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April 2021 Newsletter


GSA News 

In Memoriam 

2021-2022 GSA Executive Committee

GSA Covid Survey

GSA Listserv

Defence Mugs

Call for Nominations: Exemplary Staff Service 

U-Pass Transit Update

GSA Earth Day Giveaway

Virtual GSA Trivia Night

Town and Gown 

UofG Yoga Speaker Series 

Board (Virtual) Meeting Winter 21' Schedule

Due to COVID-19, Board Meeting will be held virtually on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m:

April 21

* The 2021/2022 Board Meeting Schedule will be released in May
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.

The Fifth:
The GSA Rooftop Patio & Lounge remains closed until further notice. All GSA events for the S21 semester will be held virtually until further notice. In the meantime, The Fifth is undergoing major renovations. Check out our Instagram page (@the_fifth_gsa) for updates.

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
In Memoriam – Bonnie Runge
The GSA and University community are mourning the loss of Bonnie Runge, our former Grad Lounge Manager (retired September 2020) who passed away on February 28, 2021. Bonnie served as the Grad Lounge Manager for a total of 24 years.

Everyone who had the chance to visit the Lounge during her time was met with a warm welcome and Bonnie's infectious smile. She served the University of Guelph community and helped many students celebrate both academic and personal milestones. Many of these students are now Faculty and Staff at the University who will continue to share their memories of Bonnie around a table at the Grad Lounge.

We are shocked and saddened by this news, and our thoughts are with Bonnie's family and friends during this time. We want to acknowledge that Bonnie had a great and lasting impact on the GSA and the graduate student experience as a whole. The GSA will be working with the family to honour and celebrate Bonnie with a memorial plaque in the Lounge when it reopens.

Condolences can be shared through the Gilbert MacIntyre & Sons Funeral Home website.

We would like to express our condolences to everyone who has worked with or knew Bonnie, and remind everyone to take time to process this news. Counselling Services are available through Student Wellness Services, 519-824-4120, ext. 53244.
 2021-2022 GSA Executive Committee
The GSA is happy to announce the results of the W21 GSA Executive Committee Election. A big congratulations to our elected Executives!

President: Nicole Berardi
Vice-President Internal: Mohsen Yoosefzadeh Najafabadi
Vice-President Finance: Akshay Chadha
Vice-President External: Thomas Lapointe

The term of office is May 1st, 2021 to April 30th, 2022.
GSA Covid Survey
The GSA has put together a feedback survey to collect information on how the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted graduate students at U of G and to try to understand areas that graduate students require support.
All responses will be kept confidential, and results will only be shared in aggregate without any identifying information linked back to you.
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.
Defence Mugs
If you are interested in picking up your Defence Mug through the Bookstore or receiving it by mail, please email by April 8, 2021 to arrange Winter semester pickup/shipping. Requests after April 8, 2021 will be accommodated at a later time.

The GSA has arranged Defence Mug pick up at the Bookstore for students who are able to come to campus. Please email to arrange pickup. Please do not go directly to the Bookstore before emailing the GSA as your mug will not be available.
Live outside of Guelph and have defended your thesis? Unable to return to campus to claim your Defence Mug? The GSA has limited funding to mail mugs to students who live outside Guelph or even Canada. Our first release will include the following:
20 mailing spots for students who currently live in Ontario outside of Guelph-Wellington County
20 mailing spots for students who currently live out of Province within Canada
10 mailing spots for students who currently live internationally*
Mugs will be mailed on a first-come first-serve basis until the end of the Winter semester or until funding runs out.  Please email with your name, student ID, defence date and shipping address.
*Please note that there may be some international mailing restrictions/delays that are out of the GSA’s control. The GSA and Hospitality Services will do our best to successfully mail the mugs through FedEx to international students.
Call for Nominations: President’s Awards for Exemplary Staff Service
Universal Student Bus Pass (U-Pass) - Transit Services Update
Since 1995, the Central Student Association (CSA) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) have negotiated with the City of Guelph for a bus pass that offers unlimited rides on Guelph Transit at a significantly lower rate than a traditional monthly bus pass. 
The current Universal Bus Pass (U-pass) contract will expire on April 30, 2021, as per the referendum question asked in 2016, and can’t be reinstated until a referendum on the U-pass happens. 
As part of the process and before a referendum can be held, contract negotiations must take place between the City of Guelph/Guelph Transit, CSA, and GSA. However, with uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic this hasn’t happened yet. Therefore, asking a referendum question before April 30 for a U-pass contract for fall 2021 would be unfair to students. As well, up until a few days ago, students wouldn’t have known about the University’s plans for students to return to campus this fall for the start of the 2021/2022 school year. 
Both the CSA and GSA are looking forward to beginning negotiations with the City of Guelph/Guelph Transit, as we know the U-pass is integral to student life and getting around Guelph. As was done for the fall and winter semesters during the COVID-19 pandemic, Guelph Transit will once again offer a post-secondary semester pass to students. This discounted pass will be valid from May 1 to August 31, 2021. 
Information on Guelph Transit’s Post-Secondary Bus Pass can be found here.
Information on the City of Guelph’s Affordable Bus pass can be found here.
Updates will be passed along throughout the negotiation and referendum process!
GSA Earth Day Giveaway

