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.
I first became involved with OUSA during my first year at Western. At that General Assembly, we passed the “Reforming Ontario’s Financial Assistance System” Policy Paper, which made recommendations to provincial government to reform OSAP. Coming to Western, I ran into some issues with my OSAP application and the income they used to assess it, and it was when the provincial government adopted OUSA’s recommendations that I realized how advocacy has concrete impacts on the ability for everyday students, like myself, to access post-secondary education. From there, I realized policy and advocacy were some of the best ways I could directly improve the student experience for others -- so I kept furthering my involvement with just that!
In my second year, I continued my involvement with OUSA and policy at the University Students’ Council by writing the Open Educational Resources Policy Paper. This is an issue I have been extremely passionate about over the course of my involvement in student politics because it addresses inequity within universities. Textbook costs contribute to affordability barriers that exist for students, even after they have found a place within their post-secondary institution. Students from lower-income backgrounds may have to work while studying to offset these costs, negatively impacting academic performance, or they may forego textbooks altogether because of the sticker price, which can definitely hinder their academic performance. Throughout my time as the OUSA Research Intern in Summer 2017, as a Board Member of eCampusOntario, and as Science Student Council President at Western this past year, I contributed to advocating for this, and hope to continue advocating on affordability and access barriers for students as OUSA President.
I am incredibly excited to work for students for this year, at a level where communicating students’ concerns and solutions is my utmost priority. I have an incredible team, and I look forward to ensuring students’ concerns are at the top of the new government’s priorities for the year. I’m excited to build new and maintain old relationships with key stakeholders who can help us accomplish our goals to bolster mental health services, make post-secondary education more affordable, and ensure post-secondary in Ontario is of the highest quality.
Until next time,