Presidential Update February 2024

Hi and Happy Black History Month!


Within a blink of an eye, we are already through the second month of the year.


To start off OUSA's birth month, we launched the What is OUSA? campaign on social media. First, our Action Plan, which outlines the organization's annual goals, was published. Our summer internship applications opened and concluded, and we are excited to see who the new team will be. We also held a campus sweater giveaway in recognition of our 32nd birthday and our 3 winners were contacted! Finally, our campus visits reel series is now available for viewing on Instagram - this was a fun way to connect with students and listen to their concerns around OSAP and insights on post-secondary education!

Speaking of campus visits, we ended off strong with our trips to McMaster and Western. Malika and I spent Valentine’s Day presenting at the USC meeting where we spoke about OUSA’s work, opportunities to get involved, and some of our advocacy wins. At both campuses, we got to take tours of the grounds and explore some cool spaces. And with that, we marked visiting all our member schools this year!

Next, the Academic Colleagues branch at the Council of Ontario Universities invited us to present about our work this year. We shared our priorities and joined in a nuanced conversation about student needs and the role that teaching staff have in supporting these needs.

One of the biggest tasks we tackled this month was a highly-anticipated announcement from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. After recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Panel dropped in November, many have been waiting for a plan from the Ministry to address the funding crisis among post-secondary institutions. The Ministry made their announcement at the end of the month and revealed several measures including the continuation of the tuition freeze, a $1.3 billion investment into operating grants and other targeted pools of funding, and the introduction of a Bill to mandate mental health, racial discrimination, and cost transparency policies at institutions. The tuition freeze and Bill are welcoming news for students, but OUSA is still concerned about the level of funding being committed by the Ministry. We’re going to continue to push for higher operating grants so that the government can better protect student services and programming, and keep universities adequately afloat. You can find OUSA’s full response here


With a portion of the $1.3 billion going towards mental health, it was very timely that we participated in an advocacy day with the folks at Chegg focused on student mental health. A few members from Steering Committee traveled to Queen’s Park and started the day at a breakfast reception before heading to meetings where we spoke to a handful of policymakers to convey OUSA’s recommendations on funding the recruitment of diverse counsellors, eliminating the need of a disability re-diagnosis, and attaining sustainable funding to operate mental health services. We’re very appreciative of everyone who took the time to meet with us and especially to Chegg for their work and support in planning the day! 

Leaping into March, see you soon!