying trees make this a true hidden treasure on the UBC campus. Make sure to bring your camera along to capture the beauty of the Nitobe Gardens, whether you are going there to relax and breathe between sessions or take a walk through the verdant grounds.  

4. The Pharmacy Building  

This location is aesthetically attractive in an unexpected way. The design of the Pharmacy Building creates a fascinating backdrop, and the grey tone is ideal for adding bursts of color in the foreground. Use a broader angle to capture the entire structure in its astounding cubist proportions or take some basic yet eye-catching selfies. 

5. Irving K. Barber Library  

The façade of IKB is stunning, even though the chances of obtaining a fantastic image at a place we are wary of during the exam period are few. The stone edifice is similar to an antique church or something dark academia reminiscent. Sit on the stairs and take a picture with this incredible structure as your stunning backdrop or do some simple architectural photography. Either way, you cannot go wrong with a shot at this spot. 


6. The Rose Garden  

The Rose Garden is a beautiful place to visit. A famous location for lovely photographs, especially in the summer when the roses are in full bloom and come in a rainbow of colors. The Rose Garden is notably busy around graduate festivities and campus tours, but it is a small piece of heaven if you can find a peaceful moment throughout the week. Take a shot with the multicolored blossoms against a blue sky as your incredible backdrop. 

In honor of Nutrition Month, spice up your diet!

How we all eat is influenced by our cultures and food traditions. No matter what traditional practices we follow, whether eating from a bowl or right of a full plate or being curious about the cultural foods we consume, they all ultimately influence our nutritional needs. Hence, March being Nutrition Month is vital because it is a time to honour the countless foods and cultural dishes we eat and our hardworking dieticians. A healthier future requires various ingredients that dietitians explore during Nutrition Month. As well as components that can positively affect one’s health, there are significant changes like recommended eating schedules that can be implemented for the masses, not just now but also in the future. Dietitians also explore food sovereignty, food justice, food policy, and combating misinformation about our foods, eating habits, etc.
So with Nutrition Month in full force, we urge you to do something different with your diet. Embark on a new tasty journey and try some other culturally delicious dishes. Here is a list of some to enjoy:


1. Feijoada
BRAZIL
In addition to former Portuguese colonies such as Macau, Mozambique, and Angola, this dish originated in Portugal. The stew is made with beef, pork, garlic, onions, and bay leaves and is traditionally eaten on Saturdays. However, pace yourself as it is quite a heavy meal.


2. Borscht
UKRAINE
This soup is famous in Eastern and Central Europe and originated in Ukraine. The main ingredient in borscht is beetroot and stock and sauteed vegetables. It may be served hot or cold, so it’s perfect as low stress and quick meal.


3. Goi Cuon
VIETNAM
These delicious spring rolls include prawns, pork, rice noodles, and vegetables wrapped in rice paper. They are typically eaten by dipping them in a spicy chili sauce mixture.


4. Paneer Butter Masala
INDIA
Indian subcontinental cheese called paneer can be paired perfectly with butter masala, a tomato-based sauce rich in creaminess and spices. You can have either rice or flatbread as an aside with this dish.


5. Paella
SPAIN
It is a notable Spanish dish and is well known globally. It is cooked with chicken and seafood, but sometimes vegetarian renditions are available. Its title is inspired by the Latin word patella, roughly translating to the phrase “frying pan” in English.


6. Bacalhau
PORTUGAL
Bacalhau is Portuguese for cod. It consists of potatoes; however, garnishings such as parsley, hard-boiled eggs and olives are also included.


7. Bunny Chow
SOUTH AFRICA
Hollowed-out bread stuffed with curry forms the basis of this South African tasty dish. Migrant Indian workers discovered that bread was a convenient way to transport curries between sugar cane plantations and their homes. And thus, this meal was born.


8. Koshari
EGYPT
A tomato-vinegar sauce is mixed with rice, macaroni, and lentils and topped with fried onions and chickpeas. Vegetarians can enjoy this filling meal at roadside stalls and restaurants throughout Egypt. Garlic juice and hot sauce are sometimes added.

