Hi wonderful people,
I hope your days have been filled with care. It has been a while and a LOT has happened…
I want to begin my update by acknowledging the loss of our friend, Stephanie Ye-Mowe. I am sincerely thinking of my colleague, Steph’s family, friends and loved ones during this time. Stephanie was an amazing advocate and friend, who was strongly committed to amplifying the student voice and had an incredible intellect to match, carrying a critical lens in all the spaces they interacted with. We miss Steph dearly, and are always thankful for what they brought to OUSA and our lives.
With the start of the school year, we also kicked off our campus visits! So far, we’ve been able to travel to Brock, Queen’s, Trent Durham, Waterloo, Ontario Tech, and even went up to our friends at Laurentian! It’s been so fun getting to chat with students, play trivia with them, and explore all the cool campuses!
We also completed our fall campaign, which focused on Orange Shirt Day. Members of our Steering Committee shared stories about the land that their institution occupies, as well as some personal anecdotes that reflect their relationship with the land. OUSA also commissioned Page Chartrand, a Francophone Anishinaabekwe student, to design art for our campaign pins. Page created a beautiful piece titled Healing Through Love, and the pins were distributed across all our member schools to convey Page’s message, which is “...that love needs to be part of every interaction we have with one another. Making love our guiding value will help in healing all the pain of the last 7 generations, and prevent any more being inflicted upon the next 7 generations.”
OUSA has also been engaging quite a bit with the sector! Malika and I had a follow-up meeting with Deputy Minister Wai and Ivonne Mellozzi, Acting Director of the Postsecondary Education Policy Branch. We continued our conversation on student housing, accessibility, and learning materials, and look forward to providing more insights and data on student concerns to the DM and his team!
In mid-October, we had the opportunity to attend the Council of Ontario Universities’s reception at Queen’s Park, which showcased the research and innovations of students at universities across the province! I offered some remarks on the importance of funding and expanding experiential learning programs, so that all students are equipped with real-life experiences to set them up for success upon graduation.
Last, but definitely not least, we hosted our Fall General Assembly! I had the pleasure of hosting all the delegations here in Kitchener-Waterloo at Wilfrid Laurier University. It was a fun, albeit long weekend and we successfully passed three policy papers: Rural and Northern Students; Housing, Transit, and Community Development; and Student Health and Wellness. Congratulations to all the authors and a special thank you to Sean Madden, WLUSU and OUSA alum and Speaker extraordinaire for his patience and perseverance to get us through Plenary.
The next big event we’ve got coming up is our Student Advocacy Conference. Steering Committee and Home Office are going to hole up in Toronto for a few days and spend our time meeting with MPPs and advocating to improve post-secondary education in the province across a variety of topics - but I’ll talk about it more once it’s over!
November has already been a busy start for us and I’m excited to tell you all about it next month!
Stay warm 🙂