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Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with various stakeholders in the Post-Secondary Education (PSE) sector. Other than running around Toronto in the most indecisive of weather conditions, I had a great time meeting various individuals working for a variety of organizations relevant to the sector.
Let me first start off with acknowledging how beyond thrilled at this opportunity I am to engage with post-secondary students across this province in my role advocating on behalf of them. My name is Landon Tulk, I am the Vice-President of the Western University Students’ Council and the Vice-President Finance of OUSA.
The end of Winter term often feels like it was a long time coming for many students. Spring signals a fresh start for many of us, whether we are making travel plans, returning to studies, beginning summer jobs or preparing for graduation. At OUSA, Spring is no different. Each May signals a fresh start as a new batch of students from our member student associations comes together to form OUSA’s Steering Committee. This Spring marked a fresher start than normal, as we also welcomed two new staff to our Home Office: Colin Aitchison, (Research and Policy Analyst) and Sophie Helpard (Executive Director)! We are excited to have a lot of new faces as we kick off another year of provincial advocacy!
Recent events south of the border and across the Atlantic have increased international interest in Canadian higher education. Despite the flaws that we are often quick to identify, this attention reminds us that that Canada’s education system is the envy of many around the world. I was born in a country where public education is not part of the social fabric like it is in Canada. Many young people there can only dream of the world-class education that is so accessible here. So, I count it a blessing to have grown up in Ontario. This sense of gratitude has underlain my interest in student affairs since serving as a Student Trustee in high school. It has impressed on me the importance of not taking our education system for granted. So throughout my undergraduate career, I have tried to contribute to it in whatever way I can. Over the last four years, I have done so though roles at the University of Waterloo (UW), UW’s Federation of Students and OUSA.
We’ve complied our top 10 most visited blogs for the 16/17 academic year. Each is written by a student author affiliated with our member schools and covers a wide range of topics pertinent to the Ontario post-secondary sector.
In 2012 the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner released an investigation report titled The State of French-Language Postsecondary Education in Central-Southwestern Ontario: No access, no future. The report stated that the Commissioner's office had received numerous complaints regarding access to French-language post-secondary education. This is a significant issue, seeing as 493,300 Ontarians self-declared as francophone in the 2011 census.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Perhaps I can offer my perspective, having joined the OUSA team without any prior experience in student leadership.
I have to admit, when I was first hired as a Research Analyst I was intimidated by the accomplishments of those around me. Here I am, having barely participated in extracurriculars at my university (I was in the Mac Dance Club—whoot!), surrounded by those with seats on university senates, student union presidents and vice presidents, taking regular meetings with the Dean of this or that. I felt completely out of my element. Sure, I’m ambitious. But not like the student leaders who were suddenly my colleagues and would soon be close friends.
Hello! My name is Danny Chang, and I am so excited to be working out of the OUSA office this summer!
In September, I will be entering my third year, pursuing an Honors Specialization in Astrophysics at Western University. Thanks to a chance encounter with a former President of the University Students’ Council during my first week at Western (we were sharing a squat-rack at the gym; I promise, you can’t make this stuff up), I was able to learn more about student government and soon found a passion for student advocacy. Along the way, I have had the privilege of meeting numerous student leaders who have provided invaluable mentorship and have inspired me to work tirelessly to represent the best interest of my peers. In the fall as President of the Western Science Students’ Council, I am hoping to continue working to improve the student experience at the faculty level.
Hi friends! My name is Colin Aitchison and I’m excited to be OUSA’s newest Research & Policy Analyst!
I come from a military family, attending high school in Kingston before moving to Waterloo to attend Wilfrid Laurier University. While at Laurier I became heavily involved in our campus community. From joining a fraternity to volunteering, and eventually working in student government, I benefitted from a wide variety of experiences while at school. Most recently, I served as Vice President: University Affairs for the Laurier Students’ Union, where I represented Laurier’s undergraduate students both internally to the university, as well as at all levels of government. Additionally, part of my responsibilities with that role was serving on OUSA’s Steering Committee! Experiences such as my time as an executive with the Students’ Union shaped my career outlook, and paved a way for me to apply for this kind of position!
As I sit here writing this, simultaneously listening to Spotify’s “Summer of 2017” playlist, and an iced coffee to my left, I am filled with a mix of sentiments I find hard to explain. This President’s update was supposed to highlight OUSA’s achievements for the month of April, however, it has taken until now for me to write it. That’s because while we saw a month overcome with successes, it unfortunately is also my last time to write to you all. This is my last blog as OUSA President and I’m struggling to find the words, phrases, and anecdotes, which contain the ability to both reflect and highlight our year.