Good Policy Begins With a Willingness to Listen
Interested in writing for OUSA? Contact Deb, our Operations & Communications Director.
Hi everyone! Although a provincial association, OUSA would like to congratulate you all on surviving the long and arduous election season this year! The new majority Liberal government will no doubt affect the landscape of post-secondary education in the province. The leaves are changing, the government is changing, and we’ve also been seeking change and innovation in OUSA’s approach in tackling student advocacy- I’m excited to share some of these new iniatives with you today.
As a fourth year student at McMaster University, I’ve had the good fortune to experience post-secondary education on a beautiful campus – a beautiful, crowded campus. McMaster University (for all of its efforts to improve) is without a doubt overcrowded, over capacity, and (at least as an outside observer) not doing a whole lot in fixing the issue. That is not to say that the university administration isn’t trying, but every day I see students packed into the student centre, resorting to sitting on the floor to study or eat because every chair is taken.
What a busy and exciting time for OUSA! Things are barreling along for us, our member schools, and high school graduates across the province as Ontario universities ready themselves for the influx of new students to their campuses. Welcome Weeks, Frosh Weeks, Orientation Weeks (….whatever you want to call them) can often be a transformative experience for students, leaving a lasting impression of what their university will mean to them. Filled with concerts, events, speakers, and awareness initiatives, Orientation programming is a great way to introduce students to the culture of their respective campuses, facilitate friendships and connections, and prepare students for the years ahead.
As some of you are probably aware, Newfoundland has been in the news today for converting their provincial student loans to non-repayable grants. This means that the provincial portion of a student’s debt (forty percent of their overall debt, with the additional sixty percent being a federal loan) is automatically “forgiven”; students who study in-province are not required to pay it back. This is definitely a pretty cool move on the part of the NFLD government, and sets the province apart as the only province in Canada to have fully converted their loans to grants (and the only province to have a time zone that works on the half hour).
Bonjour! My name is Christopher Fernlund and I am in my final year at Trent University, where I am completing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. I was re-elected as Vice President of University Affairs for the Trent Oshawa Student Association, soon to be adapted as the Trent Durham Student Association. As VPUA, I represent all Trent University students at the Trent Durham campus, a satellite campus (or more colloquially known as an “alternative campus”) located in Durham Region. I have been told I was elected to propel the young TOSA from infancy to full maturity and with the help of my team, create a standard for future years.
My name is Lindsee Perkins and I’m excited to introduce myself as OUSA’s Vice President Human Resources and Administration for this upcoming year. As I graduate from Western University’s Management and Organizational Studies program with a specialization in Human Resources, I look forward to bringing everything I’ve learned to this role.
I am very excited to introduce myself as the new President of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. My name is Spencer Nestico-Semianiw, and I’ve just finished my third year of McMaster’s Arts & Science program. Over the last few years I’ve had the privilege to involve myself in student life here at McMaster, and I hope to extend this experience and passion to PSE across the province.
As advocates for undergraduate students, part of our work at OUSA involves mentoring student leaders and empowering them to become their own advocates. It’s always rewarding to see our student leaders make real change on their campuses. This year, former Steering Committee member and VP Education at McMaster University, Rodrigo Narro Perez, was a key player in soliciting student feedback and publicizing McMaster’s new mental health and well-being strategy. I’d like to share his success today.
March is always a busy month for our student associations, and here at OUSA we have a lot of excitement approaching as well! This weekend, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance will be welcoming students from across the province to work on passing our next round of policy papers. Hosted by the McMaster Student Union, delegates from across the province will engage in conversations about the future of tuition, as well as some of the specific challenges mature students and LGBTQ+ students may face.
International students choosing to study in Canada have some of the highest tuition of any student population in the country. In Ontario, an international student pursuing an undergraduate degree this year can expect to pay over 264 per cent more than their domestic counterparts thanks to high, deregulated international tuition. Given the ever-climbing tuition rates for international students, it must be asked: what student financial assistance is available to international students?