Students Clubs & Activities

Students Clubs & Activities

Bachelor in Environmental Studies Students Association (BESSA)

BESSA is the undergraduate students’ association of the Faculty of Environmental Studies and is recognized by the York Federation of Students. BESSA holds regular meetings and undertakes activities of interest to BES students. These include participation in environmental actions, planning student tours and exchanges, and liaising with other student groups. BESSA is also involved in the selection of undergraduate representation on FES Council and its committees. To get involved, look for posted meetings times at the beginning of each term. Selection of students as representatives to Faculty Council, the Committee of Instruction, and the various sub-committees takes place in the early part of Fall term.

Graduate Environmental Studies Student Association (GESSA)

The Graduate Environmental Studies Student Association (GESSA) is the student-run organization for graduate students in FES, and is an associate member organization of the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) at York. All graduate students are members of GESSA and are entitled to the use of its resources and services.

The Executive coordinates the general activities of the association and provides information on faculty policy issues and events to the student body. Members also act as liaisons between faculty and students as needed. Elected delegates (elections take place in January each year) represent MES and PhD students on various FES committees and at other levels of governance on campus, such as the Graduate Students’ Association. GESSA holds general meetings at which students are encouraged to participate and share ideas.

GESSA sponsors various student run programs such as Undercurrents, an environmental journal, and the Maloca Community Garden, located in the southwest corner of the York University campus. Each semester, GESSA also sponsors social events and other community building activities. Funding for conferences and research are available through both the GESSA Research and Travel Fund and the GSA.

PhD Environmental Studies Students Association (PhESSA)

PhESSA is the PhD students’ association at FES. Our mandate is to look after the rights and interests of doctoral students, and through student representation on Faculty committees, PhESSA ensures students have a strong voice in the governance and direction of the PhD program. We are a unique part of the Graduate Environmental Studies Students Association (GESSA), which represents us in some capacities with the rest of the university.

PhESSA uses a consensus-based decision-making process, with two co-chairs elected each year to liaise between students, faculty, and staff. In addition to holding monthly meetings during the academic year, PhESSA sponsors regular social events and the annual FES Research Matters Symposium.

Student Lounges

Main Floor Lounge/Zig Zag Gallery – HNES 136

Located in the heart of the faculty – on the main floor right outside the OSAS office – this lounge is a central meeting and hang-out space, with comfy couches, chairs and tables to work on. The lounge doubles as the Zig Zag Gallery, which features the creative work of FES community members. The BESSA and GESSA offices are right next door, and around the corner in HNES 136D there is also a small kitchen where you can boil water or heat your lunch up in the microwave.

Lower Level Lounge – HNES 018

More comfy couches and tables and chairs in a welcoming space decorated with FES student art projects. There is also a piano to play if you’re feeling musical!

MES Lounge – HNES 204

Exclusively for the use of MES students, this lounge is managed by the Graduate Environmental Studies Students Association (GESSA) and includes:

  • couches
  • work tables
  • GESSA noticeboard
  • Chalkboard

A door entry code is needed to access the lounge. MES students can obtain the door entry code by contacting GESSA at:

PhD Lounge – HNES 265B

Exclusively for the use of PhD students, this lounge is managed by PhESSA – the PhD Environmental Studies Students Association. Designed to support PhD students in their progress through their program, the lounge includes:

  • a conference table
  • 9 private study carrels
  • lockers to store your things in (bring your own lock)
  • 4 computers hooked into the FES system (computing account required)
  • a kitchen complete with a fridge, microwave, kettle, coffee-maker and toaster-oven
  • a telephone
  • comfortable couches and chairs where you can read, rest or socialize

A door entry code is needed to access the lounge. PhD students can obtain the door entry code by contacting PhESSA at: