Good Policy Begins With a Willingness to Listen
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My name is Stephanie Bellotto and I am the Vice President of University Affairs for the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union. I am very excited to be sitting on OUSA’s Steering Committee this year! Our Steering Committee is full of passionate individuals who are committed to making this a successful year by advocating for an enhanced student experience. Let’s also not forget OUSA’s amazing Home Office Staff who I am so excited to be working with!
My name is Ryan Deshpande, and I am thrilled to be a member of this year’s OUSA Steering Committee, representing McMaster students. At Mac, I serve as the Vice President (Education) and Corporate Officer of the McMaster Students Union (MSU).
Although it's the middle of summer, things are anything but boring at OUSA! We were excited to hear that White Ribbon’s Draw the Line campaign recently chose to recognize past Steering Committee member, Sarah Wiley, with an award for her advocacy efforts in sexual violence prevention and response.
This past March, the OUSA General Assembly passed its newly-revised policy on International Students and Education. With various recommendations to the provincial government, it’s fantastic to see the organization move forward with this, recognizing key areas that need improvement when it comes to international students and international education.
As Pride Month comes to an end, it is an important time to reflect on the experiences of LGBTQ+ students in Ontario’s higher education sector. It’s easy for Ontarians to dismiss this topic of conversation in recent years. For instance, the Pride Parade in Toronto generates massive audiences each year, institutions have made strides in encouraging the hiring of LGBTQ+ faculty and staff, and more and more safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth are popping up all over the province, including gender-neutral bathrooms. However, as the festivities come to a close, the lived realities of LGBTQ+ students continue to permeate across the province.
What Someone Who Knows Nothing About the Government Learns in a Role Where Everyone Knows Everything About the Government: An Exit Blog
In the latter part of my role here, I have seen what I would label as the core of OUSA, or the OUSA as I knew it move on. These were the people I first met after being hired here and the people I learned from. Knowing this team had changed me.
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.