Getting to know your Graduate Students Council

Alex Moszczynski, PhD

Welcome to graduate school…welcome back to graduate school…and for those of you who have spent your entire summer in the lab, you’re doing a great job.

This academic year, the Schulich Medicine & Dentistry Graduate Students Council and I would like to get to know each and every one of you. We are graduate students in each of the School’s MSc and PhD programs, and we work to make life a little better for all of you. Knowing who your department representative is will be useful, so feel free to say hello and approach us with any questions or concerns. If we do not know the answer, we will point you in the direction of someone who does.
The Council represents a common space for all Schulich Medicine & Dentistry students, and a voice to help mediate discussion between departments, students and administration. In addition to this, we hope to continue Kelly Gutpell’s vision as the previous Council Chair to focus our attention on creating a unified community where everyone is welcome.

We would like to announce the creation of two new positions, which we hope new students will interview for:

Secretary/Treasurer: This role is responsible for taking notes at meetings and dispersing them to all members afterward.

Social Coordinator/Social Media Liaison: This role is responsible for participating principally in planning and orchestrating events, and communicating with the School’s Communications Department to help put out messages on the official Facebook and Twitter pages.

This year we will also be taking a three-pronged approach to making all of our experiences as great as can be:

Academic excellence: We will help promote academic achievement for graduate students by promoting and holding academic-relevant events. We will be promoting Research Bites at the Grad Club. This is a series of informal academic presentations organized by the Research Office where students and faculty members can come together and talk about their research. Stay tuned for more exciting academic-related events.

Community: We want everyone to know everyone. There are about 670 students here — that is pretty much the population of a small town. And if everyone can know everyone in a small town, we can at least be vaguely aware of each other’s presence (hey… I think I recognize that dude from some event I was at).

I don’t think it’s too much to ask of your friendly neighborhood Council to organize a few events that have nothing to do with your research and will give you the opportunity to be in the same place at the same time as other graduate students. I also promise we will try to organize these things at times that will not conflict with your busy lives.

The first event will be an open mic night in early October. It’s still in the works, so stay tuned for details and start sharpening up those skills — dust off that old guitar, get out your juggling pins, or practice your standup routine. If you don’t like being on stage, come support your friends (or people like me who will be up there embarrassing themselves — it’s free).

If you can’t make it in October, plan to come out to our movie night. We are planning a showing of V for Vendetta on November 5 (Guy Fawkes Night, for anyone who cares). We will have printed Guy Fawkes masks for everyone to wear during the show — reason enough to come.

Health: Let’s be real here — we’re trainees at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, so we all do research on human health in some capacity. Let’s embody the spirit of health promotion. Starting in October, we will be organizing a fitness challenge. The person who tracks the most minutes at the Western Student Rec Centre will be the winner of a free fitness tracker. This initiative will be kicked off by our participation in the Get Active London event taking place throughout October. We will also be having fitness sessions led by some of the council members, so keep your eye out for details.

All of these fun and exciting events and activities are taking place in the fall semester. If you have any ideas you’d like to see take place in the winter semester, let us know and we will try to make it happen.

On behalf of the Graduate Students Council, we are looking forward to an amazing year with you. We hope you are too.

Until next month,

Alex Moszczynski
PhD Candidate, Department of Neuroscience
Chair, Graduate Students Council, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry