The Society of Graduate Students is moving to Middlesex College: on March 1, they’ll be open for business.
On Feb. 19, SOGS closed their office in the University Community Centre and began their move across campus to Middlesex College. Their new office will be in the basement in room 8, near the Grad Club. The space was previously a collection of unused classrooms that Western University has refurbished for SOGS' use. The new hub cost around $50,000 and will include a board room, community space, office spaces and more.
This move comes after a decades-long battle to find a more suitable office for Western’s graduate students, according to Madison Bettle, SOGS' vice-president student services. Bettle said SOGS executives have long requested an office move, citing that the UCC is predominantly an undergraduate facility and that SOGS office should move to a location closer to other graduate student amenities on campus.
“Establishing a graduate centre remained one of the key goals of SOGS for several decades,” Bettle said in an email.
Bettle said Middlesex was a good choice for the new office, believing it will create more visible and cohesive space for graduate students.
“Undergraduates essentially call the UCC home,” Bettle said. “Now that both the SOGS office and the Grad Club will be housed in one location …, we believe SOGS will have greater visibility given the kind of traffic the Grad Club receives on a daily basis.”
Previously, SOGS found that their second-floor UCC office was cramped and inaccessible to many students. SOGS also argued that the new office would provide more privacy for graduate students by giving them their own space in a lower-traffic building. Because of this, Bettle views the move “as a huge step forward."
“Since Middlesex College is already visually associated with the Grad Club, SOGS (and graduate student life as a whole) will soon be associated with the building as well,” Bettle explained.
Of the new office, Bettle said SOGS will create a space for graduate students to book and hold meetings. Currently, graduate students have no dedicated space for this and must book classrooms on campus. Bettle hopes this will build a stronger relationship among the society and its membership.
The move also coincides with SOGS' 50th anniversary, which Bettle said she is excited about.
“In September when alumni return, we can show them the new office space,” Bettle said. “I think it will be very sentimental for SOGS executives from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s to return to see their primary goal realized.”