Hello everyone and happy 2017!
I hope that you have had a great holiday break and are enjoying the beginning of second semester. OUSA has started off with a busy January featuring lots of meetings, policy updates, and elections happening on our member campuses across Ontario. The well needed break was perfect as we head into the busy new year advocating for the needs of students all across the province.
We started the year with our policy paper think tanks. As we prepare for our General Assembly in March, various members of steering committee and student authors gathered at home office to brainstorm what our policies for this semester will look like. Our topics include comprehensive access strategies, international students, and a new paper on municipal issues. Our authors have been busy researching and writing these past couple weeks to make sure we are providing holistic and researched approaches to these issues. I want to also thank our research team at home office for being so supportive throughout this process.
Steering Committee also had the great opportunity to meet with Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne. It was wonderful to discuss a variety of issues surrounding university undergraduate students including data collection, sexual violence prevention practices, OSAP, work integrated learning, and student support services. We thank the Premier for her time and look forward to working with her for the remainder of our terms in office.
Myself and Zachary Rose, OUSA’s Executive Director, had the opportunity to present to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. This was a great occasion as the government begins its work on Budget2017, allowing us to prioritize the post-secondary education sector and issues facing OUSA schools. We also released our full budget submission which home office has been hard at work over the past month. Feel free to read it here.
Finally, I would like to welcome Deborah Lam to the OUSA family. Deb is joining us from the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union as OUSA’s new Operations Coordinator. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and I can’t wait to see what she will do in the new role. This also sadly brings about a goodbye. After two and a half years I am sad to bid adieu to Armin Escher. In my two years at OUSA I have never seen anyone but Armin in this role. He is a light in the OUSA office every day and one of the hardest working and most inspirational people I know. His dedication to this organization has benefited thousands of undergraduate students across Ontario and for that we are incredibly grateful. Armin is moving on to bigger and better things but there will always be a special spot for him here.
February is looking to be an exciting month and I look forward to talking soon.