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)

2021 GSA Election Result & AGM

2021 GSA Election Result & AGM

The 2021 GSA election results is here! Congratulations to the winner!

President: Caroline Seiler
Vice President External: Sarah Elshahat
Vice President Service: Wei Zhao
Vice President Administration: Harneet Hothi
FRC – Social Sciences: Ghada Sasa
FRC-Business: Ce Ji & Lingze Meng

The detailed election data is here.

The 2021 GSA AGM has been held on last Friday. Please have a look at the recorded meeting if you missed it at here. Password:!!#bN4zM

2021 GSA Election Vote has OPENED! Vote Now!

2021 GSA Election Vote has OPENED! Vote Now!

The 2021 GSA election will open from Monday, March 22nd 10am to Wednesday, March 25th 6pm!

Here is a link to ALL the candidates’ statements on our website. 

Please cast your ballot here:

Note:

  • You need to login with your MacID to access the election poll.
  • At the end of the election date, we will check voters eligibility.

Besides, we have 2 candidates for the GSA President 2021-2022! Saturday, March 20th at 2 p.m. Thus, there is a Presidential Debate between 2 candidates Spencer and Caroline. Please have a look at their performance at Zoom!

GSA Annual General Meeting on March 26th @ 10:00 AM

2021 GSA Annual General Meeting on March 26th @ 10:00 AM

The 2021 GSA Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on March 26th @ 10:00 AM!

Register here!

Please check the following AGM documents:

Don’t forget to mark the date on your calendar!

GSA EXECUTIVE AND BOARD POSITIONS OPEN

GSA EXECUTIVE AND BOARD POSITIONS OPEN

Calling all students! Applications for the Graduate Student Association (GSA) have been extended. Positions for GSA Executives (paid!), Board of Directors (volunteer!), and Faculty Representatives of the Council (volunteer!) are available. Nomination forms are available here. The nomination period will finally close on Monday, March 15th at 12:00 p.m.

We would like to report to you on the academic year April 2020 to April 2021. While many changes happened, we are so excited to connect with all of you at our GSA Annual General Meeting on March 26th, 2021 at 10 a.m. Save the date to attend and vote on proposed changes for the 2021-2022 year! 

Graduate student elections to the Senate. Voting for grad student representatives to McMaster’s Senate is open March 15 to 17. For more information, including a list of candidates, visit the Daily News.

Graduate Students’ Response to New Federal Isolation Requirements and 3-Day Mandatory Hotel Stay

Graduate Students' Response to New Federal Isolation Requirements and 3-Day Mandatory Hotel Stay

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Alireza Kamyabi

UBC Graduate Student Society
VP External Relations
vpexternal@ubc.gss.ca
778-319-6414

Graduate students call on federal government to utilize university residence isolation plans
as an equitable alternative to mandatory hotel stay for arriving international students

Eight graduate student societies and associations, representing 91,000 graduate
students across Canada, are calling on the federal government to approve university-administered quarantine plans at university residences as an equitable alternative to 3-day mandatory hotel stay for arriving international students.

On February 21st, 2021, Canada introduced new restrictions on international travel requiring all travellers arriving in Canada to isolate in a federally-approved hotel for three days at their own expense. While restrictions on international travel to Canada are required to ensure safety and wellbeing of travellers and residents, we believe the unequitable barriers to entry to Canada must be mitigated for those that must enter the country for essential travel.

Graduate students are a group that must enter Canada to be able to partake in their studies, which is primarily research which takes place in research facilities on and around campuses.

As organizations advocating on behalf of graduate students, our priority is the health and safety of our respective student bodies and broader community. We believe university residences’ isolation programs are a safe, equitable and affordable alternative to mandatory 3-day hotel stay for international graduate students who must enter the country for their research and studies.

Quotes from GSS/GSA Student Leaders on the impact of this letter:

    “We believe there is an opportunity here to utilize university residence isolation programs as a safe and affordable alternative to mandatory hotel stay that will reduce costs for students and allow for greater utilization of hotel space for other arriving groups. Our university residences’ quarantine plans have proven to be safe and effective programs so far and we think approving them would be beneficial especially as we universities to re-open and more students arrive in Canada:
Alireza Kamyabi, Vice-President External Relations, Graduate Student Society of University of British Columbia Vancouver

    “International graduate students are key contributors to the academic mission of Canadian universities, and we need to reduce travel-related barriers so they can begin or continue their studies here. Our universities’ federally-approved isolation packages are the ideal compromise between affordability, safety, and accessibility for these students.”
Marc Waddingham, President, University of Alberta’s Graduate Student Association,
gsa.president@ualberta.ca

    “It’s already difficult for international students to adjust to a foreign country. In addition to that, incoming international students face high financial stress due to increased payments that are required to start a life in a new home country. Forcing students to also pay a minimum of $2,000 for a hotel room stay is creating more financial barriers for students, especially when universities are prepared to receive international students during the pandemic and have government approved quarantine plans in place.”
Humaira Inam, President, University of Saskatchewan’s Graduate Students’ Association