Lungu is also currently engaged with a number of mental health initiatives, including organizing a two-day mental health first-aid training for executive officers, commissioners, and graduate students to take part in. She is also working in collaboration with Mental Health Services, Counselling Services, and the Peer Support Network on a video which will include testimonials from students, that seeks to address and decrease the stigma associated with mental health issues. According to Lungu, the project has fallen behind schedule and the video may not be able to be released in February as originally planned.
Internal Affairs Officer, Ge Sa
This year, Sa has been trying to organize more family-friendly events to accommodate PGSS members who are also parents.
“We have had, among others, an outdoor movie night […] an apple-picking trip, special ticket deals to the Botanical Garden, La Ronde, and many music or comedy shows,” he said. “We’ll [also] be having a Holiday Movie Marathon Week in December at Thomson House.”
Sa believes that financial support is an area of improvement that his portfolio could benefit from. He is currently working with Pinto to establish an Intramural Sports Grant, with an aim to encourage members to be more physically active. They are also working on a project to improve Thomson House, but both projects will require significant financial support.”
Academic Affairs Officer, Jennifer Murray
Murray worked on the amendments to the regulations and guidelines for graduate student supervision, which were passed in Senate in October. The amendments increased accountability for both the supervisors and the supervisees, and is part of the long term push to improve advising for graduate students.
Also, as part of her portfolio on library improvements, Murray recruited graduate students to sit at feasibility study groups for the library master plan.
Murray, also explained that the transition of over 1,200 graduate students, postdoctoral, and clinical fellows to the new Glen superhospital will pose challenges to PGSS members, and she will be working to support students during the move.
Secretary-General, Juan Pinto
The biggest challenge for Pinto remains pushing a PGSS referendum to separate from the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). After 5 years of litigation, the Superior Court of Quebec granted a PGSS member the right to ask for a referendum to leave CFS—a step in the right direction for all of PGSS, according to Pinto. However, the main challenge for Pinto and the rest of PGSS remains the referendum itself, and it remains to be seen how the process will unfold.
Financial Affairs Officer, Nikki Meadows
External Affairs Officer, Julien Ouellet
According to Ouellet, the major challenge he has faced has been austerity measures and the difficulty of implementing a subsidized Société de transport de Montreal (STM) pass for students who are older than 25. As the STM is currently operating under a deficit, Ouellet remains optimistic that he will be able to complete this initiative once the STM has balanced their budget.