We would love to hear what you think about these dishes? If you have tried them or would like to try. We would love to feature you on our social media channels. Upload your favourite dish and tag us #ubcgssfoodies on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

GSS has started an unofficial Spotify playlist for our vibrant community

Some students have expressed that listening to their favorite tunes while working helps with their focus and general ability to complete tasks. Songs (especially specific melodies, playlists, or genres) can be used as cues to trigger habits. According to James Clear, a habit loop includes:  

Cue, Craving, Response, Reward.  

And it all boils down to a concept called classical conditioning. Ivan Pavlov, in his study, realized that the dogs serving as his subjects drooled when they were served meat during his study of digestion. In the case of Pavlov’s dogs, the mere sound of a bell was enough to make them drool in anticipation of food (in a similar way, we can train ourselves with music as a cue). Just like waking up to a dinging sound from your phone or lying down in bed makes you sleepy, listening to a song or playlist can encourage you to perform better and boost your productivity.  

According to an Accountemps survey, 71% of professionals report feeling more productive at work when music is playing, and Spotify’s survey showed that music is the leading productivity booster for their workforce. So, if some songs work for you, you should probably go on playing them. However, finding or curating the perfect music playlist isn’t always easy. With endless music streaming services and songs out there, it gets a bit difficult to narrow down the right one.  

So, GSS has started an unofficial Spotify playlist for our vibrant community to add all our favorite tunes to. Please share your favorite songs that get you pumped up and ready for productivity by contributing to our playlist; we’d love to hear them.  

Disclaimer: The GSS do not endorse any of the songs or artists on this track.

The right questions to ask at virtual grad student job fairs

Campus career fairs are some of the best places for graduate students to broaden their careers. You could be there for whatever reason; curiosity about various companies, looking for jobs, looking for valuable networking opportunities, and so on. No matter your aim, they cater to most needs and degrees because employers are always on the lookout for passionate and highly educated individuals such as graduate students.  

These days, more and more career fairs are being held online as a basic precaution during the pandemic. However, this does not have to hinder your experience and the benefits you derive from going. Graduate students can attend from their homes, offices or even while grabbing lunch at a favorite restaurant. Strong connections with recruiters from companies that you are interested in can still be made online, especially without some notable inconveniences traditional career fairs present (e.g. waiting lines). Not only that, but scheduling chats with recruiters is much easier online and the process is much quicker.  

However, while all that is settled, the most daunting thing about career fairs is not knowing what to ask. What are the right questions graduate students can ask to secure a network and possibly, a dream job? 

Without further ado, here are some great questions to ask employers and really make a long-lasting impression. 

A Specific Open Position 

Don’t ask for an open role outright. Employers will easily tell that you didn’t do your homework. Plus you have no excuse because during virtual fairs, you have the luxury of being able to search online any available roles even as the fair is going on. Instead, do research beforehand or at the very least, discreetly check if there are any existing ones before asking the recruiter a more suitable question at the fair like:

“What specific traits they require from an ideal candidate of (a specific role)”. 

The Hiring Process 

It’s a simple question but most often don’t utilize it. Not only does this allow you to get valuable input directly from someone reliable so you can utilize it while job hunting, but it shows the recruiter that you are serious about being thoroughly prepared; you clearly are passionate about catering your application to their needs and not just using online search to find vague requirements. And ultimately, you never know—they could be so impressed they reach out to you a few months down the line to offer an open job to you first. Try questions like:

“What does the hiring process for (open role) look like?”

“Can you tell me more about each stage in the hiring process for (open role)?” 

The Recruiter’s Experience at the Company 

In order to join a company, you have to ensure if it is a good fit for you. After all, you don’t want to waste your time as well as a recruiter or company’s time. Hence, it will be beneficial to learn about its work culture and its proudest achievements through a reliable source such as a recruiter. Besides, the more personal you get, the more unforgettable you seem to them. Say something like:

“What do you personally think is the best quality about working at (company)?”

“What are some of the challenges you’ve faced at (company)?”

Growth and Evolution 

Something as simple as these example questions goes a long way in showing the recruiter you will be a dedicated and long lasting employee; you’re already thinking about your future working with them.

“What does development look like in (open role)”

“I believe that the workforce is always evolving. How does (company) upskill its employees to evolve with it?”

You can also take advantage of virtual fair formats by suggesting that the recruiter could share some links to where you can discover more personal testimonials from workers. Furthermore, this can send the message that you know your worth and you also care about how fellow professionals are being treated.

