In case you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re big into advocacy work. We strive for fairness, sustainability, and equality not just on campus, but in our community as well. 

Government Relations

The OCSU is engaged in lobbying all levels of government on behalf of our members. Lobbying takes the form of petition drives, media events, educating the public and our members on post-secondary issues and meeting frequently with representatives at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

  • Within the Institution

    The OCSU lobbies the Okanagan College Board of Governors on an annual basis. While many factors play a role, this Board makes the final decision on whether your tuition rises on an annual basis (within the 2% cap). Your Students’ Union works hard every year to keep the pressure on the Board of Governors to keep tuition fees from increasing even more.

  • At the Municipal Level

    The Okanagan College Students’ Union represents students from a variety of communities throughout the Okanagan-Shuswap regions. We are actively speaking out on public transit, affordable housing, and local issues that affect your life as a student.

  • At the Provincial Level

    Provincially, the OCSU has a strong ally with the British Columbia Federation of Students – BCFS. Through the BCFS, the OCSU participates in a number ongoing campaigns aimed at targeting funding for post-secondary institutions, student loan interest rates, and student employment. We also meet regularly with the many MLA’s throughout the Okanagan-Shuswap to ensure that your voice is brought to the legislature.

  • At the Federal Level

    The OCSU has pushed for increased federal student grants, stronger provincial funding models for post-secondary education, and improvements to the Canadian Student Loan Program. The OCSU ensures your voice is heard by meeting regularly with MPs throughout the Okanagan-Shuswap.

What Else Do We Do?

Explore the dropboxes below to explore some of the other advocacy work we do and causes we support!

Mental Health Awareness

Attending post-secondary can be an incredibly challenging time. We are all facing tough mental and financial strains and its important to know that there are resources out there for you should you need any assistance during your studies.

We feel it is very important that you feel happy and healthy and a sense of a positive state of mental health. For us mental health is about coping with the normal stresses of student life and making a contribution to our community.

In addition to hosting stress-less fairs, stress buster events and bringing therapy dogs on campus, we also like to raise awareness about the on site and off site assistance you can obtain as a student. Stop by our offices at any point to chat about ways we can further expand the way we help students!

Ask for help or seek advice from a professional – give your mental health the attention it needs and deserves. Here are some links for you should you ever need any help.

Counselling services available at Okanagan College

http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/Student_Services/students/counselling.html

For more resources, click on your community list below.

Penticton Community

Kelowna Community

Salmon Arm Community

There are many great web-based resources as well.

Here2Talk

heretohelp.bc.ca

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the globe on March 8th. We are celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. While women are still not paid equal to that of their male counterparts, women are still not present in equal numbers in business and politics and globally women’s education, health and violence against women is worse than men, this day is to celebrate the improvements that have been made. Annually, events are held around the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements by women. Find out more here

Worldwide, women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement.

And we have much to celebrate today. But progress towards gender parity has slowed in many places.

The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.

Sustainability

OCSU Commitment to Sustainability:

The Okanagan College Students’ Union is dedicated to using sustainable and ethically sourced products for all promotional and free materials. We believe that we must care for our planet, be accountable and conscious of our consumption, and aim to provide reusable or recycled materials at every reasonable opportunity. We acknowledge our responsibility to seek fair trade and/or ethically sourced consumables.

We commit to using:

  • Recyclable and BPA free plastics in our water bottles
  • Recyclable plastics and paper, and vegetable-based inks in our handbooks
  • Fair trade/ethically sourced companies for promotional materials, apparel and consumables whenever possible
  • Engage our members and educate them on the importance of sustainability
  • Minimize our environmental footprint through conscious decisions and consumption
  • Working with campus partners to help promote ethically sourced consumables and fair trade items, in addition to sustainable practices

Join us in March for our annual Sustainability Day events we host on each campus!

End the Blood Ban

Canada’s health care system constantly faces a shortage of blood and blood products. Despite this, Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Quebec have policies in place that discriminate against many members of our population who are willing and able to donate this life-saving substance. Men who have sex with men face absurd barriers in donating blood, and trans women who have not had gender-affirming surgery and have sex with men are outright banned from donating.

These discriminatory policies are based on stigma and have no scientific basis. Their continued existence represents an unfulfilled promise from Prime Minister Trudeau, who pledged to end the ban nearly half a decade ago during the 2015 federal election.

Criteria for donating blood should be determined based on health and high-risk sexual behaviours, not who you love or what your gender identity is. Discriminatory policies such as these have no place in the modern health care system.


Further reading:

Unifor

MoveUP

CBC

Moose Hide Campaign

The goal of the Moose Hide Campaign is to eliminate violence against women and children. It is a grassroots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys standing up to such violence.

Mission

Our goal is to end violence towards women and children. To help achieve this, the Moose Hide Campaign will distribute 10 Million Moose Hide squares across Canada.

  • We will stand up with women and children and we will speak out against violence towards them.
  • We will support each other as men and we will hold each other accountable.
  • We will teach our young boys about the true meaning of love and respect, and we will be healthy role models for them.
  • We will heal ourselves as men and we will support our brothers on their healing journey.
  • We encourage you to Take Action, Make the pledge, and Stand up to end violence towards women and children.

What can you do?

One of the most important things that you can do to help end violence against Women and Children is to promote gender equity, healthy relationships, and positive ideas of masculinity by speaking out against gender-based violence.

Indigenous women are three times more likely to experience domestic violence than non-Indigenous women, and three times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be killed by someone they know.  Too many of our wives, daughters, sisters, aunties, mothers, grandmothers are not safe in their own home.  Too many have been murdered or are missing.  It is time for us to change this.
This cycle of violence came from residential schools, racism against our Peoples, and colonization.  It was never in our culture to do violence to the women and children in our families and communities, it was always our responsibility to protect them.

Many efforts, projects, and strategies are now under-way throughout the country to change this reality, but we can and need to do more.  Silence is not good enough, and simply being a non-abuser is not good enough.  We must speak up and take action, and we need to support each other as Indigenous and non-Indigenous men.

Source and further reading: moosehidecampaign.ca

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