Get involved

How to Get Involved

There are several student-run organizations and you are encouraged to participate. It is a great way to be involved, be informed and get to know your classmates. Many of the 1st year positions are filled within the first few weeks of classes so know what positions are available and of interest to you. Be prepared to woo your classmates during an election.

UWOSS - University of Waterloo Optometry Students Society

UWOSS is a student run organization that represents the Optometry student body and serves as a liaison between the students and faculty members within the school, and the cross-campus UW Federation of Students. UWOSS sponsors events like the Slo-Pitch Tournament and Ranch (a country bar in Guelph), the Halloween Party, the “EyeBall” Optometry Formal, the legendary “Corneal Cup” Hockey Tournament, Skit Night, and Optom-spiel (curling tournament). Each student at the School of Optometry is automatically a member of UWOSS, so we encourage you to participate in as many ways as possible! Each class year has a class executive, and the positions available are detailed below. For more info about the club events, visit the UWOSS website.


(These will be elected within the first week of classes!)

Class President:

  • Represent the class to the School of Optometry's administration and faculty meet and communicate with the professors, faculty council, undergraduate studies committee, the director and associate director on a regular basis to discuss topics such as midterm schedules and any issues with a particular course

Vice President:

  • Attend UWOSS meetings, the Undergraduate Studies Committee meeting, and (maybe) WatSEF meetings
  • Assist the class president with collecting money for the class fund, hold class meetings, help the social committee
  • Each year’s VPs has different responsibilities, your class and class president must decide what you want the VPs to do (example: VPs organized intramural sports teams)

Social Reps (usually 4):

  • Organize the Halloween party and the Eyeball (booking the venue, decorations, sponsorship, ticket sales, catering, set up and take down, etc.). These are two of the biggest parties in Optom for all years, so reps need to make sure everyone has a good time

Green Reps (usually 4): (This position is for first year only)

  • Clean the kitchen (microwaves, fridges, countertops, sink, toaster, toaster oven and kettle) every week
  • Discard any food left in the fridge at the end of the week
  • Enjoy free tickets to ALL UWOSS events including Ranch Night, Halloween, Corneal Cup party, Eyeball and Skit Night.

Equipment Reps (1-4 positions):

  • Identify the equipment to buy with the aid of instructors, upper year students, and sales reps
  • Inform the class what equipment needs to be purchased, set a timeline, and remind people of deadlines
  • Schedule presentations by the sales reps as necessary
  • Manage the trial equipment that the salespeople lend to the class for them to try before they buy
  • Does not have to handle money, and will not be held responsible for the purchases made by any student
  • Perks: getting to know the sales reps and their product better, and occasionally getting free lunch from them

Sports Reps (3-4 positions):

  • Organize the group purchase of Optometry hoodies and sweatpants for the school (mostly your own class)
  • Choose a class logo to put on the hockey jerseys (which you are in charge of ordering) for the Corneal Cup
  • Organize the 1st year hockey team and cooperate with the 3rd years, who plan the Corneal Cup
  • 2nd year: you will organize "Optomspiel" - the annual optometry curling tournament in February
  • 3rd year: you will run the Corneal Cup! You must contact sponsors, book ice times, book the Corneal Cup after-party, coordinate between the years, collecting money, getting prizes, etc.

VOSH – Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity

VOSH is an international volunteer based organization dedicated to providing vision care to people who are unable to afford or obtain such care. Our chapter at the University of Waterloo educates students about mission work and facilitates these opportunities. VOSH executives have established over 40 spots through three years of passion and hard work, in many countries like Guatemala, Peru, Haiti, Eastern Europe, etc.

The reward of partaking in VOSH far outweighs the responsibilities. You don’t have to be part of the executive to participate in mission trips. Each mission involves an application process and depends on a variety of volunteer work and commitment. The first general meeting will be held in the first few weeks of classes, so attend and have your questions addressed! If you are strongly motivated to contribute and further VOSH-Waterloo, please join the team!


First Year Reps:

  • Attend meetings every 2 weeks; update VOSH bulletin board of events and volunteer opportunities, organize Valentine’s Day and Eye-Ball fundraiser

Second Year Reps:

  • Search for open mission trip positions, liaison between leaders and students

Third Year Reps: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer

Please contact the VOSH team via e-mail, if you have any questions.

CAOS – Canadian Association of Optometry Students 

CAOS was established in 1990 with the intention of: 1) increasing student awareness of issues and challenges facing the optometric profession in Canada; 2) increasing public awareness of optometrists’ role in primary vision care; and 3) encouraging communication and involvement between students and practicing optometrists.

The CAOS team represents its members at optometric meetings, and liaises with CAO (Canadian Association of Optometry, OAO (Ontario Association of Optometry), and Canadian students studying in the US. All students of UW’s optometry program are automatically granted membership. CAOS also organizes the National Mentor Program, allowing practicing optometrists to adopt students to mentor. Graduating students benefit from the Interview Day, being poached by clinics throughout the country. The Inter-Professional events provide students the opportunity to interact and network with students and professionals from other social and health care programs in Waterloo. Aside from political and community involvement, CAOS also organizes social events. The Montreal trip and Corneal Cup tournaments allows students to meet and party with our French colleagues! Two first year representatives sit on the council.

For more details, check out their website, or contact them via email.

AOSA – American Optometry Student Association 

The AOSA represents over 6,000 students attending the 19 schools and colleges of optometry throughout Canada, the United States, and Puerto Rico. AOSA is committed to promoting the optometric profession, enhancing the education and welfare of optometry students, as well as enhancing the vision and ocular health of the public. Attend the first meeting for more information on the ways you can get involved with AOSA and don't miss our annual Trade Show! More information about our AOSA chapter at uWaterloo can be found on our website.