Introducing Michelle Wodchis-Johnson, OUSA President and Western USC VP of External Affairs


My name is Michelle Wodchis-Johnson and I’m the Vice President of External Affairs at Western University Students’ Council (USC), and it truly is an honour to say that I will also be serving as your OUSA President for this upcoming year!


I grew up in Mississauga (a city that I will defend to the ends of the earth) and recently graduated from Western with an Honors Specialization in Political Science. This degree has allowed me to realize the power of collective action, and what exactly it means to say that I have been trusted with the responsibility of representing the interests of over 160,000 students to the provincial government. 


Having entered university in 2020, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it took me a couple of years to get my bearings. In my third year, I eventually found a home within the Social Science Faculty Council, as well as Western’s Purple Spur Charity Fashion Show. For those of you who have gone to Western – you know that these are vastly different experiences. Yet, the dynamic of becoming heavily involved within both of these spheres allowed me to meet individuals from many different aspects of our school community. These people have broadened my perspectives, and worked to support and inspire me in everything that I do. I’m confident in saying that each of these experiences has fundamentally altered who I am and the way that I hope to approach this role. 


Having been raised by a single mother, the issues of affordability and equity have always been deeply important to me, especially in post-secondary education. These interests have fueled my passion for politics and advocacy. However, it wasn’t until Western USC’s Women in House program, where I had the opportunity to meet some of OUSA’s home office staff, that I realized the true power of the student movement in addressing these issues. 


I think a small part of me knew how much I wanted both roles at that moment, but it didn’t feel like a real possibility for a long time afterward. I had the opportunity to work as an External Affairs Coordinator during my fourth year. This brought me closer to our work, largely through the opportunity to attend OUSA’s most recent General Assembly as an author of the Gender-Based and Sexual Violence Prevention and Response policy paper. 


This role allowed me to  witness firsthand the power of collective action that I had been learning about in my classes for so long, fostering a greater sense of empowerment in our ability as students to have a tangible impact on our post-secondary experience. Through working with OUSA’s home office, alumni, and our incoming Steering Committee, I have spent my last several months surrounded by such indescribable passion and dedication to the advocacy that we do. 


Though I have no idea what the year ahead will hold, I truly cannot wait to find out, and I look forward to continuing to share the work that we do. I’ll leave you with a few last words – if you have ever considered getting involved within your school community in any capacity, but especially through an External Affairs role, just shoot your shot. I truly never saw myself ending up in any of these roles until I got here, and I cannot imagine where I would be (or who I would be) if I never tried. 


Talk soon! And in the meantime, please never hesitate to reach out at [email protected] or [email protected]