Candidates talk AMS services

Teams BGP, PDA and TNL discuss StuCons, CoGro and more

corporate services feature in all three teams' platforms.
Image supplied by: Supplied
corporate services feature in all three teams' platforms.

Broad changes to AMS corporate services aren’t a priority for all executive team candidates, but all three have come to a consensus on making Student Constable (StuCon) positions more appealing.

With platforms as varied as the candidates behind them, teams BGP, PDA and TNL all stated that the retention rate at the AMS safety service was problematic. 

According to BGP, StuCons often have to face unpleasant working situations; dealing with inebriated students has contributed to a “culture of disrespect” toward workers. 

Team members Eril Berkok, Peter Green and TK Pritchard said that previous wage raises for the service had been dismissed. BGP hopes to gather sufficient evidence to propose the necessity of a wage raise if elected, in order to increase job retention. How much their salaries will be raised will be determined by AMS Board of Directors.

PDA — composed of Alexander Prescott, ArtSci ’14, Craig Draeger, ArtSci ’13, and Lisa Acchione, ArtSci ’14, plan for a focus on attracting and retaining StuCon staff, rather than customers.

Draeger said previous advertising campaigns have potentially raised the service’s popularity, but haven’t succeeded in attracting more employees.

“Our advertising and recruitment strategy needs to be more based around how to make it an appealing place to work,” Draeger said.

Team TNL, made up of Troy Sherman, ArtSci ’14, Nicola Plummer, Comm ’13, and Liam Faught, ArtSci ’14, also want to increase StuCons’ pay in order to retain staff.

Plummer said that after speaking with the head manager of the StuCons, she found there weren’t enough staff working currently for the service to be fully viable. “Obviously when you have less staff you have to put them on more shifts, which kind of decreases their morale and their overall level of content,” she said.

Student Constable representatives couldn’t be reached for comment.


Outside their approach to handling StuCon retention rates, the three executive teams have different priorities for the rest of the AMS corporate services. 

Team BGP has proposed a number of changes to these services in order to increase revenue, market reach and work standards.

The team is looking to rebrand CoGro Express as “The Upper Crust” — an outlet that sells grilled-cheese and soup exclusively — in order to help increase traffic flow to the second-level of the JDUC and, in turn, bring more traffic into Tricolour Outlet. 

A new web store will also be designed to increase the market reach for Tricolour Outlet. There would be no cost associated with developing the online store, the team said.

“We now know that the AMS has purchased a web store infrastructure business solution for that,” Berkok, ArtSci ’12, said.

The infrastructure was purchased this past year, and will be developed in the summer to launch this fall.

BGP is also looking to implement an LGBTQ night at Alfie’s, to be held one Thursday a month. 

“It very much empowers the LGTQ community which is somewhat lacking in a regular large scale social event like this,” Green said, adding that there would be no changes in pricing within Alfie’s.

In contrast with BGP’s approach, Team PDA won’t introduce comprehensive changes to corporate services.

The team plans on amending AMS Human Resources policy in order to allow for year-round hiring. According to Draeger, PDA’s proposed policies would benefit students and employers alike.

“When we hire students, we agree that we’re going to give them six hours of work a week,” Draeger said. “Often that doesn’t work for them, and often it doesn’t work for the AMS, because we don’t need all these staff on at services at the times that we do [have them on].

“It would serve to spread out the wages budgets in our services to a greater number of students, and for greater efficiency at those services.”

In order to capitalize on peak business periods at the beginning of each term, PDA would establish a roster of reserve employees who could be hired temporarily for a variety of services.

Draeger said the addition of reserve employees wouldn’t necessarily reduce the number of full-time staff.

TNL shares a similar approach to PDA, with no major changes planned for many corporate services. They plan on taking incremental steps to build upon the fundamentals of these services.

Management consultation is a big focus for the team. 

“It’s not really the VP Ops’ role to decide what they want to do within the individual services,” Plummer said, noting that this is more under the purview of service managers.

“You can’t reinvent the wheel every single year with every single service.”

TNL believes that updating websites and social media frequently will be another way to inform students and promote these student-run services.

In addition to their plan to offer soup at CoGro Express, TNL will look to take small steps to keep improving Common Ground and continue its success.

“CoGro has worked hard to build the brand that they have now and I think it would be kind of silly if we just threw away the past three years of the marketing of CoGro just so we could have another big idea,” Sherman said.


AMS, Elections, of, Part

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