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July 2021 Newsletter


GSA News 

Student Health and Dental Plan

Defence Mugs

Call for CRO

GSA Listserv

Transit Update

Virtual GSA Trivia Night

GSA Virtual Conference Call for Abstracts

Graduate Student Teaching Days

Environmental Justice Training

Town and Gown

Additional Services
Board (Virtual) Meeting Summer 21' Schedule

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

Summer 21 Schedule:
July 21st, August (No Meeting)
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
Student Health and Dental Plan
Information for all students enrolled in the Health and Dental Plan
The current plan year will end August 31, 2021 for all students, independent of what semester they began their studies. Information regarding the September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022 plan year will be released later in the summer.
Visit for current information.
Defence Mugs
The GSA has arranged Defence Mug pick up at the Bookstore. The deadline to reserve a mug for pick up is July 21, 2021.
Please email to reserve a mug. Please do not go directly to the Bookstore before emailing the GSA as your mug will not be available. Pick up is tentatively scheduled to start July 26, 2021.
Call for Cheif Returning Officer
Interested in getting involved with the GSA? The GSA is looking for a Chief Returning Officer (CRO) to oversee the GSA elections, by-elections, and referenda, in accordance with all relevant provisions of the GSA By-Laws.
This position will start September 1, 2021. The CRO will oversee the Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 elections and must be a member of the GSA during those semesters.
Applicants can express interest and send a resume to by July 30, 2021 – 5:00 p.m.
Please visit the GSA website  (By-Laws), for details regarding the GSA CRO eligibility, appointment, compensation and duties.

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.
Transit Services Update
Summer 2021: Post-Secondary Bus Pass
The Summer semester pass will be available for purchase starting Monday, April 19, 2021. The pass will be valid from May 1 to August 31, 2021.

In order to be eligible for the Summer semester pass, students must provide proof of enrolment in either the Winter or Summer 2021 semester.
More information on the post-secondary pass

Fall 2021: Post-Secondary Bus Pass
As many students know, the CSA & GSA will be in contract negotiations with Guelph Transit / the City of Guelph to run a referendum as soon as possible.

Until a contract can be negotiated, and a referendum can be held, the current Post-Secondary Bus Pass system will remain in place.

The Fall semester pass will be available for purchase Wednesday, August 18, 2021. The pass will be valid from September 1 to December 31, 2021. Students need to provide proof of enrolment in the Fall 2021 semester.
Alternative to the Post-Secondary Pass
The Affordable Bus Pass program has a reduced cost and is a program run by the City of Guelph.
To be eligible to apply, you must:
  1. Be a resident of the City of Guelph
  2. Have an annual combined family income at or below the Statistics Canada before-tax Low Income Cut-Off. 
More information on the affordable bus pass
GSA Virtual Trivia Night
Join the upcoming GSA Virtual Trivia Night.

On July 20th at 7:00 pm, the GSA will be hosting a virtual Trivia Night.  Nothing trivial about this night dedicated to history's wondrous women, fighting femmes, and leading ladies #hotgirlsummer 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 to register for this event. Maximum 8 participants per team. Students, faculty, and staff of the University of Guelph are welcome to participate. 
Prizes are available for the first-place team.
GSA Virtual Conference | Call for Abstracts 
The GSA is thrilled to announce the return of our virtual conference.
The 2nd annual GSA Interdepartmental Virtual Conference will be taking place on August 25th
Interested in participating? Submit your abstract to and by 11:59 pm on July 30th to secure your spot. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with peers across campus and share your research in spite of the current COVID restrictions. Students from any college at the University of Guelph are welcome to participate.
We also welcome individuals that are interested in presenting something outside of their research in a non-academic topic of their choosing.

Presentation requirements: 12 minutes in duration, followed by a 3-minute Q&A session.
We are also pleased to announce that the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will be generously offering tuition credits for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place presentations.
If you have any questions, concerns, or comments regarding the upcoming conference please email!
Graduate Student University Teaching Days
Environmental Justice Training

Do you want to learn how you can help create inclusive, safe spaces in the environmental movement? Are you interested in furthering your understanding of intersectional environmentalism? Do you want to participate in activities and discussions that allow you to reflect on your connection and ties to nature? If you answered yes to any of these questions then, this training is for you! 

Who is hosting this training?

In partnership with the University of Guelph Sustainability Office and Future Ancestor Services, two current undergraduate students of the University of Guelph, Nidhi and Stephanie, are leading an environmental justice training to create a platform for our campus community to learn collectively about environmental justice. 

The event will be led by Chúk Odenigbo (He/Him), a Founding Director at Future Ancestor Services.

This environmental justice training is made possible through funding from the University of Guelph's Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Enhancement Fund.

What is the goal and format of the training?

This training workshop is free to attend and is spread across three days, where each day, we will uncover different topics and try to better the environment and our relation with the green spaces. 

Throughout the training, we intend to bring together students, staff and faculty from our University of Guelph community to learn, reflect and discuss environmental justice. This training will further participants understanding of identity as it relates the environment to the learning of anti-oppression and integration of decolonization practices with ecological sustainability. 

When is this training, and what content will be covered?

Tuesday, July 13th, 5 - 7 pm EST (virtual event): Participants will be led through a guided discussion where we examine how one’s identity impacts one’s health, one’s connection with nature, and the way one is treated in society. 

Wednesday, July 14th (asynchronous): This portion of the training will feature a self-guided reflection in an asynchronous format where the participants will reach a deeper understanding of their own connection with the land and ties to it.

Thursday, July 15th, 5 - 7 pm EDT (virtual event): This virtual guided event will have participants focus on visioning and ideation activities in an effort to better understand the world, our society, and their place in it. 

After completing this multi-day training, participants will gain a better understanding of intersectional environmentalism and have been introduced to viewing the environmental/climate movement through multiple lenses. 

Town and Gown Toastmasters
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 Summer 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