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Presidential Update - September 2019

Orientation week is only just behind us, and yet campuses are beginning to feel like students never left. Back at OUSA, we have been working hard all summer to prepare and to make your campuses reflect your needs as much as possible, and we are very excited that we can continue to do this great work alongside you as the semester begins. 

 

In fact, everyone from our Home Office team, and I, are gearing up to launch a series of campus visits across our eight member institutions throughout September and October. During these campus visits, we will have an opportunity to talk to students, listen to your concerns, and share more information about OUSA. We can’t thoughtfully and meaningfully represent student perspectives without on-the-ground student voices, and we are looking forward to engaging in this dialogue over the coming weeks. We will also be sharing how you can get more involved with OUSA - so make sure you hunt us down on campus if you are looking for more opportunities to enter the realm of student advocacy. 

 

Speaking of opportunities to get involved in student advocacy, this week OUSA is launching an OSAP campaign across our eight member institutions. We have heard you loud and clear throughout the summer months that OSAP and being able to afford post-secondary education is your top priority this year. We want students to share your concerns to the Premier, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and your Member of Provincial Parliament. To participate in OUSA’s letter writing campaign, click here, or stay tuned for a booth on your campus where you can get involved. 

Additionally, our Fall General Assembly is sneaking up on us. Before you know it, the Brock University Student Union will be hosting us from November 1-3 to debate three policy papers - Gender and Sexual Diversity: Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ Students [Gender and Sexual Diversity: LGBTQ+ Students]; Student Accessibility and Disability Inclusion [Students with Disabilities]; and Ancillary Fees. If these are issues that you are passionate about, make sure you reach out to your Steering Committee member at your school to see how you can apply to become a delegate for our General Assembly. We will also be having our Annual General Meeting during this Assembly where we will have important conversations about what OUSA has been doing over the course of the year, and where our future strategic direction lies. 

 

While we have been preparing for you, we have also been hard at work behind the scenes. Earlier this month, OUSA released its thirteenth edition of Educated Solutions, focusing on different perspectives on the importance of student-led advocacy. Ryan, our Research and Policy Analyst (RPA), did an incredible job compiling and editing this edition, and if you haven’t already, make sure to check it out here. We are navigating uncertain waters in Ontario’s student advocacy - and it is more important than ever for students to speak up for the issues that are important to them. 

 

Furthermore, we held a successful alumni event at the end of August where our new Steering Committee members got the chance to engage with old alumni from Home Office and Steering Committees before them. It was a great event where we got to see some old and new faces, and where our new Steering Committee got to gather some wise words from their predecessors. Thank you to everyone that came out!

 

Finally, OUSA was very happy to attend an announcement earlier this month from the Minister of Women and Gender Equality where the Federal Government announced an investment of 1.5 million in spending to efforts for gender-based violence prevention and support on post-secondary campuses, as well as the release of the Courage to Act: Addressing and Preventing Gender-Based Violence on Post-Secondary Campuses, a report on the National Framework to Address and Prevent Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions. OUSA has worked as part of the Advisory Committee for this report since January 2019. It was a great announcement where I got the chance to tell the Minister about OUSA’s priorities for gender-based violence prevention and support on campus, where we celebrated how far we have come, and recognized how far we have to go. A big shout out to Britney, our RPA, for her commitment to this project and contributing on the panel about the importance of student voices in the framework’s creation. 

 

That’s all for me! Be sure to reach out as we complete our campus visits this month, or over email.

Until next time,

Cat