Reflecting back on my short and sweet time at OUSA - I was given the opportunity to balance the roles of both our communications and operations portfolios.
The home office staff is a small, but mighty, team of four, with the addition of an intern in the summer. Given the open concept of the office, I had the pleasure of getting to know everybody and their daily lives very well. I’ll cherish all of the random topics we’d talk about, the fast-paced efficiency of the team, and coming in every day knowing that we’d get stuff done. I’m forever grateful to have learned so much from both the home office staff and student board about OUSA’s day-to-day advocacy work, lobbying the provincial government, and the transparency of OUSA as an organization. I was lucky enough to be able to travel to 8 different campuses from Kingston to Sudbury, which as a British Columbia native wowed me every time.
The role of Communications and Operations Coordinator is a hectic one to say the least; you take on the external communications of OUSA on social media, answering media requests and creating a newsletter to share OUSA’s monthly activities. On the operational side, you update budgets, invoice, and organize logistics and events (sadly, some of this year’s events were cancelled due to COVID). The role taught me a lot about project management, keeping your cool, and rolling with the punches.
Coming from my previous role at the Western USC, I felt that I was knowledgeable on how student unions operate and the work that they do. However, I came to learn so much more about the advocacy side of student unions, and developed a knowledge that goes far beyond the marketing and events experience I had at Western.
There is a lot going on behind-the-scenes of the advocacy wins that OUSA boasts. There are meetings with stakeholders in the post-secondary education sector, meetings with the Minister of University and Colleges and other MPPs, budget submissions, and media appearances. There is also a lot of consultations, research, and editing that goes into writing our policy papers. Written by student authors, these policies are based on lived experiences and student voices, and are discussed and passed during OUSA’s bi-annual General Assemblies. Once the papers are in OUSA’s policy library, they serve as strong, evidence-based policies that guide OUSA’s advocacy work, and are referenced in media interviews and used when lobbying the provincial government.
With an uncertain future due to COVID-19 and the possibility of a fully virtual university experience in the next year, I encourage you to take the time to get to know OUSA. Read up about what they do for students, get involved with writing for their blog, and familiarize yourself with how they can help you. The biggest takeaway from my time here is that OUSA has the power to make real, positive change - let them be a resource for you.