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Advocacy Efforts

Strategic Advocacy Pillars of the OTSU

Academics

Mental Health

Financial Aid

Additional Study Space

Ongoing Projects

Pause to UPASS fee for Fall 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to online delivery, many students did not have to attend in-person lectures on campus. As such, the need for a bus pass to commute to campus was not a priority for many students, and the OTSU recognized the financial strain students were placed in as a result of the pandemic. The OTSU, in conjunction with many campus partners from both Ontario Tech and Durham College, advocated for a freeze of the fee for the Fall 2020 semester. Read More

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to online delivery, many students did not have to attend in-person lectures on campus. Nearly 85% of students would not be required to go to campus during the semester. As such, the need for a bus pass to commute to campus was not a priority for many students, and the OTSU recognized the financial strain students were placed in as a result of the pandemic. The OTSU, in conjunction with many campus partners from both Ontario Tech and Durham College, advocated for a freeze of the fee for the Fall 2020 semester. The campus community will discuss with Durham Region Transit (DRT) as to whether or not a freeze will be necessary for the Winter 2021 semester. Furthermore, the OTSU mailed out free Presto Cards to students who registered as a means to further reduce the cost associated with travel. Close

New Student Building

The new Student Building is set to be completed for September 2021. The OTSU met with Ontario Tech administration to request that more study space be included in the floor plan so that students have areas to work on campus. The request was successful and the new building will include expanded study areas.

Open Education Resources

The OTSU surveyed students on the hardships they have faced as a result of the cost of textbooks. The data collected was presented to university administration to advocate for the institution of Open Education Resources (OERs) that will reduce or eliminate the cost for textbooks for students.

Exam Policy Amendment

Through extensive data collection, the OTSU found that many students felt their academic success was hindered by Ontario Tech’s 10-day examination period. This data was presented to the university administration and resulted in the successful extension of the examination period, among other adjustments. Read More

Through extensive data collection, the OTSU found that many students felt their academic success was hindered by Ontario Tech’s 10-day examination period. This data was presented to the university administration and resulted in the successful extension of the examination period. In addition to changes in the scheduling of exams, there were also adjustments made that reduced the weight of final projects within a set window of time before exams, and the ability for students to use government ID in addition to Student ID for exam attendance. Close

BIPOC Award

The OTSU stands with our student community in the fight against systemic racism and discrimination. As such, we created an award to assist members of the marginalized BIPOC community (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour). This fund was contributed to by the OTSU, our Student Societies, and matched by Ontario Tech. Read More

The OTSU stands with our student community in the fight against systemic racism and discrimination. As such, we created an award to assist members of the marginalized BIPOC community (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour). Both the OTSU, and our Societies contributed to the fund, totaling $8000 which was matched by Ontario Tech, bringing the total to $16,000. It is our hope that this fund can address the systemic inequality that disenfranchised BIPOC youth in our community. Close

Mental Health First Aid Training

We have made it mandatory for all full-time staff, executives, and board of directors to receive Mental Health First Aid training. It is important to us, as an organization, to be able to support the students we serve if needed. Read More

The mental health of students is incredibly important to us. As such, we have made it mandatory for all full-time staff, executives, and board of directors to receive Mental Health First Aid training. It is important to us, as an organization, to be able to support the students we serve if needed. This training has also been expanded to include the presidents of our Societies, who are student leaders across all faculties. Close

Past Successes

24-hour Library Access During Exams

It’s important that students have a safe, comfortable, and quiet environment to study during the exam season. The OTSU successfully advocated for an extension of the library’s operating hours to a 24-hour period during the Fall and Winter examination periods. Read More

It’s important that students have a safe, comfortable, and quiet environment to study during the exam season. The OTSU surveyed students via social media polls to ascertain the need for extended library hours and presented these results to university administration and library staff. The library hours were extended on a trial basis to gather further data on student usage overnight. Ultimately, the decision was made to permanently extend the library’s operating hours to a 24-hour period during the Fall and Winter examination period. Close

Exam Policy Amendment

Through extensive data collection, the OTSU found that many students felt their academic success was hindered by Ontario Tech’s 10-day examination period. This data was presented to the university administration and resulted in the successful extension of the examination period, among other adjustments. Read More

Through extensive data collection, the OTSU found that many students felt their academic success was hindered by Ontario Tech’s 10-day examination period. This data was presented to the university administration and resulted in the successful extension of the examination period. In addition to changes in the scheduling of exams, there were also adjustments made that reduced the weight of final projects within a set window of time before exams, and the ability for students to use government ID in addition to Student ID for exam attendance. Close

