The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Steering Committee elects new Executive
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My name is Danny Chang, and I am the Vice President at the University Students’ Council at Western University, as well as the President of OUSA this year.
This is an exciting and important time for the province, but it is especially relevant to those of us dedicating our work to advocating for students. At the beginning of my term as OUSA President, we were in the midst of the provincial election, where Ontarians were casting ballots for their next provincial government. This election makes me reflect on my time as an undergraduate student and student leader, as well as what is to come throughout this next year. It definitely will be an exciting journey, building relationships with the new government to work together to address students’ concerns.
June is Pride Month for a reason. On June 28, 1969, a group of queer and trans people, led by sex workers and trans women of colour, fought back against the New York Police Department who chose to raid the Stonewall Inn. Although the event was not the first time queer and trans people resisted police violence, the moment is often viewed as a catalyst for the modern LGBTQ+ liberation movement. As we gear up for the Pride Festival and Parade this weekend in Toronto, it’s important for us to remember that we celebrate this month to remind ourselves of this brave act of resistance made by LGBTQ+ people.
Well that was fast. OUSA has already onboarded a new batch of student leaders! At the end of April, outgoing and incoming Directors, Home Office staff, and some esteemed alumni came together for a couple days of training. Our new Steering Committee members had their first meeting at their Welcome Conference, where they elected the new executive. Congratulations to Danny Chang (Western USC), Shannon Kelly (Laurier SU) and Julia Göllner (Queen’s AMS) on their elections as President, Vice President Finance and Vice President Administration & Human Resources, respectively. In the coming weeks, you’ll get to learn more about them and the rest of Steering Committee through their introductory blogs.
For many students, May means a new beginning. Whether it’s the end of the school term or venturing on new summer internships, travels, or preparing for graduation, we can all use this time to reflect on our accomplishments, goals, and new priorities. Here at OUSA, May also signals change. This May was an especially exciting time for student advocacy goal setting. For most of the month, as student leaders we were busy sharing information and preparing students to vote in the provincial election. We completed a very successful #StudentsVote campaign where thousands of students pledged to vote in the provincial election.. Students came out in large numbers to have their voices heard. We look forward to partnering with Premier-designate Doug Ford, the Progressive Conservative Party, and all newly-elected and re-elected Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) to address students’ concerns. We are optimistic about collaborating with the new government, given their attention to mental health funding in their plan, and look forward to continue building relationships with the Ontario government as their transition progresses throughout this month.
My name is Peter Henen, and currently I am pursuing a double major in psychology and biology, and a minor in French. I love to learn and utilize what I’ve learned to real life scenarios. Like many people, I enjoy traveling, eating good food, being around good friends and family and exploring nature. Some other hobbies I enjoy include collecting old bills and coins, painting and break-dancing. I have a very diverse set of interests, but I am most passionate using what I’ve learned to make the world a better place. Specifically, I want to promote “unity in community”. One way I have managed to do that at my home institution, Brock University, is through connecting individuals who were involved in different clubs and had unique interests to voice their concerns on a united front.
This past week we had the opportunity to meet with various stakeholders in the PSE sector, and to learn more about their role in improving post-secondary education in Ontario. Although the organizations these individuals represent vary from the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) to the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health (CICMH) to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD), it was evident that improving the post-secondary sector, and ultimately, improving access to and quality of post-secondary education for students, was a goal they all shared.
Hi! My name is Shannon Kelly and I am the Vice President of Finance for OUSA while also representing Wilfrid Laurier University students. Additionally I am the Vice President of University Affairs for the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union.
My name is Munro Watters and I am the Vice President of University Affairs for the Alma Mater Society of Queen’s University. I am beyond thrilled to have this opportunity to represent Queen’s students as a member of this year’s Steering Committee.
We’re excited to finally share that OUSA, along with our national partners, has published Shared Perspectives: A Joint Publication on Campus Sexual Violence Prevention and Response! In January, we came together from coast to coast to begin this project and draw attention to the issue of sexual violence on university and college campuses. More importantly, we came together to support survivors, learn from each other, and bring forward solutions at both provincial and national levels. Over the last two years important legislative and policy changes have been made in Ontario, but there are gaps and challenges that remain. Students continue to experience sexual violence on their campuses and survivors face barriers in reporting and accessing support services. OUSA continues to advocate for more concrete commitment and action from the provincial government to tackle the current campus culture. In this publication we provide an environmental scan of what has been happening in our province.
My name is Catherine Dunne (but most people call me Cat), and I am beyond excited to be joining OUSA’s Home Office team for the summer as an Advocacy and Communications Intern!