My Experience as a First Time OUSA GA Delegate
Guest Post by Connor Plante
This past weekend I had the pleasure of being a part of the Feds delegation, where we joined with students from universities across Ontario, in attending the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance 2017 General Assembly hosted by our friends at Queen’s University in Kingston.
As a first time delegate to OUSA General Assembly, I came in slightly intimidated because of my lack of experience being involved with student government and the fact that I was surrounded by those that hold a variety of positions within Feds, self-described ‘policy nerds,’ and those that would have begun attending General Assembly at a time when I was still just in high school. But these fears were quickly calmed because of the great ‘GA veterans’ of our delegation, who provided fantastic insight and support in preparing myself, and our other rookies, for exactly what to expect.
To give a quick overview, the main purpose of OUSA General Assembly was to debate/critique, and ultimately approve, three main policy papers that OUSA then will use in their lobbying efforts to the provincial government of behalf of students. At this particular General Assembly, the three papers up for discussion were Housing Transit & Community Development, International Students, and A Comprehensive Access Strategy. The conference began with an overview of the papers on Friday morning and then we were split up into break-out sessions where we would dive deeper into the content of each individual paper. This was certainly one of the more interesting parts of the weekend as it allowed everyone to hear the different perspectives of other delegates and the respectful debate and discussion undoubtedly contributed to the improvement of the policies. We concluded the weekend with plenary on Sunday where, after some good debate and amendments, all three policy papers were approved. From my personal perspective, I was particularly satisfied with some of the important policy recommendations that came out of the housing section, many of which have the potential to address the student housing concerns that have come out of Waterloo in recent years.
So I can conclude by saying that OUSA General Assembly ended up being an absolutely great experience and something I’m glad to have become involved with. Being able to learn, and be a part of, the student advocacy process is something that I will carry with me throughout my university career. Lots of thought and hard work went into the weekend but I also enjoyed the social aspect of the conference and meeting so many students from across the province. I would like to thank all my fellow delegates who made me feel right at home and contributed to Waterloo being such a great delegation at General Assembly; Hannah Beckett, Antonio Brieva, Andrew Clubine, Sacha Forstner, Chris Lolas, Steven Jia, Reba Nauth, Maia Norman, Caleb Voskamp, AJ Wray and last but certainly not least, our outstanding leader Sarah Wiley.
2B Economics and Political Science
The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance is an advocacy group that is run by and for students. They advocate on student issues to the provincial government. To learn more about OUSA and how you can get involved check out www.ousa.ca or email Feds VP Education and OUSA Board Member Sarah Wiley at email@example.com.