Hi friends! My name is Colin Aitchison and I’m excited to be OUSA’s newest Research & Policy Analyst!
I come from a military family, attending high school in Kingston before moving to Waterloo to attend Wilfrid Laurier University. While at Laurier I became heavily involved in our campus community. From joining a fraternity to volunteering, and eventually working in student government, I benefitted from a wide variety of experiences while at school. Most recently, I served as Vice President: University Affairs for the Laurier Students’ Union, where I represented Laurier’s undergraduate students both internally to the university, as well as at all levels of government. Additionally, part of my responsibilities with that role was serving on OUSA’s Steering Committee! Experiences such as my time as an executive with the Students’ Union shaped my career outlook, and paved a way for me to apply for this kind of position!
My journey to where I am now kind of came as an accident. When I applied to university out of high school, I was initially offered a conditional acceptance into the Regular Officer Training Plan for the Canadian Forces as an Aerospace Control Officer, on the condition that I successfully completed aircrew selection testing. Needless to say, I was unsuccessful. Coming from a military family, my plan was to earn my degree from Laurier, join the military, and serve until I was 55. Instead, I now get to support student leaders, and watch them make a positive impact on their communities, and the province as a whole. I think my failure definitely worked out for the better.
My passion for this kind of work stemmed from my first meeting with a politician during my second year. While a volunteer in the Laurier Students’ Union, our Vice President: University Affairs at the time, Stephen Franchetto, brought me along to a meeting with then MPP for Cambridge Rob Leone. Our group was talking about some of OUSA’s priorities, and Rob said he was constantly impressed with the effort that OUSA and the Students’ Union put into their recommendations. It was that moment that helped me realize that students can make a positive impact, and that strong research helps make the student voice more credible.
Now that I’m here at OUSA I am excited for a couple of things. Most importantly, I’m excited to help support student leaders address the challenges they face in post-secondary education. Students are our future, and working with a group as intelligent as our Steering Committee is going to be an insightful, and rewarding experience. It’s an exciting opportunity to continue to build on the passion I developed as an undergraduate student. Secondly, I’m also excited to explore the big city of Toronto, and really immerse myself in the community! With the biggest city I remember living in being Kingston, this is a big culture shift, and an exciting new opportunity!
I’m looking forward to the years ahead! If you ever want to chat about sports, theatre, politics or anything else, please don’t hesitate to reach out!