The Graduate Student Society (GSS) operates similarly to the AMS but at the graduate level, advocating for graduate student-specific interests to the university and all levels of government. The GSS also runs the Thea Koerner House Graduate Student Centre at the north end of campus.
The GSS has five executives elected by students in the spring of every academic year. The president this year is Sam Kenston. Kenston is responsible for steering the work of the GSS and serving as its spokesperson. Ismail Muftau is the GSS VP university and academic affairs — he advocates for graduate student needs to the university. Violeta Fabiani is the VP external relations. She advocates for grad student needs at all levels of government, and will likely collaborate with the AMS VP external affairs on lobby weeks and campaigns. Tobi Olowoyo is the VP student affairs this year and she hosts events to maintain a graduate student community. Finally, Tayo Olarewaju is the GSS’s financial officer and he manages the society’s finances.
The GSS, like the AMS, operates services for the graduate student community. The GSS operates its own Peer Support service, tailored specifically to grad students. Students can access peer-to-peer assistance on issues such as housing, debt, academics and personal issues.
Students can also access financial support through the GSS. The society operates the Graduate Student Financial Aid Fund, which supports graduate students experiencing unforeseen financial hardship. The GSS is involved in the administration of the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan (more on page 71). Grad students demonstrating financial need can also access the Health Plan Premium Assistance Fund for partial or full reimbursement of the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Fee.
Why you should vote
The GSS charges each graduate student a $61.51 Graduate Student Society fee every year — including a capital improvement fee, among others. If you want your money to be spent in a way that would benefit you and your classmates, vote. If you’re unsatisfied with the candidates, consider running for GSS executive. Elections take place in the spring, right after AMS elections.