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.

Overview:
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 (volunteer@hamiltonvictorygardens.org) 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 (nusseya@mcmaster.ca) – for students

Elder-in-Residence, Indigenous Student Services (indigsc@mcmaster.ca)

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

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

Official Statement on Palestine

Official Statement on Palestine

McMaster GSA would like to extend its utmost solidarity with the Palestinian people, who have been collectively resisting Israeli settler-colonialism and apartheid since 1948. In May 2021, Israel’s violence against Palestinians intensified, with violence and ethnic cleansing in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian lands of Sheikh Jarrah and the West Bank, heavy bombardment of the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip, and attacks on worshippers and the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. In the Gaza Strip alone, Israel killed at least 243 Palestinians, including 66 children, and wounded 1,910. Israel’s genocidal actions are reminiscent of those of Canada and other settler-colonial regimes. Thus, we call for the dismantlement of settler-colonialism everywhere it exists. Israel must provide equal rights to Palestinians, dismantle its apartheid wall, allow Palestinian refugees to return, in compliance with UN Resolution 194, and end its illegal occupation and colonization of Palestinian land. We welcome our members’ solidarity and support for the Palestinian cause.

Below are some recommended books to learn more about the Palestinian plight:

Uncivil Rites: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom (Steven Salaita)

The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017 (Rashid Khalidi)

Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History (Nur Masalha)

The Question of Palestine (Edward W. Said)

The Battle for Justice in Palestine (Ali Abunimah)

Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine (Noura Erakat)

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Ilan Pappe)

Here are some accounts you can follow:

@mcmastersphr @psc_yorku @cjpmeofficial @ijvcanada @theimeu @subhi.taha @eye.on.palestine @palestinianyouthmovement @mohammedelkurd @nouraerakat

McMaster University Support Services:

Empower me

Student Wellness Center

“Places to Fall in Love with” Contest

"Places to Fall in Love with" Contest

The GSA is delighted to launch the “Place to Fall in Love with” initiative to introduce the McMaster community to various breathtaking places from across the globe where our multi-cultural graduate students came from or live(d). This will show the beautiful aspects of our diversity and help build a stronger McMaster community!

Overview
All McMaster grad students are welcome to send us a photo and a brief description of a place they love or that has a special meaning for them. The photos will be shared with the entire McMaster graduate community in our weekly GSA emails and social media. At the end of every month, each featured photo will be entered into a contest on the weekly GSA email and social media that will last for three days. The photo with the most votes will win a $25 gift card. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite photos and share them with your friends!”

General guidelines:
1. New photo submissions are due on Wednesdays before 11:59 PM in order to be selected for the Friday weekly email.
2. The photo submissions should include three parts: 1) Photo; 2) Short Description; and3) Google Maps Street View/Location.
3. The photo submissions will be shared in the GSA email and social media weekly on a “first come, first served basis”.
4. Preferences will be given to students who have not previously had a featured photo. More details in the sign-up form!

Sign-up form here (https://forms.office.com/r/41UED55ang)

Questions? Please contact the GSA VP-External at (gsavpext@mcmaster.ca)

GSA Denounces the Ford Government’s Adoption of the Anti-Palestinian IHRA-WDA

GSA Denounces the Ford Government’s Adoption of the Anti-Palestinian IHRA-WDA

The McMaster Graduate Students Association (GSA) denounces the Ford government’s recent adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism (IHRA-WDA) due to its anti-Palestinianism, anti-democratic nature, and the serious threat it poses to academic freedom at McMaster University, and more broadly, in the province.

The IHRA-WDA conflates
antisemitism with criticism of Israel, which is a settler-colonial and apartheid state.
Israel has a well-documented history of violating the rights of the indigenous
Palestinians, as by illegally denying the right of Palestinian refugees to
return to their homes and lands, detaining and torturing Palestinian children,
arresting Palestinians without charge or trial, and illegally occupying
Palestinian territories. To label the critique of Israel antisemitic is absurd,
and as highlighted by Corey Balsam of Independent
Jewish Voices Canada
(IJV), is dangerously “‘undermining the
battle against genuine antisemitism.’” Rather, the IHRA-WDA appropriates
resistance against antisemitism to perpetuate oppression against the
Palestinians without challenge.

GSA notes that the IHRA-WDA
was adopted by the Ford government unilaterally, via an Order
in Council, after it circumvented a scheduled third hearing and public debate
on the associated Bill 168, evident of its anti-democratic nature. Indeed, according
to a recent survey, 80%
of Canadians reject the conflation of antisemitism and critique of Israel.
Further, as noted by a recent article, this new definition not only poses a threat to scholarship and activism
that is critical of Israel, but could ban “teaching influential Jewish scholars
such as Hannah Arendt and Judith Butler, the post-colonial legend Edward Said,
Black liberation scholar Angela Davis and a long list of other scholars because
of their critical work on Israel.” This definition is particularly concerning
for the McMaster community, as it prides itself for its diversity and
critically-oriented scholarship. Many McMaster graduate students, especially those
who are racialized, now face the threat of censorship, dismissal, unemployment,
and more, sheerly due to their principled advocacy for Palestinian rights.

GSA joins a wide array of progressive organizations, such as CUPE 3906, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, IJV, and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, in viewing the Ford government’s adoption of IHRA-WDA as an attack on free speech, particularly academic freedom. It also reaffirms the right to critique all foreign states, including Israel. GSA urges the Ontario government to retract its adoption of the IHRA-WDA. In addition, we call on the McMaster University Board of Governors (BOG) to protect free speech on campus and the rights of Palestinians by unequivocally rejecting this flawed definition. Instead, we propose that the BOG adopt IJV’s progressive Working Definition of Antisemitism that links antisemitism to other forms of oppression, including white supremacy and Islamophobia, ruling out criticism of Israel as antisemitic.

This letter was put forward by a majority vote of the Student Issues Actions Committee (SIAC) with those present at the SIAC meeting on Wednesday, November 25th, 2020. This letter was then approved by a majority vote of the GSA Council with those present at the monthly Council meeting on Thursday, November 26th, 2020.