Services and Recent News 

While doing research on open positions to ask about, also take the time to read about their recent accomplishments and familiarize yourself with their services. For instance, they may have released a new product so it is a great opportunity to ask:

“I recently heard (news) and I am thrilled about it. How has it impacted employees and the company?” 

You can mention you did some readings of your own but you want to take advantage of virtual fair formats by asking the recruiter to share any links to news they’re most excited about.

Saying Goodbyes and Staying in Touch 

Wrap up your productive chat by collecting contacts (e.g. LinkedIn, email, etc.) so you can reach out afterward and ensure a long-lasting relationship. Say something like:

“What would be a great next step to take after meeting you here?”  

Also, after the fair, you could send a simple email thanking the recruiter for their time. It’s a good way to leave a positive impact as well as discreetly remind them that you’d like to stay connected and have further discussions because you find them interesting.  

Good luck and stay positive!  

Wellness Week

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Starting on April 19, we’ve got a great series of events dedicated to enhancing your wellbeing through creativity.

Join us to learn to make beautiful candles. Create you own masterpieces on canvas with our Paint Night or get into Bullet Journals and help organise your work.

It’s a fun way to relax and unwind after the stress of the term.[/vc_column_text][vc_basic_grid post_type=”tribe_events” max_items=”” style=”pagination” element_width=”6″ gap=”10″ item=”21485″ initial_loading_animation=”” grid_id=”vc_gid:1618244683150-143502a7-217d-0″ taxonomies=”139″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

GSS Haiku Competition Spring 2021: Results

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Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter our Spring Haiku Competition. We were blown away by the quality and creativity of the responses. 

Our Theme was: Grad Students in Spring, and we had 5 awesome entries who will all be winning a prize for their creativity.

[/vc_column_text][ultimate_spacer height=”10″][dt_fancy_title title=”Our Winners” title_size=”h3″][ultimate_spacer height=”10″][dt_gallery_masonry bwb_columns=”desktop:2|h_tablet:4|v_tablet:3|phone:2″ image_border_radius=”0px” project_icon_border_width=”0px” include=”25068,25064,25063,25062,25061″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1617834754741{margin-bottom: 20px !important;}”]

 

Name Program Poem Title
Alyssa MEd – Education for Sustainability Step Count
Davi PhD – Atmospheric Sciences Knock Knock
Emily PhD – Biomedical Engineering Immersed
Jonathan MSc – Computer Science Zoom
Hailee MEng – Mechanical Engineering Pokemon

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Graduate students call on federal government to utilize university residence isolation plans as an equitable alternative to mandatory hotel stay for arriving international students

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Eight graduate student societies and associations, representing 91,000 graduate students across Canada, are calling on the federal government to approve university-administered quarantine plans at university residences as an equitable alternative to 3-day mandatory hotel stay for arriving international students.[/vc_column_text][ultimate_spacer height=”15″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″ css=”.vc_custom_1615766077586{background-color: #008186 !important;}”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][ult_content_box bg_color=”#008186″ box_shadow=”horizontal:px|vertical:px|blur:px|spread:px|style:none|” hover_box_shadow=”horizontal:px|vertical:px|blur:px|spread:px|style:none|”][vc_column_text]

Read Graduate Students’ Joint Letter to the Federal Government 

[/vc_column_text][/ult_content_box][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height=”15″][vc_column_text]On February 21st, 2021, Canada introduced new restrictions on international travel requiring all travellers arriving in Canada to isolate in a federally-approved hotel for three days at their own expense. While restrictions on international travel to Canada are required to ensure safety and wellbeing of travellers and residents, we believe the unequitable barriers to entry to Canada must be mitigated for those that must enter the country for essential travel.

Graduate students are a group that must enter Canada to be able to partake in their studies, which is primarily research which takes place in research facilities on and around campuses.