Stepped Care Program

The OTSU received a number of student inquiries regarding the long wait times associated with booking an appointment with a mental health counsellor. We advocated on behalf of students to see a Stepped Care Program be instituted that provides a number of resources to students between their initial contact and eventual appointment with a counsellor. Read More

The OTSU received a number of student inquiries regarding the long wait times associated with booking an appointment with a mental health counsellor. We advocated on behalf of students to see a Stepped Care Program be instituted that provides a number of resources to students between their initial contact and eventual appointment with a counsellor. The Student Life Department at Ontario Tech has successfully implemented this new model with a myriad of resources available that might meet student’s needs prior to their appointment with a counsellor. Close

MyWellness Online Service

The OTSU instituted a virtual counselling service as part of the student Health and Dental Plan. This service offers students a heavily reduced rate to meet with a counsellor of their choosing, from the comfort of their own home. Read More

The OTSU instituted a virtual counselling service as part of the student Health and Dental Plan. This service offers students a heavily reduced rate to meet with a counsellor of their choosing, from the comfort of their own home. The fees associated can be billed directly to your students Health and Dental Plan, and allow you to select from a large pool of counsellors that fit your specific needs. We understand that having a strong connection with your counsellor is very important, as such, you are not charged for a session until you have two consecutive appointments with the same counselor. Close

Student Relief Fund

The OTSU acknowledged the unique financial challenges faced by students as a result of COVID-19 and acted quickly to create a Student Relief Fund. This fund was set to assist students who were experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 and our donation was eventually matched by Ontario Tech and, with the support of external donors, has grown to over $300,000. Read More

The OTSU acknowledged the unique financial challenges faced by students as a result of COVID-19 and acted quickly to create a Student Relief Fund. This fund was set to assist students who were experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 and our donation was eventually matched by Ontario Tech and, with the support of external donors, has grown to over $300,000. This fund was also contributed to by each of our Societies from each of the faculties. To apply, students were to visit their MyCampus portal and fill in the necessary documentation. Close

North Campus

The OTSU met with library staff and successfully advocated for roughly 150 additional study spaces for the North Campus Library. A sizeable portion of this space was group study space as per the recommendations of surveyed students.

61 Charles Building- Downtown Campus

Meeting with university administration, the OTSU successfully advocated for additional study tables be added to the 61 Charles building to allow more students to study on campus independently and in groups.

Food in the Library

The OTSU consulted students, gathering a considerable amount of feedback, and advocated for food to be allowed in the library. The library staff agreed to the adjustment and food is now allowed on each floor of the library in varying capacities. Read More

A point of contention for many students the fact that food was not allowed in the campus library. Many students would have to either go long periods of time studying without food, or leave their library seat vacant to get food, forfeiting the spot entirely. The OTSU consulted students, gathering a considerable amount of feedback, and advocated for food to be allowed in the library. The library staff agreed to the adjustment and food is now allowed on each floor of the library in varying capacities. The crux of the agreement was that the OTSU gained further data on what types of food students thought would be appropriate on the floors of the library that are more quiet. More data was gathered, presented, and the library staff implemented the changes. Close

Flex Hours Summer Extension

The OTSU voiced the concern of students that the hours of the FLEX were not conducive to their summer work schedules. Many students ended work at 5pm, with the FLEX closing at 6:45pm. Both the OTSU and Durham College Students Inc (DCSI) surveyed our students to gain feedback on this issue. Members of the Athletics Department agreed to the change and adjusted the staff hours to accommodate a later closing time. Read More

The OTSU voiced the concern of students that the hours of the FLEX were not conducive to their summer work schedules. Many students ended work at 5pm, with the FLEX closing at 6:45pm. As the FLEX is a shared space between Ontario Tech and Durham College, both the OTSU and Durham College Students Inc (DCSI) surveyed our students to gain feedback on this issue. The nature of this information was to ascertain summer time usage for students and whether they would be more likely to use the FLEX is the hours were extended. The data showed that a majority of students would prefer a later close in the summer months. Members of the Athletics Department agreed to the change and adjusted the staff hours to accommodate a later closing time. Close

New Food Service

The OTSU created a survey to breakdown what students, staff, and faculty, would like to see in a new food service provider on campus. This data was presented to the committee in charge of making a decision on the matter and ultimately a new food service provider was instituted. Read More

The OTSU created a survey to breakdown what students, staff, and faculty, would like to see in a new food service provider on campus. The results concluded that the campus community wanted a focus on dietary needs, a better quality for the price, and fresh local ingredients. This data was presented to the committee in charge of making a decision on the matter and ultimately a new food service provider was instituted. Dana’s Hospitality was selected by the committee to replace Aramark as the university’s food service provider. Close