My name is Kayla Smith, and I am so excited to be part of the 2016-17 Steering Committee.
I am currently entering my fourth year at Trent University, completing my Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology. For the sake of transparency, I have to admit that becoming part of the TDSA’s executive team was never part of my original plan, but I have always been a fervent supporter and advocate for those around me. So, when I considered what it would mean for me to be VP University Affairs, I was enthusiastic about the challenging advocacy opportunities that it would bring.
My history with advocacy began a bit different than most. My younger sister is on the autism spectrum, and after she was diagnosed I became a very passionate advocate for her. Since people often didn’t understand her needs, I knew that there was nothing I would rather do than be her voice. In more recent years I became interested in not only advocating for people with exceptionalities, but for every need and desire that goes unnoticed. Throughout my past three years of university I have found that there are often a lot of perspectives that are missed and opinions that go unsaid. This year, I am excited to bring a voice to these issues that often fall to the background, and I want to make sure that, to the best of my ability, no student is denied opportunity.
I was first introduced to OUSA at the Spring 2016 General Assembly at Brock. I did not have previous knowledge of OUSA, other than what I had been briefly told by the prior VP University Affairs, so the weekend was incredibly eye-opening for me. I left feeling excited, challenged, and empowered. I was able to see what OUSA has accomplished and that, as students, we can actually make a difference. When the reallocation of provincial tax credits for the Ontario Student Grant was announced a few months ago, I was proud to say that I knew the people who had been advocating on this issue for years and who had significant influence on this policy.
After several discussions with my fellow Steering Committee members at OUSA’s Transition Conference, I am confident that this year is going to be great! We each bring a unique and valuable dynamic to the team, and we have begun to collaborate on ideas that align with our similar priorities. I am really looking forward to seeing what we will accomplish together this year.
OUSA Steering Committee Member
Vice President University Affairs, Trent Durham Student Association