Before getting elected, I ran for another "position" on the USC - being an OUSA delegate for the 2019 OUSA GA. OUSA is a powerful lobbying body that I have been watching for a few years and you can learn more about what it has done in the past here:
I went during the first weekend of March to represent Huron and Western alongside my lovely team of nine other student delegates. We were joined in Waterloo by the other kickass Student Government teams from Queens, Waterloo, Brock, Trent, Laurier, MacMaster, and Laurentian (in no particular order :) ). We were working on policy papers to present to the government regarding LGBTQ+ Support, Student Financial Aid, and Student Employment. Though all three topics have had fascinating headlines in the news lately, the Student Financial Aid paper was one of intense focus for our team.
With the recently-announced changes to OSAP and Student Financial Aid in Ontario (you can read more here if you're not familiar: so we worked together with the other student delegates to propose a plan that would best aid Ontario Undergraduate students.
We worked for three days on these papers in conjunction with preparatory readings and research to create the most refined policy papers possible. These papers are then sent back to the Research & Policy Analysts of OUSA to be prepared for presentation to the Ontario government.
Nico Waltenbury, the incoming Communications Officer of the USC, asked me to write a short blog post explaining my experience at OUSA:
"I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I found out that I had been selected to go to the Spring 2019 OUSA Conference. All I knew was that I was going with a team of stellar students and that I was sure to learn a lot. I had heard of OUSA before from other students’ social media, but I never really had a clear understanding of what it is or why it exists. Under the mentorship of experienced OUSA delegates, I was given a crash course how the system works and how I would add value. The OUSA conference fully immerses you into the world of student advocacy on a greater playing field. It also appears to be the epitome of the value that an extra-curricular activity can give to an undergraduate student.
We debated and collaborated with some of Ontario’s best and brightest regarding many student issues, namely how to better serve marginalized communities. Though delegates disagreed on how and by what means, all students appeared to agree on the underlying notion that marginalized communities need more support, and it is in part the responsibility of students’ unions to do so. I am so proud to have been part of that power-house group of students all fighting for an safer and more inclusive student experience.
A few days since the conference, it’s clear that OUSA gave me a truly unique learning experience that I am so grateful to have had. Not only do we work tirelessly to improve the lives of students, but we also benefit from all of these experiences. You are given a project or task, which you lead and take ownership of. It’s a real-world experience and application of your skills. It’s safe to say that these organizations have played a central role in my personal and professional development. I can’t express how important they are for students to use as a training-grounds where they can accelerate their career.”
My role on the USC requires me to know how the USC works and its processes. Last Saturday, the other incoming Faculty and Affiliate Presidents, along with faculty and affiliate councilors, attended a day-long USC Training Session held by the outgoing Speaker, Madison Ing. It was a great opportunity to learn about the USC Bylaws, Standing Committees, and another refresher on Roberts' Rules.
SPO Elections Process
As a councilor on the USC, it is my duty to ensure that the USC is upholding its promise to add value to and support Huron. Over the last few weeks, I have been discussing and meeting with Student Programs Officer candidates. The SPO role has existed for three years and the role has been taken in different directions each year. The SPO is internally elected by both the incoming and outgoing USC councilors so both Inam and I met with the three candidates to discuss how they could benefit Huron and Western. The election took place this Sunday at the USC AGM and we will find out the election results shortly.
Kairos Indigenous Blanket Exercise
I didn't attend this event as part of my role as President of the HUCSC. But, I'm really glad that I could share my experience on a platform like this. It has inspired me to solidify Truth-and-Reconciliation-themed programming to be part of the Vice President Student Affairs portfolio and I look forward to working with that VP once they are elected to do so. At this event, I was joined by a number of wonderful student-leaders.
The Kairos Indigenous Blanket Exercise is an immersive experience where you are challenged to take on the role of an Indigenous person. It walks through sensitive topics such as Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, and other policies which have affected Indigenous communities. It was a truly heart-wrenching, painful, sad exercise. And I am SO glad that I was able to take part. Building empathy and understanding for Indigenous communities is one of the most important things we can do for university students. As noted by one of the event leaders, "education got us into this mess, and it will be education that will see us through it". I encourage anyone who is able to attend an event like this to do so, and to reach out to organizations like Kairos to find out how they can build a relationship with their local communities.