It was a busy November for OUSA, with students gathering at Brock University to create policy and then again at Queen’s Park to advocate to Members of Provincial Parliament. We kicked off the month with OUSA’s bi-annual General Assembly — our 50th — which saw student delegates from our eight member schools come together at Brock to discuss and vote on whether to pass three updated policies: Two Spirit & LGBTQ+ Students, Student Accessibility & Disability Inclusion, and Ancillary & Incidental Fees.
The weekend began with an introduction by home office staff, welcoming remarks from Brock University Students’ Union Vice President External Affairs, Niveditha Sethumadhavan followed by two days of breakout sessions where delegates critiqued the policies and made sure they accurately reflected student concerns and recommendations. At the end of day two, OUSA delegates visited Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls, where they had a chance to experience more of what the Niagara region has to offer. General Assembly wrapped up with plenary, where delegates debated, proposed amendments, and voted on whether to pass the policies up for approval. In the end, our delegates voted to pass all three of the policies being considered, which means that OUSA’s student leaders now have a new set of policy recommendations to draw from as they advocate to the provincial government and continue to push for positive changes to post-secondary.
Speaking of government advocacy, OUSA also held its annual Student Advocacy Conference last week at Queen’s Park, where student leaders had the opportunity to advocate on behalf of students to the provincial government. We had over 55 meetings with MPPs and their political staff, including meetings with MPPs from all four political parties, sector stakeholders, and the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Ross Romano. We also had a chance to interact with MPPs and hear their thoughts on post-secondary education at a breakfast reception that we hosted in partnership with the College Student Alliance.
With these events in the books, OUSA looks forward to getting started on our next policy cycle! We’ll be revisiting our policies on International Students & Education, Rural & Northern Students, and Sexual Violence Prevention & Response. We’ll be holding think tanks in the coming weeks, and then our student authors will begin work on updating the policies. And then before you know it, we’ll be hosting our next General Assembly — this time at Western — to debate policy all over again!