Hello and Happy Fall!!!! (my all-time favourite season)
I start off every blog by stating that it has been a busy month but it truly has been another busy month!
We started off October by concluding our “Stop OSAP Clawbacks” campaign which called on the provincial government to halt the clawing back of funds to the provincial portion of OSAP. Although the campaign has ended, we will continue to advocate for improvements to OSAP. Just yesterday, the government released their Fall Economic Statement which indicates that they will be stopping OSAP clawbacks and returning the 2021-2022 OSAP spending to that of 2019-2020 levels. Students will now be able to see a net benefit with the increased investment provided by the federal government. However, student financial aid continues to be underfunded, and we hope this is a first step to ensuring all students have access to needed financial support to access and continue their post-secondary education.
After Thanksgiving, we went straight into preparations for our Fall General Assembly which took place from October 28-31. General Assembly brings together delegates from all of our member schools to discuss and debate policy papers that we use for our advocacy. This semester, we edited and passed the following papers: “Responding to COVID-19,” “Student Mobility & Credit Transfer,” “Accountability & System Vision,” and “Indigenous Students.” A big shoutout to all of the student authors on these papers, as well as the delegates. Also, a special shoutout to all students who worked on the Indigenous Students policy paper and concluded a two-year process!
Next, I am excited to share that OUSA has a new observer school, the Ontario Tech Students’ Union (OTSU)! OTSU joined us for General Assembly this past weekend and will also be present at our Student Advocacy Conference later this month. We are looking forward to welcoming them to the team and working together over the next year!
This past month one of our summer interns published her capstone project titled “Invisible Intersections: Bringing the Experiences of Young Adult Caregivers into Public Discourse”, a report which “hopes to act as a pressure mechanism to inspire further research into the experiences and needs of this group and promote their inclusion in post-secondary data collection.” Make sure to check it out here!
Lastly, I had the pleasure of emceeing at a virtual conference hosted by the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health (CICMH) last week. Alongside Malika, one of OUSA’s awesome Research and Policy Analysts, we delivered a presentation on “Student Voices on Campus Mental Health: Perspectives of Marginalized Groups.” As well, this past weekend, Austin, OUSA Steering Committee Member and VP External Affairs at BUSU, and Eddy, OUSA Executive Director, participated in Meal Exchange’s National Student Food Summit 2021. Austin spoke at the “Exploring Campus Food Policy” discussion and Eddy spoke at the “Exploring Provincial Policy” discussion! Shoutout to both of them for contributing to great conversations!
Looking ahead to next month, we’ll be having our Student Advocacy Conference (Lobby Week) from November 15-18th! During this week, our Steering Committee will meet with various Members of Provincial Parliament to share our advocacy goals and recommendations from our policy. Stay tuned at @ousahome on Instagram and Twitter to stay up-to-date during the week!
Until next time :)