Blog

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Meet Joshua Sankarlal and OTSU!

OUSA is proud to introduce the Ontario Tech Student Union (OTSU) as an official observer school! Since joining OUSA this fall, UOSU has attended OUSA’s Fall General Assembly and Student Advocacy Conference. OUSA is excited to work with OTSU as we continue to advocate for accessible, affordable, accountable and high-quality post-secondary education in Ontario.

 

We had a chance to chat with Joshua Sankarlal, President of OTSU and Steering Committee representative. Here's what Josh had to say about OTSU, student advocacy, and what matters most to students right now: 

 

Student Housing Crisis Worsens Across Ontario's Campuses amid Sudden Return to In-Person Classes

The state of student housing is at a crisis point. Increased rent, decreased availability, and quality of housing are all issues facing students attending post-secondary institutions that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Within my own university community, Queen’s University, over-enrollment combined with poor quality of housing and high rental rates have posed significant financial and accessibility barriers for students.

Presidential Update December 2021

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!! My favourite holiday is upon us and I could not be more excited! 

As Steering Committee prepares for the Christmas break, we’re wrapping up some work from the past month. A few weeks ago we held our Student Advocacy Conference where Steering Committee and other student delegates met with around 50 members of Provincial Parliament to discuss our advocacy priorities for the year. It was a great and busy week and we are now conducting lots of follow-ups to keep the advocacy going! A big thank you to all MPP’s who met with us and took the time to discuss issues that are important to our students.

 

Trans Day of Remembrance 2021

(CW: transphobia)

November 20th is internationally recognized as the Trans Day of Remembrance in honor of Rita Hester, a Black Trans woman who was killed in her home in November 1998. Since Hester’s death, every year on November 20th we participate in an important tradition of hosting vigils and reading the names of Trans community members we have lost to transphobia.

 

Presidential Update November 2021

Hello and Happy Fall!!!! (my all-time favourite season)

 

I start off every blog by stating that it has been a busy month but it truly has been another busy month! 

Presidential Update October 2021

TW: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Hello and Happy Spooktober!!

It’s been a long and busy month since our students headed back to campus early September. Steering Committee was hard at work planning and executing our respective Orientation Week’s to welcome first-year students to our campuses. I want to first recognize that for many, the beginning of the school year did not start off how we had all anticipated. Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is a serious and prevalent issue that should not be tolerated on any campus. For all those who feel frustrated or scared, to every survivor, to every student – we stand with you and we will continue to advocate for trauma-informed and survivor-centric prevention and response to this violence.

Provincial OSAP Clawbacks Explained: Students deserve the funding they were promised by the federal government

TL;DR? Ontario students are not receiving more OSAP, even though the federal government is spending more to support students during the pandemic. The provincial government is clawing back the provincial portion of OSAP, which means students aren’t feeling the full benefits of the federal government's investments into financial aid. The province is using these clawbacks as a cost-savings mechanism instead of continuing normal levels of OSAP spending to support students.

 

It’s Brutal Out Here: The Role of Young People in Canada’s 2021 Election

On August 15th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a snap election to be held on September 20th after months of whispered rumors and speculations. Regardless of the political strategy behind the decision to call this election, Canadians are going to the polls in just a few days. One demographic that will play a huge role in determining our next Prime Minister and the federal policies over the next four years are young people.

This is Our Shot... To Practice Allyship: Considering the experiences of racialized students as post-secondary campuses navigate vaccine mandates

As racialized and queer* students, stepping into our respective roles as President and Vice-President University Affairs for the University Students’ Council at Western University during a pandemic was isolating in more ways than one. In addition to the physical distance between us and our team members, there is something disorienting about transitioning into positions that have historically been occupied by straight, white leaders.