GSA Elections: Executive Officer Candidates

The 2024 GSA Elections is currently ongoing! Read each candidate statement below to inform your vote! The election polls will open on March 11th at 10:00 AM and close on March 13th at 6:00 PM.


Candidate: Kusum Bhatta

Kusum Bhatta’s statement


Candidate: Li Ping Song

Li Ping Song’s statement


Candidates: Abhay Chopra and Farha Haider

Abhay Chopra’s statement

Farha Haider’s statement


Candidate: Mason Fitzpatrick

Mason Fitzpatrick’s statement


Candidates: Ologun Olakunle Oluwakorede and Patrick Sauriol

Ologun Olakunle Oluwakorede’s statement

Patrick Sauriol’s statement

GSA Statement on Ceasefire in Gaza

The Graduate Students Association continues to strongly support the international calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. We recognize the devasting impacts of the current events on Palestinian, Israeli, Muslim, Jewish and Arab students in our campus community, some of which have been directly impacted by the ongoing violence in Palestine and Israel. We grieve the devastating loss of thousands of innocent lives and there can be no moral or ethical justification for the deliberate killing of civilians, regardless of the circumstances. We also unequivocally condemn the growing amount of antisemitism and Islamophobia being displayed locally and internationally, and we are here to support and provide a safe and inclusive environment for all our students.

The atrocities perpetrated by Hamas on innocent civilians, international students and migrant workers in Israel on the 7th of October amount to unspeakable crimes. However, these acts do not justify the daily committal of abhorrent war crimes by the Israeli authorities against Palestinian civilians. These indiscriminate attacks and war crimes amount to collective punishment to the people of Gaza who since 2007 have been illegally blocked in by land, sea and air by the Israeli government.

We echo the calls by leading human rights organizations for an immediate ceasefire to protect the innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza and we reiterate the calls for the end of unlawful attacks on civilians in the West Bank. We also join calls to prevent the arming of the Israeli state and the companies involved in the infrastructure of blockade. We urge the international community to work together to address the root causes of the conflict, including through the dismantling of Israel’s system of apartheid against all Palestinians. We advocate for diplomatic efforts that prioritize the well-being of all the civilians to establish a just and lasting resolution in the region.

In our local community, the GSA is committed to providing a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment for all our graduate students irrespective of race, ethnicity, or religious beliefs. We strongly condemn any acts of violence, discrimination, or hate towards any individual. We reiterate that there is no room for antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, harassment, and discrimination of any kind within our campus, local community and beyond. In these challenging times, we sincerely encourage our students to demonstrate empathy and kindness, uphold respect for one another and prioritize each other’s well-being. Let us all continue to uphold these values to our fellow students and community members to ensure our collective well-being.

GSA urges students to prioritize their mental health and wellness during this difficult time. If you or someone you know needs support, we encourage you to seek mental health and wellness support available through Conversation and the Student Wellness Centre.

This statement was put forward to the GSA Council for voting on November 27, 2023 after multiple consultations with the GSA Council and the GSA Board after the Student Issues Actions Committee Meeting on October 12, 2023. This statement was approved by the GSA Council after a majority vote on Monday, November 27, 2023.

New GSA Health & Dental Plan Insurer

We are excited to announce an insurer transition for the GSA Health & Dental Plan. Effective Sept. 1, 2023, the GSA Health & Dental Plan insurer will change from Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada to Securian Canada (Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company). Eligible students will continue to have access to health and well-being support through the health, dental, vision, and travel benefits covered by the Plan.


Starting Sept. 1, 2023:

  • New Insurer: Securian Canada
  • New Group Number/Prefix for health & dental claims: MUG
  • New Member ID: MUG + Your 9-digit Student ID + 00 (e.g. MUG123456789-00)
  • IMPORTANT: Please make sure to update this information at your pharmacy and/or eligible provider clinics for Sept. 1, 2023.The GSA and its partners are working to ensure a smooth transition with minimal disruptions. This transition comes with the exciting introduction of an enhanced web and mobile platform that will make managing coverage more convenient and efficient than ever before. Key features of the enhanced platform include:
  •  Claim Submission: The new platform allows users to effortlessly submit claims online, eliminating the need for paper forms and lengthy processes.
  • Drug Look-Up Tool: A user-friendly tool for looking up the coverage status of prescription drugs under the GSA Plan will be at your fingertips.Note that the Studentcare mobile app will no longer be available as of Sept. 1st, 2023. Please make sure to save any important information (e.g. sent claims history) currently stored there, as you will no longer be able to access it on the app.IMPORTANT: All eligible GSA Plan claims and services (including Pay-Direct) rendered on or after Sept. 1, 2023 must be submitted to the new insurer, Securian Canada, using the new Group Number/Prefix above.

