CMM aims to keep AMS ‘a step ahead’

This year, two teams are Kingsley Chak, John Manning and Julia Mitchell, all ArtSci ’08, say they want to keep Queen’s looking forward with their motto, “A step ahead,” guiding their platform.

Presidential candidate Chak said the team wants to take an innovative approach towards a variety of issues.

“We wanted to do something that is a step ahead, that is taking the AMS a step forward,” he said, listing health and wellness, community and sustainability as the main tenets of their platform.

Mitchell, the team’s VP (University Affairs) candidate, said the slogan represents the progressive nature of their platform.

“We want to view the AMS as a resource rather than just this governing body that’s just stagnant to students,” she said. “One of the highlights of the wellness area of our platform is peer counselling. … This will help divert a lot of the congestion at Health Services “It won’t be an AMS service, but we’ll be working very closely with Health Counselling to make it happen.” Chak said the team recognizes that the AMS is limited in some ways as to what it actually has the power or jurisdiction to do within the University, but has a large role to play in supporting and advocating for issues.

“There’s a difference between what the AMS can do as an organization and what the AMS can advocate for, for students,” he said.

CMM is also looking at sustainability on campus.

“Over the past two years there’s been a great push among students to see Queen’s create a unified sustainability office that will bring together students, faculty, administration and physical plant workers,” Manning said. “That is very close to happening right now and we are going to ensure that the administration understands that this is still a priority for students and we are very committed to seeing that happen.” Chak said that, under the community heading of their platform, the team is focusing on ways to communicate with students.

“Our main goal for the year is if students have any problem … we want them to say, “Let’s go to the AMS front desk and figure out how we can get help.’ If students will do that, I think the AMS has done its job,” he said. “Right now, not really.”

In order to encourage more involvement within the community, the team wants to establish an extensive calendar of events on the AMS website so that students have an easy resource to see what’s going on both on campus.

“It will allow any student to log in and see exactly what’s going on on campus, all over campus—sports events, events at Alfie’s, events at the Common Ground, events put on by clubs—all in one place, one easy format,” Manning said.

“The other thing that we’ll do is allow students to see a listing of current opportunities available to them, both employment opportunities, volunteer opportunities and interest-based opportunities,” he said. “So it’s going to be one centralized place where students can go and see all the chances they have to get engaged in the community at Queen’s.” Manning said they have already discussed their ideas with the Information and Technology Office, which has confirmed that the calendar is possible.

All three candidates said they were drawn to Queen’s by the campus’ sense of community.

Chak said attending the March break open house in Grade 12 finalized his decision.

“There were people talking to us and then suddenly people march on two sides and clapping and singing the Oil Thigh, and I saw that there’s so much school spirit in the school and I love that stuff,” he said, adding that reading the “Guide to AMS” excited him about the different options to get involved at Queen’s.

“I’ve been involved with the AMS since first year—I got Queen’s as an intern and then I ran for trustee … and worked with the AMS as that capacity. Those couple years gave me a lot of experience,” he said.

Chak said other student leaders, such as former rector Grant Bishop, helped him learn more student government.

“[Bishop] actually taught me what student government is. It’s not for sake of having an office, it’s not for sake of, “Oh you have a position, wow” it’s, ‘What do you want to do for the student body?’ ” he said. “I’ve saw a lot in the past two years. I’ve learned a lot about the Queen’s administration, learned a lot about students and I think I see a vision for the AMS.

“I know what AMS is and I know what it was and I want to steer it in a direction that’s going to be beneficial to all students.” Manning said he wanted to experience a small, tight-knit community.

“I think I’ve found that here,” he said. “I’ve been involved with the AMS for a couple years in a diverse array of positions and I think I’ve seen it from very different perspectives.” Manning has been a volunteer with environmental groups, worked as a StuCon and is a member of AMS Council in his current role as AMS Food and Safety Director.

“It’s one of the most incredible organizations I have seen in terms of what it’s able to do both in providing services of incredible value to students and providing incredible opportunity,” he said. “I think it would be a great honour to be able to help to do that.”

Mitchell she ended up at the University almost by fluke.

“In Grade 12 I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and I thought, for some reason, I don’t know why, that I wanted to be an architect,” she said. “I applied at … a bunch of universities all for architecture and then Queen’s just randomly for art history.” A couple months after sending in the applications, Mitchell said she realized architecture wasn’t the right choice for her.

“Queen’s was the only one that wasn’t for architecture so that’s why I went here, but I don’t regret it at all. I’ve had such a great experience so far,” she said, even though she has since switched her major to psychology.

Mitchell said the Queen’s campus and community were also a draw when making her decision.

“I was still sort of on the fence at SOAR … until I came to campus and I saw the campus and I thought, ‘I have to stay here.’”

Mitchell’s passion for various campus issues is the driving force behind her decision to run for AMS executive, she said.

“I really want to make a difference, and this is one way I can do so.”

ELECTION INFORMATION

Trustees:
Chi yan Lam
Hilary Smith
Nigel Chapman
Stephanie Kenny
Campaign starts Jan. 27; voting takes place Feb. 6 and 7.

ASUS:
Elamin Abdelmahmoud (president)
Hakim Kassam (vice-president)
Campaign starts Jan. 26; voting takes place Feb. 6 and 7.

EngSoc:
Nomination period ends Jan. 24;
Campaign starts Jan. 26; voting takes place Feb. 6 and 7.

CESA:
Patrick Tye (president)
Anna Burnett (VP internal)
Sinead Fitzsimmons (VP external).
Campaign starts Jan. 26; voting takes place Feb. 6 and 7.

PHESA: to be decided

COMPSA:
Nomination period ends Jan. 24;
campaign starts Jan. 26; voting takes place Feb. 6 and 7.

MCRC:
Nomination period ends Jan. 28;
campaign starts Jan. 30; campaign begins Feb. 4; voting takes place Feb. 6 and 7.

COMSOC:
Nomination period ends Jan. 31; voting takes place Feb. 13 and 14.

SGPS:
Nomination period ends Feb. 14; voting takes place Feb. 28 and March 1.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.