Team PNF to break ‘clique’

Municipal lobbying, accessibility high on priority list

AMS presidential candidate Mitch Piper, vice-president (university affairs) candidate Davina Finn and vice-president (operations) candidate Kasmet Niyongabo say they will provide bursaries for people who need accessible spaces on campus.
AMS presidential candidate Mitch Piper, vice-president (university affairs) candidate Davina Finn and vice-president (operations) candidate Kasmet Niyongabo say they will provide bursaries for people who need accessible spaces on campus.
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If Team PNF’s presidential candidate Mitch Piper, vice-president (operations) candidate Kasmet Niyongabo and vice-president (university affairs) candidate Davina Finn seem like an unlikely group to be running for AMS executive, it’s because they are.  Piper, Niyongabo and Finn are self-admitted AMS outsiders, and each comes from a unique academic and extra-curricular background, Piper said.

Diversity is his team’s greatest strength, he added.

“We come from a diversity of educational backgrounds, we come from a diversity of home backgrounds, we come from a diversity of experience, whether that be within the AMS, outside the AMS, at Queen’s, or in our life outside of Queen’s,” he said. Piper, ArtSci ’11, said he thinks his team’s different academic backgrounds will ensure a variety of perspectives when it comes to decision making.

“Although we may come to the same solution at the end, the way we get there may be different,” he said.

Piper is the only one of the three to have worked for the AMS in the past. He was a first-year intern for the Board of Directors in 2007-08 and the Destinations human resources and chartering manager in 2008-09.

This year, he and teammate Niyongabo are dons.

Piper is also involved with the competitive lifeguard team and the badminton club.

“We’re not AMS insiders; we’re not part of that clique that people talk about,” he said.

Piper said a discussion he and Niyongabo had earlier this school year led them to seriously consider running for AMS executive.

“Kasmet and I are dons together,” he said. “I believe it all started with one fateful night in the cafeteria.”

Niyongabo, Sci ’10, was on the cheerleading team in 2006-07. He was on the FREC Committee for engineering students’ frosh week in 2009. He’s Engineering Society director of external communications this year.

Outside Queen’s, Niyongabo has directed a provincial program on child and youth mental health, which saw him travel around the province to deliver presentations.

Finn, ArtSci ’11, was ASUS deputy commissioner for social issues in 2008-09 and ASUS society affairs commissioner this year.

She was vice-president of Students Helping Others Understand Tolerance (SHOUT), a club that raises awareness about social injustices worldwide, and directed a production of The Diary of Anne Frank.

Finn said she thinks Queen’s is unique among other universities in the importance it places on student voice and opinion.

“We do have such a strong relationship with the University administration and that’s something that we need to hold on to and that’s something that we need to ensure stays there,” she said.

Piper said if elected, the team will lobby to keep the Memorial Centre ice rink open.

“There are a couple of rinks the city is looking at closing, the Memorial Centre being one of them,” he said. “Because the Memorial Centre represents such [a key] aspect to Queen’s varsity teams and to anybody who really uses that facility, we feel like that one needs to be staying open.”

Piper said he would keep in contact with Mayor Harvey Rosen to be updated on where city council is in the decision making process.

“I hope that we could turn to the city councillor in that ward and ... hopefully they can lobby some interest on our behalf,” he said.

Another campaign promise Team PNF is undertaking is a Diversity Initiatives Grant program, which would allocate $5,000 for diversity projects on campus.

“It would be for any individual to apply, any individual or independent groups on campus, not AMS ratified clubs or already existing groups, just individuals who have an idea,” Finn said. “And they can apply for up to $1,000.”

Finn said to ensure the accountability of the chosen individuals or groups, the executive would require mid-project and final-project reports which would consist of photographs and receipts.

“If they do not spend all of the money they were originally allocated, they would have to give that money back,” she said.

Piper said the program would be run by a five-member committee that will consist of the vice-president (university affairs), the social issues commissioner, the vice-president (operations) and two members of AMS Assembly as selected by Assembly.

The money would come from the Special Projects Grant, which is given through the AMS Board of Directors, he said.

“There’s a whole spectrum of diversity and we want to make sure that we keep it open so that as many people can apply that really do want it and really do deserve it.”

Piper said one of the team’s key platform points is accessibility, which includes physical, financial and other forms of accessibility.

“There are laws in place that require buildings on campus to be physically accessible to people, and we need to ensure that the University is implementing that,” he said.

Finn said the AMS has to make sure its own events are as accessible as possible.

“We want to make sure that it’s as inclusive as possible so we will provide enough bursaries and financial aid for people to participate in any campus activity because we think that’s extremely important,” she said.

Finn said accessibility isn’t measured simply by the existence of ramps and elevators.

“A building could be, by law, accessible,” she said. “But is it really doing service and is someone really comfortable there?”

For Team PNF’s full platform, visit votepnf.com.

Mitch Piper

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

Karen Hitchcock
4 years

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

Grant Hall

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

1970

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

Oversee the financials of the university

5. What is your worst personality trait?

I am too proud of going to Queen’s. (I think it’s a good thing but my friends at Western may disagree!)

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

Batman … I’ve always wanted a secret underground hideout.

Davina Finn

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

Bob Silverman will become the Provost and VP (academic) in May 2010.

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

14

3. Who was Alfred Pierce?

“Alfie” – Alfie’s Underground Pub was named after him. A dedicated fan of the Golden Gaels football team.

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

ASUS (Arts and Science Undergraduate Society), Kingston Hall

5. What is the OUSA fee for this year?

$2.25 (potentially rising to $2.50 next year)

6. What was your favourite movie as a kid?

Matilda!

Kasmet Niyongabo

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

Tam’s budgeted revenue for this year would be around $1.1 M. The projections of the services can be easily found in Schedule A therefore this can be verified against numbers from 2009 and 2008.

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

It is my belief that from the 169 million that the Queen’s Center Phase I has cost, 25 Million has been donated by the AMS and only 15 million was fundraised at the time. There was more money promissed in 2006 but the financial meltdown in 2007 made those promises fall through. There have been dept financing to make up some of the money. I think that $90 M still to fundraise is a good conservative estimate.
3. What is the University’s projected deficit for 2009-10?

The projected deficit for the University this year will be around $8 M

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

I don’t believe that there is a service that I would like to crate but I would love to continue the project of amalgamating the Used Book Store, Destinations and Tricolour Outfitters back in one single space where the Common Ground used to be. This rearrangement would make these services much more efficient and serve Queen’s students best.

5. Who is Caroline Davis?

The VP Operation and Administration replacing Mr Bryck.

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

I really like the song “Dans les yeux de Marie” by Andrea Lindsay. I feel like my life has always been a succession of bitter-sweet events that have always thought me something: “As long as you work hard on whatever you do, you will get where you need to go, and learn what you had to know.”

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