I hope everyone is doing their best to enjoy a little bit of their summer while staying safe! We’ve been enjoying our summer at OUSA, tackling a lot of new projects and exciting opportunities this month.
As a follow-up to OUSA’s Strategic Planning Conference, we’re excited to share our 2020-2021 priorities:
- Student financial aid: implementing a two-year grace period to OSAP, restoring targeted free tuition, and improving Indigenous student financial aid.
- Quality of education: incentivizing the creation of new job opportunities for students and recent graduates, ensuring the delivery of quality online courses.
- Racial equity: establishing baseline minimum training to provide faculty and student-facing staff with inclusive educational tools and sensitivity training and principles, developing standards for the collection of demographic data across universities.
- Student mental health: supporting community-based mental health providers to ensure culturally relevant and diverse counselling on campuses, developing a K-12 curriculum that emphasizes resilience, coping skills, and general knowledge about mental health and relevant supports.
These priorities will guide our Steering Committee as we focus on important issues in our advocacy efforts and lobby meetings with elected officials and sector stakeholders. We will be using these priorities to highlight concerns we have heard from students, especially in the context of COVID-19.
As we prepare for the fall, OUSA was invited to participate in “The Future of Learning and Prosperity”, a consultation with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to discuss the re-opening of campuses and affordability of post-secondary education. We took this opportunity to highlight the importance of enhancing financial support like OSAP to ensure that students are able to afford to return to university in September, especially given the financial challenges many students have endured throughout the summer months, such as unemployment or job cancellations due to COVID-19.
This month we also hired a new Operations and Communications Coordinator! Chisanga comes to OUSA with experience in advocacy, policy-making, and a keen eye for all things communications! Learn more about Chisanga in her introductory blog here, and don’t hesitate to reach out to her if you’re ever interested in writing a blog for OUSA - she’d love to hear from you!
We’re also super excited to share the launch of OUSA’s new web series, Perspectives on Campus. Zamir, OUSA’s Summer Intern, produced this five-part series where he invites students of colour from across the province to share their experiences as racialized students at Ontario universities. This project amplifies the voices of students doing anti-racism work and identifies how our campuses can become more welcoming spaces for racialized students.Watch episode 0 here, and be sure to tune in every Wednesday in August to catch a new episode of Perspectives on Campus, available on OUSA’s socials.