The summer months have been exciting for OUSA as we welcome a new year of Steering Committee. It didn’t take long for us to get our feet wet, however! Our Steering Committee has been hard at work at both Welcome Conference and Strategic Conference setting the strategic direction and preparing for another year of student driven advocacy. We established our four advocacy priorities for the year, to be released in the coming months. We are excited to work with our partners - old and new - and welcome the new Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Ross Romano to the sector.
At Welcome Conference, we also welcomed a new executive: President (myself), VP Finance (Matthew Gerrits), and VP Administration & HR (Rayna Porter). We have been working hard to coordinate our vision for how we can lead our Steering Committee and OUSA as a whole to success throughout our terms. Each member of our team brings a unique perspective from their home institution and lived experiences, and we can’t wait to see how this shapes our success for the year. Finally, we’d like to welcome Crystal Mak onto our team as the new Communications and Operations Coordinator. Crystal comes to us from the USC and we are excited to have her on board!
On the Research and Policy side of our organization, Britney and Ryan attended the Town and Gown Association of Ontario’s annual symposium to share key municipal issues that impact students provincially wide. Many of these highlights stemmed from our hot off the fresh publication of Habitats: Students in their Municipalities 2019. This is one of OUSA’s annual publications, featuring case studies on municipal-level topics, written by students on the ground from our member schools. This year, Habitats featured articles ranging from addressing housing issues to increasing work-integrated learning opportunities in the community. Our authors came from Brock, McMaster, Western, Laurentian, Laurier and Waterloo - if you haven’t had the chance to read it already, make sure you check it out on our website!
Our Research Intern Linda is hard at work writing a research report on LGBTQ+ Students on Campus, exploring how LGBTQ+ students navigate classrooms, services, healthcare, and campus broadly. This isn’t all though - she has been keeping busy researching the variance in LGBTQ+ voices across institutions, working on innovative solutions to job creation and grants, and looking at student-led advocacy movements across time and places. If you are interested in any of these topics, make sure you stay tuned to our Facebook page to watch for when her findings are released!
Last but not least, our Home Office staff attended Worldviews on Media and Higher Education Conference hosted at the University of Toronto. They learned a lot about media and higher education, and were happy to connect with other sector stakeholders.
Throughout June, we also heard from you. As students began receiving their OSAP estimates, it was clear that the changes to the OSAP program are having significant changes on the affordability and accessibility of post-secondary education in Ontario. Here at OUSA we are committed to amplifying your voices at the provincial level through media, sharing your stories and the impacts with Members of Provincial Parliament and the Ministry. Many of our member institutions have also been working with you directly on your campus, and I encourage you to reach out to your representative at OUSA to share how the cuts are impacting you. As indicated in our priorities, this will remain a priority for OUSA to make education more affordable for you.
July is looking to be an exciting month, and I’m looking forward to engaging with and updating you all again soon.
Until next time,