Friday, October 31, 2008

Travel awards

Hey grads,

Wonderful news: I am now collecting names for the BISC grad caucus travel award lottery. If you are interested in entering the draw, please send me an email to that effect. Just your name is fine; we don't need to know what conference, etc. You are eligible if you have attended or plan to attend a conference between Sept. 1, 2008 and Aug 31, 2009.

There are six awards, each worth $100, and winners are determined by a random draw from a hat. We will draw names at the next caucus meeting, which will be on November 28.

Make sure to keep your receipts from conferences that you attend, even if you don't win an award this round, as we may have additional funds to hand out come summer.

So, send me an email sometime in the next 2 weeks if you are interested, and feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Good luck!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Caucus meeting this Wed., 3:30-4:30pm

Hello everyone,

We will be having our October caucus meeting this Wednesday, Oct. 29th, from 3:30-4:30pm in the grad lounge, 7000 level biology (agenda attached).

On the menu:
 - Results of the logo contest
 - Departmental Graduate Studies Committee (DGSC) Grad Rep election
 - GSS Travel Grants: the caucus will now control how and when these grants are given out to grads in our department... how should we do it?
 - Christmas Party fun
 - Ice cold beverages and snacks!

Only an hour - come out and meet your fellow caucus members!


Erica Jeffery
Jerry Ericsson

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Free notarization - US election mail-in ballots

Hi all,

I just heard that some US states require notarization of mail-in ballots for the US election. In light of this, I wanted to remind you that all grad students can get documents notarized FOR FREE at the on-campus free legal clinic.

The legal clinic is held on Thursdays all year round. You can make an appointment through the SFSS General Office by visiting Maggie Benston Centre Room 2250, emailing, or calling 778-782-3181.

Happy voting!

Clea Moray
GSS President

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

TODAY: on-campus federal election debate - candidates from Burnaby-Douglas

A federal election debate will be happening today, Oct 8th at 4:30 in West Mall 3520.

Come to hear and question the candidates from the Burnaby-Douglas riding debate the issues you care about.

Candidates appearing include (in party alphabetical order):
- Green Party - Doug Perry
- Liberal Party - Bill Cunningham
- New Democratic Party - Bill Siksay
(No Conservative candidate was available.)

Join us at the Highland Pub afterward to mingle, talk politics and get involved!

Clea Moray
GSS President

Clea Moray
President, The Graduate Student Society at Simon Fraser University (tel: 778-782-3899;
M.Sc. Candidate, Biology Department
Simon Fraser University


Monday, October 06, 2008

Call for 2 new student DGSC reps

Hi grads:

Over the next few months, both Jeff Joy and I will be coming to the end of our terms as DGSC reps.  Because of this, we need to elect 2 new grads to fill these positions.  Jeff and  I will be leaving our positions in a staggered fashion (one new rep to start in November, and another in February-March) so that there's a bit of overlap with incoming reps to ease the transition.

The position runs for a ~2 year term, is year-round, and is typically limited to students who already have a couple years experience in the department.  Because of this, DGSC rep positions are limited to PhD students who have already been in their program for a couple of years, and don't have any major fieldwork (or, other reasons to be away from campus for long stretches of time) left.

Being a DGSC rep is a great way to get to know the inner workings of the department, and have an influence on how the grad program is run within the Biology department.  There's a brief blurb about student rep responsibilities on the Biology Grad Caucus website – click on this link and go to the bottom of the page (  The 2 student members have full voting rights on the committee, so because of this, grads are able to have a fair bit of influence on decisions taking place at the DGSC, through their reps.  In general, the major responsibilities of the position tend to be:

  • reviewing all incoming applications to the department, and all applications to switch up to a PhD from an MSc
  • attending ~monthly DGSC meetings (less frequent in the summer), where issues related to the grad student program are discussed.  These could include things like courses and course requirements, completion time, student funding, student supervisor relationships and other issues directly related to the department's grad program.
  • soliciting feedback from grads on any major issues under discussion, or decisions about to be made, by the DGSC. 
  • attending the monthly grad caucus meetings, to provide an update on the most recent DGSC meeting.
  • being available to talk to grads about any issues that they may have related to their program.  This may include providing more information on grad student 'rights' within the department, providing advice on who to go to about problems that are being experienced, or being prepared to act on behalf of another grad student (if this is desired) and raise issues with the DGSC chair, or other appropriate members of the department, for them.

In short – this is a great position, and I think that both Jeff and I feel like we've gained a lot through being DGSC reps.  Anyone interested in becoming a DGSC rep can nominate themselves, and the vote for both positions will be by grad students, at the next grad caucus meeting (Wed, October 29, 3:30 pm).   We'll also provide an opportunity for those who can't make the caucus meeting to vote.  We're going to get a short (paragraph-long) blurb from everyone who's interested in the position, stating why they think they'd make a good rep.  Names of those up for election, and their blurbs will be circulated before the meeting, and read out at the meeting right before the vote.  You can send your blurb to Jeff ( or me ( up until the Friday (24th) before the vote, and we'll circulate them the following Monday.

Let either of us know if you have any questions!


Jeff and Suzanne