View this email in your browser

November 2021 Newsletter


Joint GSA/CSA Universal Bus Pass Referendum F'21 Results: PASSED

GSA Presidential Vacancy and Election

Board Meeting Schedule

GSA Weekly In-Person Trivia

GSA Post Doc Mentorship Event

Graduate Teaching Community - Events and Resources

Grad Student House Calls

GSA News

Defence Mugs

GSA Listserv

Skills for Research Impact Workshop

Additional Services

GSA Staff and Execitives

GSA Office Hours
Joint GSA/CSA Universal Bus Pass Referendum F'21 Results: PASSED
The GSA and CSA ran a joint referendum on the Universal Bus Pass in Fall 2021. The joint referendum passed and therefore the Universal Bus Pass fee will be charged to all University of Guelph main campus students for the Winter 2022 semester, and UPass service will resume January 1, 2022.
Referendum Results – Total GSA + CSA Votes Cast
  • Quorum was met independently by both Associations
  • Total GSA + CSA Votes Cast – 7830
Response Number of Votes Cast (GSA + CSA Results)
Yes 6936 (88.6%)
No 851
Decline 43
Referendum Results – Total GSA Votes Cast
The results of the referendum are joint. For transparency, the GSA and CSA individual voting results are presented below.
  • Quorum: 10% (310 votes) - Quorum Met (36.5%)
  • Total GSA Votes Cast – 1127
Response Number of Votes Cast (GSA Results Only)
Yes 881
No 225
Decline 21
Total CSA Votes Cast
  • Quorum: 20% (4229 votes) - Quorum Met (31.7%)
  • Total CSA Votes Cast – 6703
Response Number of Votes Cast (CSA Results Only)
Yes 6055
No 626
Decline 22
For more than 20 years, the Central Student Association (CSA) and the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) have negotiated with the City of Guelph for a Universal Bus Pass (UPass) that offers unlimited rides on Guelph Transit at a lower rate than the City of Guelph Post-secondary Semester Bus Pass. The UPass provides all University of Guelph main campus students with affordable transportation to campus, downtown, and the greater City of Guelph.
The previous UPass contract, which was negotiated for a five-year term, expired on April 30, 2021. In year-five of the UPass contract, the cost was $150 per student, per semester.

The CSA and GSA have negotiated a new UPass contract with the City of Guelph, priced at $151 per semester, with an annual price increase of no more than 2% per academic year, effective January 1, 2022. The contract term is indefinite unless the annual increase exceeds 2%, at which time another referendum must be held. The City of Guelph has committed to hold the annual fee increase at 2% or less for the next 5 years.
Should the referendum pass, the bus pass fee will be charged to all University of Guelph main campus students for the Winter 2022 semester, and UPass service will resume January 1, 2022. The Universal Bus Pass fee will be mandatory, with no opt-out option. Should the referendum fail, there will be no UPass, and students who require Guelph Transit services will be able to purchase passes directly from Guelph Transit. Currently the City of Guelph offers a Post- secondary Semester Bus Pass priced at $272 per semester and is subject to annual approval by City Council. The regular monthly fare for adult riders is $80 per month.

The below question is being asked to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the University of Guelph main campus. Due to the joint nature of the bus pass negotiations, ballots for graduate and undergraduate students are combined for the purposes of counting; however, quorum for each student group must be reached independently in accordance with the CSA and GSA quorum by-laws. Provided that quorum is satisfied at both the undergraduate and graduate level, student approval will require a majority (50%+1 vote) of the total valid votes cast.

Do you support a Universal Bus Pass fee for all University of Guelph, main campus, full-time and part-time, undergraduate and graduate students, effective January 1, 2022, with the following terms?
• Priced at $151 per each Fall, Winter and Summer semester, with an annual price increase of no more than 2% per academic year.
• The City of Guelph commits to hold the fee increase at 2% or less for the next 5 years.
• The contract term is indefinite unless the annual increase exceeds 2%, at which time another referendum must be held.

GSA Presidential Vacancy Election Call for Nominations
Nomination Period: October 12 – November 12, 2021 (4:30pm)
Campaign Period:  November 15 – 26, 2021 (4:30pm)
Voting Period:  November 29 – 30, 2021 (11:59pm)
Term of Office: December 1, 2021 – April 30, 2022 

The GSA is the sole official representative body of graduate students at the University of Guelph. The GSA is operated by a Board of Directors, which consists of an elected Executive Committee and representatives from each department. The Executive Committee is comprised of a President & CEO, Vice-President Internal, Vice-President Finance and Vice-President External.

