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December 2021 Newsletter


Winter 2022 Universal Bus Pass - Tap and Go!

GSA Presidential Election Results

General Directors By-Elections 2021

Board Meeting Schedule

Office Manager Resignation

GSA End Semester Events

Graduate Teaching Community

UoG Community Census

Holiday Office Closure

GSA News

Defence Mugs

GSA Listserv

The Lookout

Dedicated Counselling Services

Additional Services and Opportunities

GSA Staff and Executives

GSA Office Hours
Winter 2022 Universal Bus Pass - Tap and Go!
The GSA and CSA ran a joint referendum on the Universal Bus Pass (UPASS) 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. Therefore, effective January 1, 2022, all eligible students will have access to the Guelph Transit UPASS services which provides unlimited transportation on Guelph Transit buses./

How do I use the Universal Bus Pass?
Effective January 1, 2022, eligible students will simply tap their student ID cards on the HID card reader upon boarding a Guelph Transit bus.
Who is an eligible student?
Every University of Guelph main campus student who has been charged the Bus Pass fee on their student account is an eligible student.
Will I still need a bus pass sticker on my student ID to access a Guelph Transit bus?
No you will not. The new validation system is tap and go!

Where can I find more information?
For more details and frequently asked questions, visit

GSA Presidential Election Results
Thank you all for those who voted for the GSA Presidential Election. Akshay Chadha is the successful candidate who takes on the role of GSA President from December 1, 2021, to April 30, 2022.
General Director By-Elections 2021
General Director By-Elections are upcoming in January. If there is an open seat in your department or representative community and you want to get involved in the GSA Board of Directors, we encourage you to run for a General Director position! Keep an eye on your UoG email account in January for more information. If you have any questions, please email
List of Departments and Representative Communities with open seats

Department or Representative Community Number of vacant seats
Animal Biosciences 2
Black Student Representative 2
Business Management/Leadership 1
Chemistry 1
Clinical Studies 2
Computing & Information Science 2
English & Theatre Studies 1
Environmental Design & Rural Development 2
Fine Art & Music 2
Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics 2
Food Science 1
Geography 2
History 2
Hospitality & Tourism Management 2
Human Health & Nutritional Science 2
Indigenous Student Representative 2
International Student Representatives 1
Languages & Literature 2
Marketing & Consumer Studies 2
Mathematics & Statistics 1
Molecular & Cellular Biology (MCB) 1
Pathobiology 1
Philosophy 2
Physics 2
Plant Agriculture 2
Population Medicine 2
Sociology & Anthropology 1
Board Meeting Schedule

Due to COVID-19, Board Meeting will be held virtually on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m:
December 8 – Virtual
January 19, 2022 – TBD
February 16, 2022 – TBD
AGM March 30, 2022 – TBD
April 27, 2022 – TBD
Office Manager Resignation - Thank you!

It is with a heavy heart that I announce my last day as Office Manager of the GSA will be December 24th, 2021. It has been an extremely difficult decision to make, but I have chosen to take a fantastic opportunity at Landscape Ontario.  My last official day with the GSA will be December 24th, however I will be using some extra lieu time on December 22, 23 and 24. 


I will always cherish the time I have spent working with the GSA. I have gained immense experience and I know the GSA has a bright future and will continue to move forward to serve graduate students at the University of Guelph for years to come.  The Executives and myself will ensure the new Office Manager is well equipped to keep the day to day operations of the GSA running. 


It has been a tough few years with the pandemic, so please be kind to yourselves and one another, we all deserve kindness, respect and happiness! 


Have a wonderful and safe holiday break and I hope our paths cross in the future!

GSA End Semester Events

The upcoming Trivia will be taking place, next week...Wednesday, Dec 8th, 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!

The Graduate Student Association will be hosting a BINGO Night on Thursday, Dec 9 at 6:00pm at The Lookout.
Email The Lookout ( for a chance to win $150 in gift cards!

The Graduate Student Association will be hosting a Cookie and Ornament Decorating Event on Tuesday, Dec 14 at 5:30pm at the Lookout.
LIMITED SPOTS ONLY. Email to register for this event. LAST DAY TO RSVP is Friday, Dec 10 before 4pm
Each attendee will receive a Gingerbread Cookie Kit, an Ornament with Decorations and a FREE cup of HOT CHOCOLATE!

The last Trivia of 2021 will be held on Thursday, Dec 16th, 2021 from 6-8pm at the Lookout.

But that is not all, please wear your BEST "Ugly Sweater" for a chance to win a $15 gift card

For this Trivia, we are partnering with United Ways to raise funds for their cause, United Ways Guelph - Wellington - Dufferin strives to meet the existing and emerging social needs of the community. Every dollar raised goes towards a range of social issues, including those related to youth, elderly, mental health, food insecurity, homelessness, diversity and inclusion.

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!

Graduate Teaching Community

The Office of Teaching and Learning is excited to announce the Get That Dossier Done program! Join your peers to work on developing your teaching dossier over the winter and summer semesters of 2022. Each month you will complete a series of smaller tasks, engage in peer feedback, and meet virtually with your peers. You can register now on eventbrite or email the Graduate Educational Developer team at with any questions. We hope you can join us!

Complete the UoG Community Census: Create a Better Understanding for a Better University

As part of our ongoing commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, the University of Guelph has launched a comprehensive self-identification census for students, faculty and staff.

Census results will provide a clearer understanding of diversity at the University and will help inform future decisions with the goal of removing barriers, improving inclusion and creating better community supports. Although the census asks questions specific to equity-deserving groups, it is important for all students, faculty and staff to complete the census to help provide an accurate picture of representation at U of G.  The U of G Community Census is a key commitment of the University’s Anti-Racism Action Plan.
For more information and to access the census please visit the UoG Census news post.

Holiday Office Closure
The GSA Office is closed for the Winter holidays from December 17, 2021 at 5 pm to January 3, 2021 at 9 am.  Any inquiries during that time will be addressed when the office reopens.
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
With the grand opening of the Lookout, regular Defence Mug distribution has resumed!
Please email Daria Ruginis, the GSA Office Manager (  with your defence date/program completion date to pick up 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 Lookout: Rooftop Patio & Grad Lounge
Hours: 11:00 - 8:00 pm
Monday to Friday
Dedicated Counselling Services for All GSA Members
We are pleased to inform you that Counselling Services will resume offering in-person services at the "GSA office space" on a limited basis to grad students who request an in-person, face to face, meeting with a counsellor and who prefer the GSA space.  In keeping with Counselling Services' usual process, grad students who are new to counselling this year, should call extension x52131 to request counselling. They will be set up for a brief virtual meeting, within a few days of their call, with a Student Wellness Navigator to discuss their counselling needs. The student should ask the Navigator for “face to face at GSA office.”  The Navigator will book the student into Dorothy or Peter’s schedule on one of the available days (afternoons for Dec 3 and Dec 10). Social distancing and masks will be required throughout the counselling session.
We also wanted to remind Grad students that for international students, whether they are abroad or here in Guelph, Keep Me Safe is available for counselling support.
We look forward to providing more details about our face-to-face availability for the winter semester.
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:
Akshay Chadha
President & CEO

Arash Yoosefdoost
Vice-President Internal

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