University of Toronto Graduate Students' Union (UTGSU)
The UTGSU is a democratic organization, representing over 18,500 students from over 80
departments across all University of Toronto campuses.
We represent graduate students in consultations with U of T Administration by advocating for improvements that increase the quality of the graduate student experience like improved student access to mental health support, increased funding, improved academic support and resources, and more.
The UTGSU provides services to students, by students. As a member of the UTGSU, graduate students have access to UTGSU services like conference funding, confidential academic appeal support, funding for members run events, orientation events, sport intramurals, committee and caucus memberships, and membership to departmental course unions.
16 Bancroft Ave
Toronto ON, M5S 1C1
M to W 10am to 3pm
Thursday 12pm to 3pm
Our Structure, Who We Are, and Funding
The UTGSU is comprised of course unions, and each course union has a democratically-elected executive responsible for organizing events and supporting graduate students in their department. The UTGSU’s main governing body is General Council. General Council acts as the Board of Directors and is composed of Representatives elected by students in each of the UTGSU Course Unions. Members can participate in the democratic decision making of the UTGSU by representing their course union at the UTGSU Board of Directors, participating in our annual general meeting, or becoming a member of a committee or caucus.
The UTGSU believes that all graduate students should have access to the support and services they need to succeed at U of T. However, graduate students are not guaranteed access to services for which they have not paid because the UTGSU is a not-for-profit and does not have the funds to provide many services for people who do not opt-in.
What Am I Opting Into?
Upon learning about the Student Choice Initiative, the UTGSU Executive Committee wished to maintain one UTGSU membership fee, so that collected funds could be accordingly delegated via our existing democratic processes. Our approach to maintaining UTGSU membership was not in line with the approach of the province's new ancillary fee framework, and unfortunately our fee has since been unbundled into the categories and amounts viewable in the University of Toronto's opt-out portal on ACORN.
Although the services you see in the opt-out portal represent some of the services the UTGSU provides, members also have access to the UTGSU conference bursaries, free gym access and intramural leagues, GSU Pub and GradLoft bookings, UTGSU merit based awards, and academic and funding appeals advocacy. Your fees to the UTGSU go to support our continued advocacy work and services for our members.
The UTGSU also collects fees for independent levy groups that provide services to all students including graduate students, many of which are included on the Service Groups page of this website. These fees were approved by past graduate students by way of referendum. Levy groups that you'll see on the UTGSU's ACORN umbrella include: Bikechain, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), Downtown Legal Services, the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), the Sexual Education Center (SEC), Women and Trans Center, the UofT Environmental Resource Network (UTERN), and Students for Barrier Free Access (SBA).
If you have any concerns about how UTGSU fees are presented in the opt-out portal, or if you have questions about what any particular fees mean, we encourage you to communicate with your Course Union Representative or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have more questions about the Student Choice Initiative and the UTGSU visit our FAQ: utgsu.ca/about/sci/
What We Do For Our Members
Some examples of the UTGSU's successes over the past year include:
The embedding of a graduate student-focused councillor at the School of Graduate Studies (SGS)
The development of the Graduate Student Wellness Portal
The extension of the SGS Summer Gym Bursary to professional graduate students
The facilitation of Student-driven consultations for U of T’s Sexual Violence Prevention Policy
The creation of Grad Loft, a freely available meeting and social space above the UTGSU Pub for UTGSU Member events.
Get Involved with the UTGSU!
Come out to our Grad Fest for more information on how to get involved, and more information on what your union does for you!
Drop into our office in the UTGSU building at 16 Bancroft during business hours, or make an appointment with the executive who is best suited to answer your questions!
We look forward to meeting you!