As of September 12, 2021 Nicole Berardi has resigned from her position and there is a vacancy for the position of GSA President.
President Self Nomination Process: 
Term of Office:  December 1, 2021 – April 30, 2022
  1. Eligibility
    Full and part time graduate students who have at least six (6) months service as a General Director and/or Executive, at the commencement of their term (December 1, 2021).
    *This requirement is waived if none of the candidates nominated for a position meet the service term requirement. All interested students are encouraged to apply.
  2. What to Do
    Complete the GSA Presidential Vacancy Election Nomination Form by the nomination deadline:  November 12, 2021 (4:30 p.m.). The nomination form includes a brief nominee statement (no more than 500 words), which becomes a public document.  *Please note the nomination form will not open until October 12, 2021.
  3. Campaigning Period
    Candidates have the option of campaigning for their position. The campaign period runs from November 15 – 26, 2021.  All campaign materials must be approved by the CRO and must be removed by 4:30 p.m. on the last day of the campaign period. No campaigning is permitted during the voting period.
  4. Voting Period
    The voting period will be held from November 29 & 30, 2021. In the event of a single nomination for any office, there shall be a (yes/no/abstain) vote to ensure that the candidate is satisfactory to the membership.
Graduate Students' Association Presidential Nominee Information
Please complete the online nomination form at the following link
For Duties of GSA President and more, please see the Presidential Vacancy Election – Call for Nominations post on GSA website under Grad Student News.
If you have any questions regarding the nomination process, please contact the GSA CRO,, or Daria Ruginis,
Board (Virtual) Meeting Fall 21' Schedule

Due to COVID-19, Board Meeting will be held virtually on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m:
November 17 - Virtual, December 8 - TBD
GSA Weekly In-Person Trivia

The upcoming Trivia will be taking place, next week...Thursday, Nov 4th, 2021 from 6-8pm at the Lookout

Email with a list of your team members ( MAX 8 individuals) and your selected team name to register for this event.

Students, faculty, and staff of the University of Guelph are welcome to participate.

*COVID protocols are in place to ensure safety of students and staff!

GSA Post Doc Mentorship Event

Are you a PhD student interested in doing a postdoc? Not sure what a postdoc is, or who to ask?

Join us at the upcoming Postdoc – PhD Mentorship Event, in person at the Lookout. RSVP by Monday, Nov 8, 2021. Max capacity of 30 individuals in-person so REGISTER NOW!!!

This event features a panel of UoG Postdoctoral Researchers from various backgrounds and disciplines that will share their experience on the transition from the PhD to a postdoc, and will answer your questions!

Those who are interested in attending, please fill out the RSVP form using the barcode on the poster or link (GSA PostDoc Mentorship RSVP)! We strongly encourage you to send in proposed questions that they may have for Postdocs as indicated in the RSVP form.


UPDATE: If you would like to attend but are unable to join us in-person, please fill out the form and select “ONLINE” to RSVP. We will be live-streaming the event and the link will be sent closer to the date.
Graduate Teaching Community - Events and Resources

The Graduate Teaching Community (GTC) is a group of students from across campus who are interested in education focused professional development. This includes a wide range of formal programming organized by the Office of Teaching and Learning, online resources, and networking events to meet with your peers from across campus. Visit the Office of Teaching and Learning website for more information and to register for upcoming events or email to join the listserv and stay up to date!

Grad Student House Calls

Grad student House Calls are back! All grad students can participate in this program to be connected with a Student Wellness Services staff member through an informal call.
To opt-in to the program, please complete the form here:
Students interested in participating in the program will be contacted via Microsoft Teams from October to early November.
Students who receive a call will be entered into a draw to win 1 of 10 $50 gift cards to Starbucks, Amazon, or your local grocery store!

If you are not interested in participating in the House Calls program but would like to access support, please contact one of our Navigators who provide service to students with questions or concerns about their mental health. The Navigators are available Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30, 519 824-4120 Extension 52131.
GSA News

Due to COVID-19, the GSA executive and staff will be working remotely until further notice. We encourage you to follow the directives of the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the University of Guelph to do your part by staying home as much as possible at this time.

