GES Newsletter — Back-to-School Edition

In this issue:

  • Book sale update
  • The GES@Western website
  • Elections
  • Post-Qualifying-Exams Celebrations
  • Survey: Workshop on Student Poverty, Year X, and GES Support
  • First GES Meeting and reminder of upcoming events


Book Sale Update

We’ve already had a great start to our year with our book & bake sale. We’re delighted to announce that the final tally is in, and thanks to your organizing, overseeing, and remarkable baking, the GES has raised $1030. Donations are still pouring in, and we suspect that the labyrinthine nature of the Arts and Humanities building may have reduced our traffic somewhat, so we are considering having another sale in January.

The GES@Western Website

After a lapse in web presence last year, the GES website is now (mostly) updated for your browsing pleasure! As handy as Facebook and the GES listserv is, it helps to have all of your news, resources, and events in one convenient location. In addition to a blogroll for current events, the website includes information about awards and scholarships, contacts within the GES, links to other campus organizations, reading and research groups, The Jane Errors, important documents, and (perhaps most importantly) an event calendar that can help you visualize and keep track of GES-sponsored events. GES newsletters and meeting minutes will also be added to the site as the year goes on.

If you are a new student, we encourage you to take a peek at the website! The campus organizations page is being expanded over the next week, and we’re still awaiting up-to-date contact information for a number of the reading and research groups, but the most important bits (namely of a financial/organizational persuasion) have been updated.

Elections

We’ve already had a few lovely folks ask about becoming involved with the GES. In case you were not aware, the GES is a team made up entirely of graduate students in the Department of English who work to make sure that your time here is fantastic. These folks work in a number of different roles, some of which are filled by elections in the beginning of the summer and others that are filled by elections in the fall, that is, right now!

On the website under Service Positions, you can see descriptions of all GES service positions, including the following positions open for election:

  • MA Representative
  • Academic Coordinator
  • Social Coordinators (two positions)
  • Website/Listserv Manager
  • ACCUTE/MLA Representative
  • SOGS Councillor (three positions)
  • PSAC Union Stewards (three positions)

These positions have a wide range of time commitments and call for a variety of experiences and interests. Are you tech-savvy? Then maybe the Website/Listserv position is up your alley! Are labour rights important to you? You may want to become one of our Departmental Union Stewards! Are you the life of the party, have a knack for planning events, and want to help make sure that GES members have something social to look forward to? The Social Coordinator position is calling your name!

If you are interested in any of the positions, please submit your name, your program (MA or PhD), the position in which you are interested, and a short statement of interest outlining why you want to fill the position and what experiences and skills you’ll be bringing to the position to geselections@gmail.com by Monday, September 29th.

As always, any questions can be directed to the GES Co-Chairs.

Post-Qualifying-Exams Celebrations

At the end of this week, many folks in the PhD program will be writing their Qualifying Exams. To celebrate the impending success of our brilliant friends and colleagues (and to facilitate much-needed post-exam decompression) we would like to invite all exam writers to the Grad Club at 2pm this Friday, September 19th for post-exam appetizers and snacks sponsored by the GES. We also encourage all GES members to convene and join us at this event, as it is an occasion for good cheer and solidarity!

Survey: Student Poverty, Year X, and GES Support

As many of you already know, Western University has recently made the decision to stop offering OGS funding to any student beyond their funding period (in the Department of English, this period is four years). Given that until now the OGS was often the sole chance for support for students in Year X, many GES members in the upper years of their programs have raised valid and serious concerns about how to successfully complete their program (which, on average, takes longer than the four year fundable period) in the face of serious financial burdens.

It has been suggested that the GES offer a workshop or series of workshops to better support students in all years who are facing poverty, precarious living situations, and general financial hardship. To that end, we have created a short survey to help us determine which issues are most pressing for GES members and what kind of support would be most beneficial to students in our program. This survey is completely anonymous, and all answers to the survey will be kept confidential. Students in the PhD IV year and Year X are strongly encouraged to participate. If you wish to participate, we would greatly appreciate your feedback. Student poverty is a very real concern, and your input can help the GES do a better job of supporting its membership in ways that matter.

The survey can be found HERE.

First GES Meeting and Upcoming Events

As we mentioned during the orientation session, GES meetings are a crucial way to stay in the loop about what is going on the Department of English. From news from department meetings to updates from the Committee on Graduate Studies, from political issues to social events, GES meetings are a “one-stop-shop”: you get to offer input on how the GES is run, and you get all of your major news updates in one place. Meetings tend to end on time, and are usually not more than an hour and a half.

The first GES meeting of the year is scheduled for Friday, September 26th from 10:00am-11:30am in Room 2R21 of the Arts and Humanities Building. An agenda for this meeting will be distributed no later than Monday, but one of the main items on the list will be a discussion of our annual holiday party and garnering a sense of what kind of social and academic events we’d like to see throughout the year.

Also, a reminder to new students that the TA Contract FAQ and Info Session (information about this session can be found here) will be taking place this Friday.

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About uwoges

The Graduate English Society (GES) at Western University is a student organization that, through its various events and services, fosters a sense of social as well as academic community among the English graduate students currently in attendance at Western. We also facilitate communication between graduate students and faculty in an effort to promote intradepartmental camaraderie and to present graduate student concerns to the administration. All students in the graduate program in English at Western are members of the GES. Through the GES, students can voice and address matters common to the graduate student body. We hold meetings approximately once or twice a semester which are open to all members. We also elect members to various GES Service Positions where they represent student interests. In addition, the GES serves both professional and social purposes, sponsoring academic events and parties.
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