Campus Digest

By Communications Staff
April 14, 2011

SOGS stays with CFS

Members of Western’s Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) voted to continue membership in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). In results announced late Thursday, April 7, graduate students voted 450-241 in favour of staying with the organization which has represented SOGS for more than 25 years.

“I am not at all surprised that a strong majority of graduate students at Western saw the value in continued membership,” says Rick Telfer, who represented a group in favour of staying in CFS. “With strong endorsements from organizations like the UWO Faculty Association and the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the 30-year-old federation is known as the leading voice for students, post-secondary education and research in Canada, and as an influential advocate for social justice and human rights more generally.

“My hope is that SOGS will return to the table of this important organization in a way that is productive and that brings the work of the federation back to this campus.”

The results become official once they’re recognized by the National Executive of the Federation at a later date.


GTA elects new leadership

The University of Western Ontario’s Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Union (Public Service Alliance of Canada, Local 610) has tapped new leadership for the upcoming year. Results of the election were announced Thursday, April 7.

Elected leaders include Katy Fulfer, president; Rick Telfer, community alliance chair; Mary Eileen Winnekers, information committee chair; Gabriel Elias, treasurer; and Nadia El-Sherbini, secretary.

Chief stewards include Lee Yee Gamble (Arts and Humanities), Muhamad Foizul Islam Chowdury (Biological Sciences), Navid Golbon (Physical Sciences), Heather Wilk (Social Sciences), Mehran Behazin (Occupational Health and Safety officer) and Reuven Brandt (ombudsperson).

All appointments are for one year with the exception of the Occupational Health and Safety officer, which is a two-year term. All terms start June 1 with the exception of the president, who starts Sept. 1.

The UWO-GTA Union is composed solely of Western’s graduate teaching assistants. Although the UWO-GTA Union is a local of PSAC, GTAs establish the priorities and policies of the local.

For information, visit



Forchuk named Champion of Mental Health

Dr. Cheryl Forchuk, a researcher at The University of Western Ontario, Lawson Health Research Institute, was awarded the annual Champion of Mental Health Award, presented each year at the Breakfast of Champions to an individual or group who has made a significant contribution to mental health care and advocacy.

Forchuk is one of Canada’s leading researchers focusing her efforts on issues related to community integration for people diagnosed with mental illness.

“Dr. Forchuk stands out as a champion in the research and development of the most practical areas of service, such as therapeutic relationships, social support, housing and homelessness,” says Mike Petrenko, Canadian Mental Health Association-London Middlesex executive director.

The announcement was shared with the nearly 1,000 community and corporate leaders who attended the 2011 event, now in its 5th year. The project further strengthens the care partnership between St. Joseph’s Health Care London and the CMHA- London Middlesex and will ensure services reach more people efficiently.


Women’s Caucus essay contest open

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2011 Women’s Caucus Essay Contest.

Each submission needs to be an original work (term paper, seminar paper, etc.) from any discipline involving feminist research about women. Maximum length is 3,000 words for undergraduate essays, 6,000 words for graduate essays. Style needs to be scholarly, but accessible.

Collaborative efforts are welcomed, although only one entry per student is allowed.

Two $200 awards – one for undergraduate, one for graduate students – will recognize students whose creativity, scholarship and understanding of issues facing women in society and across cultures demonstrate a strong grasp of feminist theory and practice.

Essays may be submitted any time before the April 30 deadline. Four paper copies are required to be sent to Marg Sloan, Women’s Caucus Executive, Sociology and Women’s Studies Librarian, The D.B. Weldon Library. No electronic submissions will be accepted.

For more information, contact Sloan at


Purple Bikes program awarded $20,000

Making an impact on becoming a greener campus, the Purple Bikes program has been awarded $20,000 over the next five years by the London Community Foundation to fund its bike repair workspace. 

The money was awarded through the annual ‘Clean Air Challenge’ designed to address air quality issues through new innovative ideas. The program has been providing tools and inventory for members since 2010.  Some of the award will allow Purple Bikes to run community bike rides and biannual repair workshops. 

“The London Community Foundation award supports Purple Bikes efforts to make cycling in London more accessible and promote a clean, healthy and cost-effective means of travel,” says Kevin Yaraskvitch, who co-chairs the Purple Bike program with Mimmi Thompson.