Social Media:
Keep up with upcoming Virtual Events by following the GSA social media platforms:

  • Instagram | Uofg_gsa
  • Facebook | Graduate Student Association Guelph
  • Twitter | UoGGSA
Defence Mugs
Please email Daria Ruginis, the GSA Office Manager (  with your defence date/program completion date to reserve your mug! You can then bring your mug to the Lookout and celebrate with a drink of your choice!
GSA Listserv
Don’t miss out on important GSA information, join the GSA Listserv!
If you are a new student or have returned from a leave and are interested in receiving emails from the GSA, please email to subscribe to the listserv.

The S2BN would like to invite you to register for the 4th annual Academia to Industry Meeting (AIM). AIM is a multi-university, graduate student careers conference, which will provide an interactive forum for graduate students, faculty, and industry professionals in STEM to share career advice, discuss the future of the life sciences industry, and network virtually. Register by October 9th to receive early bird ticket pricing. For more information and to register for the event, visit

Skills for Research Impact: Free Knowledge Mobilization Workshops

Interested in increasing the impact of your research? Join us for Skills for Research Impactthis Fall. Through six free online workshops, you will learn how to plan, execute and evaluate knowledge mobilization activities, and build skills to communicate your research in new and engaging ways. Sessions will cover topics key to successful research communications and engagement of non-academic audiences, including knowledge mobilization planning and evaluation, stakeholder engagement, clear language writing, dissemination strategies, digital storytelling.

Join us for one or multiple sessions! For more details on the sessions and to register, visit []

This workshop series is a collaboration between the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI) and the Research Innovation Office at the University of Guelph. 

The Lookout: Rooftop Patio & Grad Lounge
Hours: 11:00 - 8:00 pm
Monday to Friday
Counselling Services
While face-to-face counselling is not available in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Student Wellness is still providing counselling either over the phone or through video. 

For more information please visit the Student Wellness website and their FAQ page
GSA Services and Opportunities
To find out all of the ways the GSA helps you, please see the services listed below and check out our website.  Please note that GSA services currently only available remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

International Student Health and Dental Plan updates can be found at
GSA Funding
GSA Emergency Compassionate Fund

The Fund is not administered by the GSA. Grad student applicants first have to apply for needs-based funding through Student Financial Services. Some applications may be transferred to the Compassionate Fund, if criteria is met under the current terms and conditions.

GSA Funding: Travel Grants & Childcare Bursaries

Due to COVID restrictions, travel must be approved by your college. Any travel not approved by your college will not be considered for this bursary. The University continues to suspend all international travel for students participating in exchange programs, conferences, sporting events, co-op placements, field work, etc. Currently, the University's student travel insurer is issuing no international travel insurance. Student travel outside of Canada will continue to be suspended until Government of Canada travel restrictions are lifted and our insurer resumes issuing international travel coverage for students.
Childcare Bursary applications are being accepted for the Fall 2021 semester.
Unused monies applied to fall applications will be rolled into future budgets.
Applications can be found on the GSA website and are to be submitted via the online Qualtrics form.

Any questions regarding these applications can be directed to Akshay Chadha, VP Finance :
or Daria Ruginis, Office Manager: ( 


CUPE Benefits Progam
Find more details on submitting claims at
Executive Committee:
President & CEO

Arash Yoosefdoost
Vice-President Internal

Akshay Chadha
Vice-President Finance

Thomas LaPointe
Vice-President External
GSA Staff:

Daria Ruginisa
Office Manager

Jinal Manek
Activities & Communication Coordinator

Maryam Vazin
Chief Returning Officer
GSA Office Hours
Starting September 7, 2021, the GSA Office will operate on a hybrid of both virtual and in-person hours for the safety of staff and students. The situation will continue to be monitored and in-person drop-in hours may increase over the semester.

Hours: Monday to Friday 9am-1pm, 2-5pm* (virtual)
*in-person drop-in hours available Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (2-5pm)

Availability for in-person drop-ins may change based on meeting obligations.
Visit the GSA Website for general information by clicking here.
Have questions about the GSA? 
Contact a member of our Executive or your department representative by clicking here