Team CHR ready for tall order

Student advocacy, improved services on agenda

AMS vice-president (university affairs) candidate Chris Rudnicki, presidential candidate Safiah Chowdhury and vice-president (operations) candidate Ben Hartley say solar panels are one of their initiatives for environmental and financial sustainability.
AMS vice-president (university affairs) candidate Chris Rudnicki, presidential candidate Safiah Chowdhury and vice-president (operations) candidate Ben Hartley say solar panels are one of their initiatives for environmental and financial sustainability.

Team CHR presidential candidate Safiah Chowdhury, ArtSci ’11, vice-president (operations) candidate Ben Hartley, ArtSci ’10, and vice-president (university affairs) candidate Chris Rudnicki, ArtSci ’11, have some big ideas when it comes to what they would do for Queen’s if they had an unlimited budget.

“Giraffes on campus,” Chowdhury said.

“A giraffe parade every year,” Hartley said.

“No; a giraffe parade everyday,” Rudnicki said. “They said ‘Unlimited.’”

Chowdhury, Hartley and Rudnicki joke around easily or, as Rudnicki says, they “really click personally.”

“Team CHR is comprised of people with very different backgrounds academically and socially and we bring that diversity to the team to better represent student interests,” Rudnicki said, adding that the three teammates have been heavily involved in different areas of the AMS, Queen’s and their home communities.

Chowdhury is the AMS human rights deputy this year, the Religious Issues Committee chair in 2008-09 and an AMS Social Issues Commission first-year intern in 2007-08. She was also an executive member of the Queen’s University Muslim Students’ Association (QUMSA) and a CFRC programmer. In 2008-09, Chowdhury was a Gael for Arts and Science Frosh Week.

Hartley said he’s a student director on the AMS Board of Directors.

“I complained for two years about the AMS wasting my money so I decided to roll up my sleeves and get involved,” he said.

Hartley said he was a research assistant with the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations and has also worked as a community organizer in North Vancouver, B.C.

Rudnicki was the editor in chief of Syndicus magazine until he resigned in December. He was on Arts and Science Orientation Committee in 2009 and is also the AMS’s clubs manager this year. He also chaired the Journal’s board of directors until taking a leave for the campaign.

Chowdhury said she thinks the AMS is critical to student life at Queen’s.

“Students should be able to see themselves reflected in administrative decisions, because of the advocating of student government,” she said.

Hartley said he thinks the AMS should provide tangible benefits to students who aren’t interested in campus politics.

“It shouldn’t just be a place where those who are naturally inclined to student government simply go,” he said.

One of team CHR’s campaign promises is to implement solar panels on the 35,000 square meters of appropriate roof space of University buildings, such as Victoria Hall.

“While we won’t be fully solar powered, our energy costs will decrease by eight to 10 per cent,” she said.

The solar panels will generate income for the University through the Ontario Power Authority Feed-in Tariff program (FIT), which gives Queen’s money in exchange for feeding back into the power grid, she said.

Chowdhury said the panels could be implemented at no cost if an external company rents the roof space for the solar panels. If this path is taken, the University won’t receive the FIT payments for the first eight to 12 years.

The University could also purchase the panels itself. This option would cost $20 million but would generate enough income to break even within eight to 10 years, Chowdhury said.

“Our team will advocate that this is a really awesome opportunity we should start on right away,” she said.

Team CHR also plans to introduce swipe cards and debit to the Common Ground.

Chowdhury said the swipe cards, which will cost about $200 to buy in bulk, would be paid for through the Common Ground operating budget. The equipment cost is negligible, she added.

“We believe the extra convenience will increase sales and so it will be immediately covered,” she said. “It’s about time for the Common Ground to support different payment options to make it a competitive service.”

Chowdhury said, if elected, the team would introduce kosher and halal food options at the Common Ground.

Team CHR also plans to create new jobs for students on campus.

For example, engineering students could work on the solar panel project or fine arts students could be hired to beautify the Queen’s Centre, she said.

“We’re looking into having those funded through Physical Plant Services, the administration or a work study from the Ontario government,” she said, adding that the University of Toronto has done this.

Team CHR is also mindful of the less attractive aspects of the AMS and the University.

Chowdhury said the first term of the 2008-09 academic year was difficult for her because of Islamophobic incidents that occurred at Queen’s and in Kingston.

“While that was tough, the outpouring of support given to QUMSA was phenomenal and my best friends at Queen’s today, I met through that process,” she said. “It provided me with a lot of self growth.” In spite of the difficult moments, team CHR is enthusiastic about what Queen’s has to offer, Hartley said.

“I come from a low-income background and going to the castle [the Bader International Study Centre] was a dream and not a practical reality because of the cost,” he said.

Hartley said he chose Queen’s because he was offered a scholarship to study at Herstmonceux Castle.

“I never expected to get the opportunities that Queen’s has provided me,” Hartley said. “I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed my undergrad as much at any another school.”

For Team CHR’s full platform, visit

Safiah Chowdhury

1. Who was Queen’s first female principal and how long did she hold the position?

Karen Hitchcock! She was principal for less than five years.

2. What is the tallest building at Queen’s?

Grant Hall or at least there was a rule that no campus building could surpass Grant in height.

3. When did Queen’s students first purchase Boo Hoo the Bear?

Probably when it became illegal to have a live bear on school property? :P 1920s

4. What are the responsibilities of the Board of Trustees?

All the finances of Queen’s.

5. What is your worst personality trait?

I rooted for Kanye

6. If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?

Kanye! The South Park (+ caricatured) version

Ben Hartley

1. What is TAM’s total budgeted revenue for this year?

$525,000 ish – includes consigned cheques

2. How much more does Queen’s have to fundraise to pay for Phase I of the Queen’s Centre?

Phase I Debt – 6 million
Phase 2-3 fundraising – 80 million

3. What is the University’s projected deficit for 2009-10?

8.5 million

4. If you could create a service at Queen’s, what would it be?

DVD and Video Game Buy and Sell

5. Who is Caroline Davis?

New VP Administration and Finance :)

6. If you had to pick a theme song to represent your life, what would it be?

Mud on Tires – Brad Paisley

Chris Rudnicki

1. Who will become the University’s provost in May?

The VP (Academic) will assume the responsibilities of Provost in May (Bob Silverman)

2. How many committees are under the Social Issues Commission?

Publications: Queen’s Feminist Review, Culture SHOCK!, Outwrite, Heads UP! Human rights: Committee on Gender, Committee Against Racial & Ethnic Discrimination (CARED), Accessibility Queen’s, Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP) Education: Students Against Poverty, Mental Health Awareness Committee - 10

3. Who was Alfred Pierce?

Alfried Pierce, or “Alfie” as he is more commonly known, was the black mascot of the Queen’s football team in the early 20th century. He was made to live under the bleachers of Richardson in the summer, and in the boiler room (w/Boo Hoo the bear, our other mascot) in the winter. Alfie’s pub is named after him. His name is a reminder of the existence of a legacy of racism at Queen’s.

4. Who owns the Red Room, and where is it located?

ASUS owns the red room, and it is located in Kingston Hall. We used it in frosh week to store our OC stuff!

5. What is the OUSA fee for this year?

Around $2.00

6. What was your favourite movie as a kid?

“Dogma” w/Jay & Silent Bob – so bomb!

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