And yet another summer month has come and gone by the wayside and us over here at OUSA are getting very excited to welcome the students back to class in September. July has been a busy month and we are left with only four more weeks left of the summer!
While undergrads across Ontario are enjoying the remainder of their summer break, we are hard at work over here at 26 Soho Street. We began the month with the release of the latest report from the 2014 What Students Want Report Series, Paying Our Way: A Look at Student Financial Assistance Usage in Ontario. Over 8000 domestic students in Ontario helped us to provide an in-depth look at student financial aid usage in the province. The report was well received throughout the sector and our findings were supported by a report from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives arguing that Ontario actually has the most complicated student financial aid program in the country. The information from both of these reports is extremely valuable, and we are looking forward to working with the staff over at OSAP in order to make some valuable improvements to the loans program.
As well as releasing our report on student financial assistance, Home Office and Steering Committee have only recently returned from our Strategic Planning Conference in Collingwood. Representatives from our seven member schools and staff from Home Office spent four days in the woods dreaming about the ways in which we can improve post-secondary education in Ontario. This was a chance for all of us to dream big and have an open discussion about many of the initiatives we would like to see going forward. With this information, we will now be drafting an action plan which will help to guide us for the rest of the year.
One of the greatest strength’s at OUSA is the versatility in our representatives and this could definitely be seen at this year’s Strategic Planning Conference. I am looking forward to working with each and every one of our new Steering Committee members on their specific interests, and as a team we will be able to work towards some great improvements for undergraduate students in Ontario.
That’s all from me for now! Over the next few weeks you can look forward to our advocacy priorities for the year and research beginning on our policy papers. Between now and September, OUSA will be writing policy papers on Accountability, Mobility (credit transfer) and Student Health and will have these completed for the beginning to middle of November. There are lots of big things to come and I am looking forward to a jam packed year with the team at OUSA.
Vice-President External of the University Students’ Council (USC) of Western University