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Student advocacy & engagement: Lean on WE Part II

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

In our previous blog post we discussed the MSA’s new tagline - Lean on WE - which was created to help students understand everything the MSA has to offer - from the food bank, legal counselling, health and dental insurance, and everything in between. The MSA can help students, and alumni members, in a variety of different aspects in their student and personal lives. These aspects have been broken down into four pillars: Student Advocacy & Engagement, Life Services, Events & Activities, and Academic & Career Support.

First, let’s look at Student Advocacy & Engagement.

You may have seen posters at Mohawk campuses, you may have seen posts online, or you may have even overheard people talking about the MSA and how we’re actively advocating for all Mohawk students. But you may be unaware of just how we are doing that. Luckily, that’s exactly what the first pillar of Lean on WE is all about.

Student Advocacy & Engagement

Throughout the 2019-20 school year the MSA will be focusing on five main advocacy priorities: Learning Experience, Access and Affordability, Inclusivity and Social Responsibility, Governance and Student Voice, and lastly, Student Service and Experience.

Let’s take a deeper look at these priorities.

Student Advocacy: Learning Experience

When it comes to Learning Experience, throughout the 2019-20 school year, the MSA will be working to identify opportunities to improve the learning environment for students. To do this, we will be focusing on and advocating for improvements in the following areas: learning management system and tools, classrooms and campus facilities, along with increased access to OERs - open educational resources.

More specifically, the MSA will be focusing on learning management implementation, improvements to campus spaces (such as study spaces), and open educational resources and textbooks.

Students studying at Mohawk College.

Another way we will be working to improve the learning experience for students is by ensuring that all three Mohawk campuses - Fennell, Stoney Creek, and IAHS - are accessible.

Student Advocacy: Access and Affordability

There’s no denying that post-secondary education can often be costly, but the MSA is here to help. During this school year the MSA will be working to improve students' ability to access resources to help address the economic and physical barriers that often come along with attending post-secondary.

To achieve this, we will be focusing on five different areas where barriers may present themselves: transit, childcare, student fees, OSAP - assistance programs and financial aid, and student housing. The MSA will be advocating for quality transit service at an affordable rate for students, identifying partnership opportunities to make childcare more convenient and accessible, and advocating to the Ontario government for OSAP that equitably supports students who have greater financial needs, along with many other initiatives.

Student Advocacy: Inclusivity and Social Responsibility

When it comes to inclusivity and social responsibility, the MSA will be striving to find ways to include diverse groups on all Mohawk campuses.

Ultimately, here at the MSA, we want to celebrate, enhance, and encourage social inclusion while maintaining our ethical responsibility to society. To achieve this, the MSA will be looking at three focus areas: campus diversity, social inclusion, along with sustainability and SIF - Sustainability Initiatives Fund.

Student Advocacy: Governance and Student Voice

Have you always wanted to get involved with campus governance at Mohawk but was unsure of where to start? Well, your days of wondering are over.

The MSA will be identifying opportunities to increase student involvement with campus governance, leadership, student movements, and local issues. To do so, the MSA will be working to increase student participation and opportunities to get involved. Four areas of focus have been identified to achieve this: advocacy and governance, civic engagement, advisory committees and reference panels, and communication and awareness.

Student Advocacy: Student Service and Experience

In order to improve student satisfaction and wellness, the MSA will be working to provide valuable student experiences, essential services, and life supports. The MSA will be working to improve satisfaction in five areas: student clubs, activities along with orientation and student satisfaction, volunteer opportunities and community engagement, college services, and MSA services.

A group of people at orientation Day 1 at Mohawk's Fennell campus.

Now that we’ve delved into the first pillar of Lean on WE, when you hear people talking about how the MSA advocates for students, or see MSA posters, you’ll know exactly what we are advocating for. But, as previously mentioned, our services go beyond just advocating for students. Additional services provided by the MSA are highlighted in the other pillars of Lean on WE.

In our next blog post, (we're going to jump around a little bit) we will look at the fourth Lean on WE pillar - Academic & Career Support.

Written by: Paige Petrovsky

MSA Student Copywriter

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