    For eligible health, dental, and vision services rendered during the current 2022-2023 policy year (between Sept. 1, 2022 and Aug. 31, 2023), students covered by the Plan have until Oct. 31, 2023 to submit their claims to Sun Life.

    As the transition is currently our primary focus, please look out for future updates. Details will be provided to students via email and other campus channels. For more information about the insurer transition, how to claim, and the enhanced web and mobile platform, please visit

    For any inquiries, you can also contact the Plan administrator Studentcare by visiting the Assistance Centre at

Statement in Response to Recent University of Waterloo Assault

GSA Statement in Response to University of Waterloo Assault

The GSA is deeply saddened and disturbed by the recent gender-based violence attacks that have taken place at the University of Waterloo on Thursday 29th June 2023. We strongly condemn these acts of violence, which have caused immeasurable harm to individuals within our academic community.

Gender-based violence is a repulsive violation of human rights and an affront to the values of equality, respect, and inclusivity that we hold dear as graduate students and members of Canadian society. Universities should be safe spaces where students and academics, regardless of their gender, can learn, grow, and thrive. These attacks not only undermine the physical and emotional well-being of survivors but also erode the trust and sense of security within the entire university community.

We stand in solidarity with the survivors, and we extend our heartfelt support to them during this difficult time. It is essential that their voices be heard, and that they receive the care, assistance, and justice they deserve. If you have been affected by these events, please visit our resources:
Student Wellness Centre

Sudan Solidarity Statement

Sudan Solidarity Statement

Sudan Solidarity Post-1

The McMaster Graduate Student Association stands in solidarity with the citizens of Sudan who have been affected by the ongoing conflict and violence between the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces. This conflict has severely impacted the well-being and safety of civilians particularly in the city of Khartoum. The GSA recognizes the struggles faced by the Sudanese people and support their calls to end the violence between these opposing forces.

We recognize that for graduate students who are from or have connections to Sudan, the current events may be particularly challenging and distressing. The GSA extends this solidary to other members of our local community who have loved ones directly impacted by these events.

For any graduate students who may be affected by the conflict and, the GSA encourages you to use our mental health supports including:


Student Wellness Centre

Ethnic Grocery & Restaurant Discounts

Ethnic Grocery & Restaurant Discount

“Ethnic Grocery & Restaurant Discounts”

The GSA is delighted to announce that all McMaster students and staff are entitled to exciting discounts for a wide array of ethnic grocery stores and restaurants in the region. Go and grab different food items and dishes from across the globe- Watch the video below for more details!

Gardening for Wellness Program

Gardening for Wellness Program

The GSA & CUPE 3906 are pleased to launch the “Gardening for Wellness” Program in partnership with Hamilton Victory Gardens to support the well-being of students.

All students are welcome to apply to have an enjoyable time full of exciting gardening activities in any of the three sites of Hamilton Victory Gardens:
1) Venture Centre
2) St Helen’s
3) Jones Road

Please visit the website for more information about the locations.

This program runs from mid-April to Oct. and provides students with the opportunity to:
–Engage with nature for a meditating time
–Participate in various exciting gardening activities (no prior experience required)
–Socialize with other students and community members (while following public health guidelines)
–Plant, grow, and harvest fruits and vegetables; students experiencing food insecurity may discuss with the coordinator about bringing home seasonal produce

How to register:
Interested students are welcome to fill out the application form here. There is a section in the application form asking you to upload a filled/signed waiver. Please find the waiver form here.

General guidelines:
1. Hamilton Victory Gardens will reach out to applicants regarding their application and next steps.
2. Acceptance into this program depends on submitting a complete application with all required information. Students will be based on a first-come, first-serve basis.
3. The GSA & CUPE 3906 do not provide shuttle buses to the garden sites. It is the responsibility of successful applicants provide their own transportation.

Questions? Please contact ( OR reach out to Sarah.

International-Domestic Peer Support Program

International-Domestic Peer Support Program

The GSA is pleased to launch the International-Domestic Peer Support Program in partnership with CUPE 3906 and various organizations at the UofT, University of Waterloo, uOttawa and Queen’s University. The program is also supported by different associations at McMaster, including the IGSA.

Overview: The International-Domestic Peer Support Program provides an organized cross-institutional network to foster positive, friendly connections between international and domestic students and fellows, by encouraging community-building through knowledge and experience sharing related to topics such as academic studies and training, career paths, professional development, and life in Canada.

Structure: The program runs over a 5-month period (May-September). Participants are paired with a peer-supporter based on their requested level of study, institution, cultural learning opportunities, and individual support. Matches are always optimized to meet applicants’ first preferences, however, this is not guaranteed as it largely depends on the applicant pool.