Earth Day Giveaway
The GSA is offering a Social Media Giveaway for Earth Day. 
Send in a picture of you doing something environmentally sustainable (picking up some garbage, riding your bike to school/work instead of taking your car, switching to eco-friendly light bulbs, etc.) to our social media or email and be entered in to win a $30 Gift Card.

  • Send in your photo to one of our social media accounts (Instagram @uofg_gsa / Facebook @Graduate Student Association Guelph / Twitter @UoGGSA) or email 
  • Must be following one of our social media pages
  • Your photo must be submitted on or before April 22 (Earth Day) 
  • One submission per UofG student
Email if you have any questions or concerns.
GSA Virtual Trivia Night
Join the upcoming GSA Virtual Trivia Night.
On April 20th at 7:00 pm, the GSA will be hosting a virtual Trivia Night. Join this event with a team of 8 maximum and come prepared to answer questions related to April's Fools. This trivia event will offer a mix of history and current pop-culture questions. Email with a list of your team members and your selected team name before April 19th. Students, faculty, and staff of the University of Guelph are welcome to participate. 
Town and Gown Toastmasters
UofG Yoga Speaker Series 2021

Join us as we kick off the inaugural UofG Yoga Speaker Series virtually!

Our theme for this year is: Yoga Philosophy and Practice: Relevance for the Individual and Society in a Contemporary World.

We have several top-notch speakers joining us who are lifelong yoga practitioners, researchers, and philosophers!

Join us between February 25 and April 22 on Thursdays from 12:00 -1:00 PM to listen to their stories, learn and discuss important topics in yoga and its novel applications for an individual and society at large.

Find a full schedule and details on our website and follow us by clicking social media icons at the bottom of our home page.

This event is sponsored by Wellness@Work University of Guelph and is hosted by UofG Yoga and Meditation Collective.

Student Support Network

The Student Support Network is a drop-in peer support group consisting of extensively-trained student volunteers who provide confidential, non-judgemental listening and support to other students. Our team of extensively trained student volunteers is ready to provide a supportive ear to any University of Guelph student. For the Winter 2021 semester, drop-in peer support is offered virtually between noon and 10 pm, Monday through Friday. Students are expected to keep their camera on throughout their virtual session.
To book a drop-in session, please visit our online booking page:

The Fifth: GSA Rooftop Patio & Lounge
The Fifth is currently closed and undergoing major renovations. Check out our Instagram page for updates
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 conference travel restrictions, as dictated by public health authorities, Summer 2021 Travel Grant applications are currently suspended. Travel grants will not be accepted until travel is deemed safe.
Childcare Bursary applications are being accepted for the Summer 2021 semester.
Unused monies applied to summer 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: 

Nicole Berardi
President & CEO

Mohsen Yoosefzadeh Najafabadi
Vice-President Internal

Akshay Chadha
Vice-President Finance

Thomas LaPointe
Vice-President External
GSA Staff: 

Daria Ruginis
Office Manager

William Kramer
Activities & Communication Coordinator

Morgan Rees
Website Support

Drew Anderson

Chief Returning Officer
GSA Office Hours
Virtual Hours - Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm on days the office is open
Please contact Daria Ruginis, GSA Office Manager,
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