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!
I will be finishing my Honours Specialization in Political Science at Western University this coming year, but my passion for politics and policy, and my journey into student advocacy, was quite the fluke. Originally, I started off my first year at Western in Medical Sciences and was particularly interested in pursuing a career in medicine where I could focus on women’s health and mental health, particularly in rural communities (shoutout to my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador). I became engaged on campus through volunteering with different clubs and the Leadership and Mentorship Program, and quickly realized the way that I wanted to help others could be best achieved through systemic change, and switched my specialization to Political Science.
What truly helped develop my passion for advocacy and policy at the student level, however, was my time working as a Residence Staff member in my second and third year at university. I met incredible student leaders and first year students, and realized the broad array of challenges that students faced on the ground, including, affordable textbooks, tuition, and living expenses; sexual violence and rape culture on campus; and mental health. I wanted to be able to do more to ensure that my peers could access supports they needed to access quality post-secondary education. This led me to become involved with Western's University Students' Council through the Women’s Issues Network and the Vice President portfolio.
Being involved with the University Students' Council is how I first became acquainted with OUSA, and I was quickly impressed by the student-centric model of the organization. I am enthusiastic about being able to put students first all summer. This is an incredible exciting time to work with OUSA as the Ontario Provincial Election approaches, and I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to help students Get Out To Vote and exercise their voice to tell the government the issues that matter to them. I’m also looking forward to living in a big city and taking advantage of all it has to offer, and am hopeful I won’t get too lost as I wander around, as the town I hail from in Newfoundland and Labrador is a meager 1% of the population of Toronto!
After the summer, I am eager to return to work for the USC following my time at OUSA as Associate Vice President and continue similar work on issues affecting students. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you ever want to talk feminism, dogs, or public policy!