July 28, 2023
OUSA releases “Habitats: Students in their Municipalities 2023”
TORONTO - Today the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) released its annual publication, 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 OUSA has collaborated with Rural and Ready, a student-run non-profit organization, to bring forth this special issue of Habitats focusing on municipal-level topics within the context of rural and northern Ontario.
“School, career pathways, and community membership look very different for youth growing up in rural and northern Ontario than those growing up in urban and southern regions.” Said Vivian Chiem, OUSA’s President. “The unique challenges faced by students in rural and northern Ontario, within post-secondary institutes and their communities, often remain overlooked. This edition champions student voices within these communities and calls for increased collaboration and respect for students in their municipalities."
Considering the diverse geographical, social, and economic contexts, students in rural and northern areas continue to encounter unique challenges in accessing and persisting at post-secondary institutions. Moreover, as we move towards a post-pandemic world, student and community concerns have become broad, complex, and extensive and therefore require collaboration and coordination between universities and their local municipalities. Therefore this edition of Habitats will spotlight the lived experiences of students in rural and northern Ontario, where student authors provide a roadmap of municipal issues affecting their realities.
The articles in this year’s edition of Habitats will acknowledge barriers, inaccessibility, scarcity, but, most importantly, the resiliency of rural and northern students. The themes encompass prevalent issues such as internet accessibility, disruptions of local transit systems and their impact on students, community-student relationships with a focus on student retention, and mental health services in rural and northern Ontario.
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.
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About: OUSA represents the interests of 160,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Tiffany Li Wu
Communications and Operations Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance