A reflection from VP: University Affairs, Shawn Cruz

We had an excellent year with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) this past year. We engaged with over 50 MPPs at Queen's Park during our Advocacy Week on a variety of topics like financial aid and gender-based violence prevention. We continued our advocacy by publishing three student-authored public policy papers, calling on the provincial government to make further investments in a variety of areas. Three more papers will be published by the end of April, so there's still plenty to look forward to.
Here at home in Waterloo and Brantford, we spoke with over 20 elected officials at all levels of government during our Local Advocacy Week. Our Outreach volunteers did an excellent job representing their peers in our meetings and promoting the student voice. Special thank you to the MPs, MPPs, Mayors, and Councillors we met with for their continued support and participation!
Our team also played key roles at City Council, with several presentations and projects with City staff including harm reduction in Waterloo and increased safety in downtown Brantford. We worked with our partners over a dozen times in a variety of City Committees and adhoc situations.
We organized an Open Forum event in Brantford to give students the chance to connect with their local elected officials. The event, in partnership with Conestoga Students Inc., began with a networking function to introduce students to Mayor Kevin Davis, and Councillors Brian Van Tilbourg & Joshua Wall. Afterwards, the Mayor and Councillors spoke on a Q&A panel, allowing students to ask about the City of Brantford's improvements to safety, parking, student retention, and sustainability. The event offered students a unique insight into the inner workings of municipal politics.
Finally, the Student Rights Advisory Committee educated over 400 students on their rights as tenants. Look forward to future workshops on both campuses, as well as future partnerships with other schools. We anticipate further concerns about rental housing, especially due to COVID-19. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask us at studentrights@mylaurier.ca (Waterloo) or lbstudentrights@mylaurier.ca (Brantford). 
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