By: Anushka Goswami
Have you ever wondered who organizes events on campus? Who runs the Spoke and Wave? How do students have access to Purple Care, London Transit, and Purple Fest? The answer to those questions is your University Students’ Council (USC). The USC is a student-led organization that advocates for and represents undergraduate students at Western University.
On Monday, September 27th, USC Day was organized to highlight the services and peer support programs offered by the USC that are available to all undergraduate students.
“We are a student-led organization meant to assist students in academic and non-academic appeals, for example drafting a letter to professors or external organizations,” said Alexandra Bayani, a Student Appeals Advisor at the Student Appeals Support Centre.
“PrideWestern is looking to reach more students on campus. This is my second year on the PrideWestern team, and I think we are looking to create a safe and accessible environment for queer students and reach out via engagement and outreach after the pandemic,” said Idin, an Advocacy and Research Associate at PrideWestern.
PrideWestern is a USC peer program that leads with an anti-racist, decolonial lens for 2SLGBTQIA+ liberation.
“We are looking to gain new members who are passionate about advocacy and awareness. Talking to everyone has been a really great community-building opportunity. It’s really great to see all the students come out and show support for each other,” said Vinit Dama, an Events Associate at Allyship Network Committee.
Allyship Network Committee is a support portfolio within the USC’s Peer Programs space serving to amplify the voices of marginalized communities at Western University.
“USC Day is a great opportunity to introduce students to USC. It has been really nice to have all our students come together to meet and collaborate. We want students to get engaged, and we can really improve the student experience if students know about it,” explained Maddie Osborne, the USC’s Vice President Student Support and Programming.
“It is so great to see students and meet all the amazing student leaders and volunteers sharing their portfolios. We are here for the students. I want them to get excited for the years ahead, and get that campus experience. Students can come to USC, connect with us, and see where they can get involved on campus and get engaged with their community,” said Callista Ryan, the USC’s Vice President Communications and Public Affairs.
The Inclusivity Programming services were created specifically to address issues and promote representation in terms of LGBTQ+ resources, gender, cultural groups, and accessibility on campus. These include the Accessibility Committee, Allyship Network, Ethno-Cultural, Gender Equality Network, Health Promotions, Indigenous Relations, and PrideWestern.
The USC offers countless support services and engagement opportunities for students, ranging from Food Support Services, Peer Support Center, Income Tax Clinic, and Transportation to the Undergraduate Health Plan.
Purple Care is the USC’s undergraduate health plan. “We provide health services, standard insurance coverages like dental care, chiropractic coverage, etc. We have MyWellnessPlan, which is an online tool and resource for students with additional mental health and financial counselling resources. It is a really comprehensive program meant to fill in the gaps that exist on campus,” explained Nathan Szierer, the USC’s Vice President of Governance and Finance.
Student services are managed by the USC to enhance the undergraduate student experience and facilitate the needs of students on campus. These volunteer and engagement opportunities are available to all undergraduate students at Western University.