April Update from the President

Hi everyone,

It's very bittersweet to be writing my final blog as President of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. Just under 12 months ago, I was elected President of OUSA to serve the needs of over 140,000 undergraduate students. This position has been both extremely challenging and extremely rewarding, and has been one of the most fulfilling opportunities of my life. I'd like to thank the Home Office staff, our Steering Committee, and the countless students and partners who have made OUSA's work so successful and so meaningful. Now, for the last time, I'd like to update you on the work we've done this month.

OUSA's most notable event in April is always its Partners in Higher Education Dinner. This year the event ran more than smoothly, and was graced by both Minister Moridi and Deputy Minister Sheldon Levy as speakers. We were also pleased to have both opposition critics, MPPs Lorne Coe and Peggy Sattler, as well as several other elected officials in attendance: Yvan Baker, Catherine Fife, Kathryn McGarry, and Arthur Potts. The event itself brought together students, government, and stakeholders for a night of celebration and reflection, and is always one of my favourite OUSA events. In addition, the night allowed us to honour many of our hard working professors and instructors with the OUSA Teaching Excellence Awards, and allowed me to reminisce on our year with a final speech to our audience. It was a fantastic night overall, and showed once again the respect and reach OUSA has as a result of the work it does.

In addition, OUSA's Steering Committee was ecstatic to welcome an eighth member to the organization, Laurentian University's Students' General Association. The SGA had observed OUSA's Spring General Assembly, and has gotten to know OUSA over the last number of years. We are extremely excited to see how this new member will be able to diversify OUSA's work and provide more value to OUSA's policy, research, and advocacy.

Finally, this year's team has placed a high emphasis on ensuring a strong transition for the incoming Steering Committee. As a result, we have added updates to our Annual Plan indicating for each of our annual priorities what was accomplished. This will help the new Steering Committee understand what was done this year, and which priorities may still need work or were not successfully completed. In addition, our executive has created an Executive Transition Report, which provides updates on the work and responsibilities of each the President, VP Finance, and VP Administration & Human Resources. As an incoming executive, our team found it often difficult to learn about the expectations for the role, and we hope this transition document will help inform and prepare next year's OUSA leaders.

I'd like to thank OUSA for everything this organization has given to students, and has given to our team. Whether it was seeing the 2016 Ontario Budget's changes or financial aid or gaining a new member to the OUSA team, this year showed that OUSA can always reinvent itself and successfully push for student needs. It has been an honour to serve as President and I have the utmost confidence in next year's team that OUSA will continue to make post-secondary better for each student in Ontario.


Spencer Nestico-Semianiw
2015-16 OUSA President