The Purple Bikes program is composed of two major branches, the bike workshop and the bike share. The grant money will increase the capacity of both of these programs by expanding the inventory of tools and basic parts for members, increasing the hours of the bike workspace beyond two evenings a week, and growing the number of community memberships and publicize the availability of the workspace to the London community.

For more information, visit


Former professor makes mark on Museum London

Museum London’s new exhibition, Duncan de Kergommeaux: These are the Marks I Make, features works from three decades of the former University of Western Ontario professor’s career as an artist.

The exhibition, which opened Saturday, surveys a career that has spanned almost six decades. It displays a selection of works from the collections of Museum London and the McIntosh Gallery. The works range from his formative abstractions of the 1950s and illuminated cube works of the 1960s, to the systematized, process-oriented grid paintings and support specific drawings of the 1970s.

Since 1953 de Kergommeaux has had more than 50 solo exhibitions and has been included in more than 100 group exhibitions including the Third and Sixth Biennials of Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada. Born in British Columbia, he moved to London in 1970 and worked as a professor of drawing and painting. de Kergommeaux is now an emeritus professor at the university.

The opening reception for These are the Marks I Make is 8 p.m. Thursday, April 21 at Museum London. Admission is free.


Fundraising efforts bring in $9,200 (and counting) for Japan relief

Ongoing fundraising efforts at Huron University College have raised $1,601.30 for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. This sum has been generated through a donation box and proceeds from the March 24 concert in the Huron Chapel that featured pianist and Western alum Kumi Miyagawa.
Volunteers are helping to organize donation boxes in several places throughout the city, so far raising an additional $ 3,195.32. In addition, the Japan Student Association at Western has raised $4,400. Altogether, donations top $9,200.

Theresa Hyland, Writing and Cross Cultural Services director at Huron, asserts this collective fundraising is not a short-lived project. “There is a continuing effort to raise funds at specific places around campus so we hope to hit the $10,000 mark soon,” Hyland says. “Of course, we realize that the problems caused by the earthquake, tsunami and now the radiation are not going to be solved easily or quickly.”

Discussions have begun about ongoing efforts to fundraise in the summer and autumn of this year.
For more information on the efforts to raise funds in support of victims of the Sendai earthquake and subsequent tsunami, please contact Hyland at

Renix raises start-up funds

Renix Inc., a London-based organization commercializing the world’s first uninterrupted continuous ion exchange technology, has raised $650,000 in start-up investment funding. With the support of the investors at this stage, Renix will build the first industrial pilot unit, and support the commercial launch of this innovative separation processing technology. The investors in this round include Sustainable Chemistry Alliance, the Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Southwestern Ontario Angel Group.

Renix was formed to commercialize platform technology developed at The University of Western Ontario and started commercialization efforts in late 2009.


Music grads head to Calgary

Three recent Don Wright of Faculty of Music graduates have earned the opportunity to study and perform under a highly prestigious professional staff of teachers and performers.

Mark Ellis Gough (baritone), Michael Marino (tenor) and Clarence Frazer (baritone) will be part of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Development Program, intended to benefit Canadian singers who have completed pre-professional training at an opera program. The program serves as a bridge between academic programs and the professional world of opera, offering the experience and practical skills necessary to succeed as a self-employed professional in a highly competitive international environment.

Gough studied in the studios of Torin Chiles, Theodore Baerg, and Todd Wieczorek. He received his Bachelor of Musical Arts and an Artist Diploma from Western in 2007, making his European debut in the summer of 2009 as Calchas in La Belle Hellene. This summer he will be singing Conte Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro in the inaugural season of the Academia Europea Dell'Opera.

Marino recently finished a Masters in Performance and Literature Western under the mentorship of Baerg. His recent performances include Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme with Kitchener Opera, Rodolfo with Highlands Opera Studio and Romeo in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette with Opera NUOVA. He also performed the roles of Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and Sam Kaplan (Street Scene) while studying at Western.

Frazer studied voice at Western under the mentorship of Baerg and Kevin McMillan. Over the past year, Frazer’s opera appearances has wowed audiences from Edmonton and London to the Adriatic coast of Italy in roles such as Masetto in Don Giovanni (Concert Opera Group) and Falstaff in Verdi's Falstaff (Opera NUOVA).


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