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.
Student associations also have an important leadership role during the week, often being responsible for a majority of the planning and programming as well. With the McMaster Students Union, we have partnered with the university to emphasize good mental health, responsible drug and alcohol use, and consent for all students on campus. Likewise, student representatives from OUSA often champion important causes on each of our own campuses during this important time of the year- we can use the platform of orientation to educated and engage on issues. Lastly, these Welcome Weeks also serve as one of the best opportunities for students get involved with their student associations because of our increased visibility during these times. No other time of the year will likely have as many “touch points” for involvement as now, making this time quite exciting for students and ourselves as well!
As for OUSA’s work over the last month, we’ve been kept quite busy. Our university funding formula submission was recently released, which provides a variety of student recommendations on how university funding should evolve to better encourage quality education, while also adapting to the province’s changing demographics. Moreover, OUSA’s Steering Committee has also completed its Annual Plan, and is in the process of approving it for the 2015-2016 year. We are confident that this plan will be able to successfully promote OUSA’s growth as an organization, and spur positive change in the sector as well. Lastly, each of our Steering Committee members is also heavily involved with the beginning of writing our policy papers, which include Student Financial Assistance, Teaching and Assessment, and Student Success for the Fall term. We are excited to present these papers at our Fall general assembly in only a few months!
As I finish, I would like to wish you all the best this week, and for the year ahead!