Interested in writing for OUSA? Contact Deb, our Operations & Communications Director.
Happy March everyone!
As Reading Week concludes and the weather begins to warm up, OUSA is ready for Spring!
This month, we launched our OUSA Votes campaign to encourage students in Ontario to Pledge to Vote in the upcoming provincial election. Hundreds of students have already taken the pledge! Students have also been telling us about the issues that will be important to them in the election. They care about things like mental health, the cost of education, free textbooks, and experiential learning. Take a look at our election blog by visiting ousavotes.ca and follow along with the campaign with #StudentsVote.
OUSA is excited to post two summer internships. Please see below for the Summer Research Intern, and Summer Advocacy & Communications Intern job postings.
All too often, issues associated with student housing are discussed in silos. The concerns that arise in one municipality are often not recognized as a part of a larger trend across Ontario. This can be attributed to the uniqueness of each individual community, and may be due to the fact that a solution for one may prove to be insufficient for others. This in turn greatly disadvantages student populations seeking short-term rental accommodations, resulting in issues such as illegal lease clauses, poor housing conditions, and inordinately high rental costs. The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) has identified the lack of municipal enforcement, and believes that the provincial government has a role to play in preventing persistent housing issues.
Throughout my time as a health sciences student at McMaster, I have seen the cost of my education rise at unaffordable rates. Over the past 5 years my tuition has increased by nearly $1,000 due to annual 3% increases. Furthermore, ancillary fees have risen even more drastically, with new services being approved through referenda, and other ancillary costs of education, such as textbooks and course materials, increasing each year.
In light of recent events, sexual violence prevention and response has been at the forefront of our national discussions, sparking the need for meaningful action and policy to address the persistence of sexual assault in our communities, workplaces, and schools. The conversation today is louder than ever, and rightly so, as it has been long overdue. The need to address and combat the pervasiveness of gender-based violence has been an ongoing challenge, and historically, student unions have played a critical role in addressing sexual violence on Canadian campuses. From efforts to combat rape culture and stigma to demanding adequate sexual violence policies on their campuses, students play a significant part in building a world free of sexual violence.
On February 6th the University of Waterloo’s Board of Governors approved a predictable tuition framework for the 2018/2019 cohort of international students. This framework outlines plans to cap tuition increases at 5% from years 2 to 4, providing international students with the opportunity to budget accordingly and have a better understanding of their future academic costs. For this cohort of students, they will have a significant financial advantage over the rest of their international peers in post-secondary education: predictability.
Happy February everyone!
Last month, we ran our #TextbookBroke campaign to raise awareness around the benefits of open educational resources (OERs). Thank you to everyone who participated. We look forward to sharing your stories - they will not go unnoticed. We encourage everyone to continue the conversation on the benefits of OERs. Continue to talk with your instructors and peers. Continue to share your stories.
For university students, the beginning of the winter semester is usually accompanied by feelings of anticipation and a fresh start. With the holidays behind us and midterm season quickly approaching, students are also looking forward to welcoming the warmer weather and taking some time off to enjoy the long awaited summer break. For many students in Ontario, this time of the school year is also exciting because it involves campaigning and student government elections, an important and unique university experience.
One of the strengths of post-secondary education in Ontario is the level of autonomy devolved to our publicly assisted institutions. This system encourages innovation, experimentation, and structural diversity within our universities. But these benefits come at a cost.
As our #TextbookBroke campaign comes to a close this week, it’s reminded all of us how large a role textbooks play in post-secondary education. If you haven’t taken a look at the campaign on social media - I encourage you to check it out! Here at OUSA, we’ve been glued to our screens watching tweets roll in that emphasize why a campaign like this is important. There’s students that talk about wanting to spend their textbook money on rent and groceries, but also many students that talk about their need for fitness, healthier food options, and proper winter clothing. Now that so many students have shared their personal stories, I’ve had the opportunity to think back about my experience with textbooks when I was a student.