The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release the most recent edition of Habitats: Students in their Municipalities. Each year, students from OUSA’s member institutions highlight the successes and challenges they face in their municipalities through a series of case studies on municipal-level topics and issues affecting undergraduate students across the province. This year, despite the exceptional circumstances of a global pandemic, our contributors have once again demonstrated the dichotomy of students in their municipalities, simultaneously sharing in community-wide challenges with a unique and often overlooked perspective.
This year, students from six of OUSA’s eight member institutions submitted case studies with themes ranging from gaps in the housing system to the need for interregional transit, as well as offering frameworks for environmental sustainability, gender-based violence prevention, and inclusion of students in their communities and municipal politics.
Ontario’s post-secondary institutions are integral parts of their respective municipalities, and collaboration and coordination between universities and their local municipalities is an important aspect of facilitating a mutually beneficial relationship. A healthy, productive environment born out of collaboration and coordination allows both students and municipalities to thrive by fostering an environment of trust, growth, respect, and community.
To this end, Habitats offers policymakers, politicians, students, and administrators access to student perspectives on the issues and topics that are relevant to them and their communities. It is our hope that sharing these perspectives with stakeholders will contribute to building meaningful and lasting partnerships between students and their municipal communities. The authors have demonstrated the importance of student voices in these conversations, and as we move forward during and after COVID-19, it is more necessary than ever that we listen.