I’d like to take this opportunity to express my excitement for the upcoming year with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and the opportunity to advocate for undergraduate students in Ontario. My name is Julia Göllner and I am the Academic Affairs Commissioner of the Alma Mater Society of Queen’s University. On May 17, I was elected as the Vice-President of Administration and Human Resources of OUSA.
I’m currently in my fourth year of political studies and history at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Throughout my degree I’ve had the opportunity to engage with a variety of organizations and clubs on campus. I served as the Chair of the Queen’s Female Leadership in Politics conference, and the speakers coordinator for the Queen’s Sustainability Conference. Additionally, I had the opportunity to model for the Project Red Charity Fashion show—an event organized to raise money in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
In my time at Queen’s University, I’ve fallen in love with education and the transformative experience it can offer. Often times, students can feel divided from one another as they focus on different fields and pursue different pathways. However, the one unifying experience held by all undergraduate students is education and the pursuit of knowledge. My appreciation for post-secondary education and the field of learning is what motivated me to become involved in academic affairs, and I will continue to drive my advocacy efforts in the next year.
In terms of my role as an OUSA Steering Committee member, I’m eager to advocate on issues like open educational resources and experiential learning. My focus for the year will be to elevate the issues addressed by OUSA both internally to my own member institution’s administration, as well as externally to the provincial government. I hope to raise awareness on the importance of free access to textbooks and course content and the barriers imposed by expensive course materials. Additionally, many stakeholders in the education sector have agreed that experiential learning is of major importance. I hope to contribute to the conversation on how post-secondary institutions and government can collaborate to develop experienced-based professional opportunities for students.
It is a very exciting time to be involved in student advocacy, and to be able to discuss the issues undergraduate students face every day. I hope to utilize the opportunity to further the conversation on how we can achieve OUSA’s vision of accessible, affordable, accountable and high quality undergraduate education in Ontario.