Criteria for participation: Participants can be an international OR domestic + undergraduate student, OR graduate student, OR postdoctoral fellow. Participants can be from any faculty and/or program from an institution that is affiliated with the program. Participants can request a partnership with a peer at their own institution or another affiliate institution that’s listed on the application form.

Mission: To build a blended cross-institutional community which embraces diversity in order to cultivate an inclusive space for knowledge and experience sharing among academic peers. Partnerships between international and domestic peers are built with the intent to foster belonging and a sense of community.

Commitment and Events:
1. Participants must attend in a minimum of four (4) mutual peer support meetings (online, and/or in- person) during the 5-month program.
2. Participants must attend the 1-hour orientation session organized by the program co-ordinators in May.
3. Participants must attend the Ceremony of multi-culturalism at the end of the program (Fall term 2021, specific date TBD)


Please fill out the application here. Deadline is April 14th.


Questions? Please contact Sarah.

McMaster Fun & Comfy Zone

McMaster Fun & Comfy Zone

The McMaster Fun & Comfy Zone is an online-based safe space based on a partnership between the GSA and CUPE 3906 for All McMaster Students to escape the university’s routine and have some fun & comfy time by enjoying amazing photos, inspiring stories of their fellows, and much more! Join us, participate and encourage your fellows by hitting like and leaving encouraging, nice comments! If you have not already, JOIN US TODAY by following our Facebook & Instagram pages.  
How it works: 

The McMaster Fun & Comfy Zone runs through wonderful submissions by McMaster students. Our Zone has a unique theme for every month, so you always get excited! All submissions that follow the guidelines below will be shared on our Zone and at the end of every month, all submissions will be entered into a contest on the Zone, and the GSA & CUPE 3906 social media. Each of the first six submissions with most votes will win a $25 gift card and will be featured in the weekly newsletter! Watch the demo above for more info.!

General guidelines:
1. For every month, new submissions are accepted any day until the 25th to allow for the contest to run on the last 3-4 days of every month. 
2. The components of submissions vary according to the theme and are announced on social media at the beginning of every month.

3. The schedule for posting the submissions on the Zone and social media will be based on a first come, first serve basis.
4. Only one submission per student per month is permitted.
Please note that in our Zone we do not accept nor tolerate any behaviour that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of any individual or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment, including any kind of harassment or discrimination based on any ground.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to Sarah

July’s theme (Walk Around the World)

It’s Summertime! Submit a PHOTO for any interesting thing you come across during your WALK in any part of the world! Submit here.

Thanks to all participants for their breathtaking submissions for July’s theme! Watch the video above for the entire album and vote for the best submissions here.  

August’s theme (Summer Vacation Inspirations)

It’s Summer Vacation! Submit a 75-word self-reflection of “what summer vacation does mean to you” as a university student! This can be anything from fun activities to school related things, etc (Support your self-reflection with a PHOTO!). Submit here!

GSA Indigenous Solidarity Statement

GSA Indigenous Solidarity Statement

The Graduate Student Association would like to extend its sincerest condolences to Indigenous students and communities in the wake of the horrifying, though unsurprising, discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children on the grounds of the Kamloops residential school as well as the 751 and 182 unmarked graves that were discovered in Saskatchewan and British Columbia, respectively. From physical and sexual abuse to human experimentation, residential schools unleashed the most barbaric violence against Indigenous children, sponsored by the settler-colonial state of Canada. Therefore, contrary to Prime Minister Trudeau’s claim that the operation of residential schools, forced abduction of Indigenous children from their parents, and the abuses and murders that occurred with the school grounds, constituted a “dark and shameful chapter” of Canadian history, we recognize that Canada was established through the perpetration of genocide against the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. To this day, Canada continues to ethnically cleanse, kill, and oppress Indigenous peoples, as by denying them access to clean water and adequate healthcare, and disproportionately incarcerating them.

The GSA echoes recent calls upon the Canadian government to conduct a full investigation of former residential school grounds, and to cease its pursuit of current court litigations against Indigenous communities. We advocate for the right of Indigenous communities to pursue avenues towards self-governance and call upon federal and provincial governments to cease their obstructionist tactics in preventing attempts for Indigenous communities to maintain their ways of life in their ancestral lands. Further, we echo the calls of the McMaster Student Union on McMaster University to fire Glenn De Caire and remove police from our campus, due to their racist history, and to condemn Canadian settler-colonialism.

Support services can be contacted at:

Indigenous Wellness Counsellor, Indigenous Student Services ( – for students

Elder-in-Residence, Indigenous Student Services (

Hope for Wellness Help Line, 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at

Other resources include:

Hamilton Regional Indian Centre

Legacy of Hope Foundation

Indian Residential School Survivor Society

Native Women’s Association of Canada

Sign the Petition calling for additional searches of Canadian Residential School grounds and surrounding areas.

Sign the petition calling for a National Day of Mourning