Hello and happy September and (almost) Fall!
I don’t know about you, but the month of August flew by! From vaccine mandate discussions to policy writing and consultations, it’s been another busy month. Over the past few days, the Western campus has been filled with incoming students moving into residence, and upper-year students gearing up for orientation week. I must say, it has been very exciting to see people back on campus and ready to take on the new school year. A big shoutout to all incoming students on starting at your respective universities and pushing through as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic!
Since I updated you last, OUSA’s two summer interns, Ashyana-Jasmine Kachra and Emily DuBois Brooks, have finished their terms and successfully completed their summer capstone projects. Ashyana developed a podcast titled “Con-ver-sa-tions,” a series of interviews that focus on youth igniting change in their communities. Emily created a lookbook/magazine called “Our Collective Look-Book/Magazine,” which features 7 Indigenous student artists from universities across Ontario. Congrats to both Ashyana and Emily on a successful term!
Steering Committee has also been hard at work over the past month with our policy paper think tanks, consultations, and writing. As the fall General Assembly is coming up in about two months, we are all working to edit and rewrite our policies on Responding to COVID-19, Student Mobility and Credit Transfer, and Accountability and System Vision. We’re looking forward to bringing these policies to the General Assembly and having thoughtful and productive conversations on how they can be improved and work best for students.
It has also been a busy month with vaccine mandate discussions. Although conversations regarding this have varied from campus to campus, Steering Committee supported respective statements put out by the Council of Ontario Universities and the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health regarding university-wide and province-wide mandatory vaccine policies to enhance measures already in place. The health and safety of students on our respective campuses is of utmost importance and we hope that everyone is keeping safe as you return back to school.
This month we also attended a consultation with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities regarding Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. We were able to pull from our Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Prevention & Response policy paper to advocate for trauma-informed and survivor-centric approaches in the development of prevention and response measures. As this is one of our advocacy priorities, we are looking forward to continuing this work throughout the year.
Lastly, this past month Steering Committee was able to connect with previous OUSA alumni during OUSA’s first-ever virtual alumni event. A number of previous Home Office staff and Steering Committee members were in attendance and it was very cool getting to meet and discuss with them. Shoutout to all the alumni that made it out and I look forward to connecting further in the future!
That’s all from me for this update. Make sure to check out our Educated Solutions publication, out now.
Until next time :)