OUSA hosts 50th annual general assembly
OUSA’s annual fall general assembly took place from Nov. 1 to 3 at Brock University in St. Catharines to discuss and debate three policy papers on different topics: ancillary fees, gender and sexual diversity, two-spirit & LGBTQ+ students and student disability and inclusion.
“It’s an opportunity for all the different member associations who comprise OUSA, for their students to get together and discuss what OUSA’s policy direction should be. When we arrived on the Friday, we had the opportunity to review the papers, provided feedback and edit those papers in advance for the next day,” said Shawn Cruz, vice president of university affairs for the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union.
“Saturday was when students provided feedback on the papers and we obviously took that feedback into account, come Sunday all the papers were brought together and debated on. It’s a very formal process using Robert’s Rule of Order, at the end of the plenary session on Sunday the papers were passed, approved and members felt they were a good representation for students at the provincial level.”
It’s an opportunity for all the different member associations who comprise OUSA, for their students to get together and discuss what OUSA’s policy direction should be.
– Shawn Cruz, vice president of university affairs for the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union
Each year there are eight schools that meet twice a year to review these papers, in the fall and then again in the winter.
Some of the schools that comprise OUSA are the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, McMaster University, Brock University, Queen’s University, Trent University, Durham GTA and the University of Western Ontario.
“OUSA provides Laurier and Laurier students an opportunity to advocate in a way that we wouldn’t have without our OUSA membership. OUSA is a very valuable organization that brings over 150,000 student voices together and gives us a central voice when it comes to representing the government,” Cruz said.
“The Laurier students’ union, as well as other student organizations across Ontario, will do their provincial and federal political advocacy of their own, but the benefit of being part of OUSA is that it can bring together so many diverse voices, it also gives us more power when trying to get meetings with government officials, we’re able together to do a lot as a collective.”
This year’s general assembly was the 50th annual meeting of the member schools and all three papers that were under review were passed on the plenary floor.
“We have such a diverse set of people that we advocate for, not only at Laurier but at other schools across Ontario too and that’s the benefit of having them all collect in the same room at OUSA general assembly,” Cruz said.
“I think what that means for our own advocacy here at Laurier is that we can continue to do a really good job and engage as many students as possible, making sure we aren’t just representing a singular voice because we need to take into account all the different student perspectives and try and elevate that to the government as best as we can.”