As organizations advocating on behalf of graduate students, our priority is the health and safety of our respective student bodies and broader community. We believe university residences’ isolation programs are a safe, equitable and affordable alternative to mandatory 3-day hotel stay for international graduate students who must enter the country for their research and studies.[/vc_column_text][ultimate_spacer height=”15″][vc_column_text]“We believe there is an opportunity here to utilize university residence isolation programs as a safe and affordable alternative to mandatory hotel stay that will reduce costs for students and allow for greater utilization of hotel space for other arriving groups. Our university residences’ quarantine plans have proven to be safe and effective programs so far and we think approving them would be beneficial especially as we see universities start to re-open and more students arrive in Canada”.
– Alireza Kamyabi, Vice-President External Relations, Graduate Student Society of University of British Columbia Vancouver

“International graduate students are key contributors to the academic mission of Canadian universities, and we need to reduce travel-related barriers so they can begin or continue their studies here. Our universities’ federally-approved isolation packages are the ideal compromise between affordability, safety, and accessibility for these students.”
– Marc Waddingham, President, University of Alberta’s Graduate Student Association,

“It’s already difficult for international students to adjust to a foreign country. In addition to that, incoming international students face high financial stress due to increased payments that are required to start a life in a new home country. Forcing students to also pay a minimum of $2,000 for a hotel room stay is creating more financial barriers for students, especially when universities are prepared to receive international students during the pandemic and have government approved quarantine plans in place.”
– Humaira Inam, President, University of Saskatchewan’s Graduate Students’ Association[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Read the letter to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and the Minister of Health

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GSS Haiku Competition Spring 2021

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Calling all poets and Haiku-enthusiasts! Spring is here and we’re feeling sentimental. Tell us about all your big grad student feels in tiny 5-7-5 haiku form, get some laughs, and maybe even win a prize!

Theme: Grad Students in Spring

Do you have a love for language? A preference for poetry? A hankering for haiku? Send us your silliest haiku poetry about springtime, your grad student experience, just whatever those big feels are! Submit your poetry for the chance to win a prize and the honour of having your poem displayed on our website and social media, plus the prestige, of course. How about something to start you off?

 

Title: Zoom Class Feels

Springtime poetry;

Open up about that time

You forgot to mute

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Criteria:

  • All UBC Vancouver Graduate students are invited to participate
  • Maximum 3 entries per person
  • The judges will be taking in consideration the following: creativity, humour and adherence to the 5-7-5 syllable haiku rule!
  • Entries can be in text or images of text in .jpeg or .png format
  • By submitting your photo to the contest, you agree that your content is original and not plagiarized; and as the author, you retain all rights to the creative material, and grant the GSS a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual license to display your poem in social media, marketing publications, on our website or elsewhere.
  • Please keep your poetry family-friendly!

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Submissions:

Prize: $25 gift card of your choice and a feature on GSS social media and newsletter!

 

*Winner will be contacted via email and posted on Social Media as well as the GSS Newsletter

 

Contact Us: If you have questions, please contact or

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AMS, GSS Meet Provincial Legislators

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The GSS is joining the AMS this week to meet with members of the BC Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and discuss the most pressing issues facing students. The group, led by AMS VP External Affairs Kalith Nanayakkara, and GSS VP External Affairs Alireza Kamyabi, will address topics including housing affordability, support for the post-secondary sector in BC, access to Higher Education (particularly for indigenous students), and additional funding for sources for students.

GSS VP External, Alireza Kamyabi says: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to meet with so many members of the legislative assembly to discuss real problems of affordability and access but also to emphasise that students have an important role to play in ensuring the Provincial economy flourishes in a post COVID world.”[/vc_column_text][ultimate_spacer height=”15″][vc_single_image image=”24706″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][ultimate_spacer height=”15″][vc_column_text]The specific policy proposals recommended by the Societies include:

  • Include students in rental support programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Make certain that there are predictability measures for international students in terms of tuition fees and ancillary costs through the Tuition Limit Policy.
  • Invest in affordable housing for Indigenous people and communities.
  • Include non-STEM disciplines in the BC Graduate Scholarship and establish permanent funding for the scholarship.
  • Expand the BC Access Grant to include graduate students.

[/vc_column_text][ultimate_spacer height=”15″][vc_column_text]Ali continues: “Extending the BC Access Grant to include graduate students, and making the very successful BC Graduate Scholarship a permanent program that can also support students outside STEM disciplines would make a tangible difference to graduate students. These changes would also support research in host of priority areas for the Province.

Housing affordability is a perennial problem for students, that has only been made worse by COVID-19. Ensuring they are included in available rental support programs during the pandemic would help students manage the immediate uncertainties.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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