What’s the Deal with the 2019 Changes to OSAP?
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My name is Stephanie Bertolo and I am thrilled to be a part of this year’s Steering Committee! On my home campus, I am the Vice President Education of the McMaster Students Union.
I just graduated from Arts & Science with a minor in Community Engagement Studies. Arts & Science is an interdisciplinary degree with an emphasis on social awareness while my minor allowed me to develop principled engagement skills. My academics prepared me well for this role by giving me the ability to see issues from multiple perspectives and the tools to engage the student population effectively.
Hello all, and greetings from the Federation of Students at the University of Waterloo. I am honored to be the Vice President, Education for the Federation of Students (Feds), and to serve as the Feds’ Steering Committee member for OUSA this year.
I am proud to come from an institution at the forefront of work-integrated learning and research in STEM. The differences between our institutions combined with the fact that most of us will only ever attend one university as an undergraduate student, can at times make it difficult to see the common experiences and shared opportunities for students across the province.
I’d like to take this opportunity to express my excitement for the upcoming year with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and the opportunity to advocate for undergraduate students in Ontario. My name is Julia Göllner and I am the Academic Affairs Commissioner of the Alma Mater Society of Queen’s University. On May 17, I was elected as the Vice-President of Administration and Human Resources of OUSA.
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.