Electing a student approach

Presidential candidate Sacha Gudmundsson (centre) , vice-presidential (Operations) candidate Dan Szczepaneck (right) and vice-presidential (University Affairs) candidate Lara Therrien Boulos (left) of Team SDL say they want to have a progress report platform page online to keep their team accountable.
Presidential candidate Sacha Gudmundsson (centre) , vice-presidential (Operations) candidate Dan Szczepaneck (right) and vice-presidential (University Affairs) candidate Lara Therrien Boulos (left) of Team SDL say they want to have a progress report platform page online to keep their team accountable.

While teams CES and SDL have big plans on how to get students involved in the AMS, their ways of approaching students vary.

Team CES said they will actively work on initiatives to encourage student involvement and create awareness within the student government.

One way team CES plans to foster student involvement is by using an improved website to communicate with students.

“We want to go with a professional organization [to redesign the website] because we’re investing in resources we’re providing students to ensure that students know what the AMS is,” vice-presidential (Operations) candidate Ashley Eagan, ArtSci ’11 said.

The website would include content from AMS commissions, the AMS council and AMS managers as well as pages from campus groups that provide unique services.

“This would come at an additional cost of $6,000 which works well within the AMS’s financial resources and wouldn’t come at an increased cost to students,” Slobodin said.

Presidential candidate Morgan Campbell said an online campus calendar that could be updated by students and clubs themselves, would allow the AMS to better communicate with students and would act as an umbrella site for all AMS campus events.

Team CES also hopes to attract more students to the AMS by making some of its regular meetings, such as AMS Assembly, more accessible to students.

“[We would establish] an orientation run through the Commission of Internal Affairs for when new members come in [to Assembly],” Campbell, ArtSci ’11, said, adding that this would mainly be for new Assembly members, but that this service would also be open to those in the gallery.

Students would also be able to subscribe via email to the AMS Assembly agenda, and a page on the new AMS website would communicate passed and failed motions from the assemblies.

According to Daniel Szczepanek, vice-presidential (Operations) candidate for Team SDL, the AMS website is about more than design—it’s about content. Like CES, SDL is also interested in including in the website a campus calendar with clubs’ events, information about commissions and about what the AMS is working on. While a complete overhaul of the website isn’t necessary, small changes such as using drop-down boxes and a consistent theme would be made to improve navigation of the site.

"Regularly updating the content of the website will also improve communication with students,” Szczepanek, ArtSci ’11 said.The AMS website can ensure SDL does what it originally set out to do, vice-presidential (University Affairs) candidate Lara Therrien Boulos said.

“We’re looking at having [a] SDL progress report platform page online. We can update students so they can see we’ve fulfilled our campaign promises, and we can remain accountable,” she said.

The only person who is able to change the AMS website now is the communication officer, said Therrien Boulos.

“We want to give individual commissioners access to their own site and the ability to control and update their own content directly,” Therrien Boulos said, adding that the IT manager could provide tutorials for AMS staff on how to do this in early May in conjunction with the communication officer.

Their “South of Union” strategy calls for an AMS booth to be available on campus in rotating locations. AMS representatives would be actively interacting with students at the booths, informing students how their student government functions, how they can get a job within the AMS and solicit student feedback. SDL would require all council members to spend two hours a month at a booth on campus as part of their office hours.

South of Union will allow first-years to see more of the AMS on campus, said Szczepanek.

“In terms of what we can actually do, for first-years [it’s] being visible straight away in orientation week and residence move-in day,” Szczepanek said.

According to Therrien Boulos, ArtSci ’11, the South of Union strategy is more than being visible on campus—it’s about directly approaching students first.

“Sacha and I were very involved in Frosh Week and saw how exec were visible when they were assigned to give speeches … we want to actually engage with students in events, stopping students on the street to help them find where they’re going,” she said.

Being physically visible to first years will allow them to be both aware and comfortable with the AMS, Therrien Boulos said.

“Because we are taking that first step to make us more approachable, it encourages us to be approached. We do need to expect from our staff to go out to students first. This is scary, but we are committed, we need to put ourselves out there on a personal level,” she said. “We will ask students if they themselves have any questions. This will make the difference.”

Presidential candidate Sacha Gudmundsson, ArtSci ’11 said Team SDL has already gone to students for feedback and suggestions for their platform and will continue to do so if elected.

One of the executives would create a video or blog to broadcast AMS updates for each week.

Szczepanek said that these updates will be linked from the AMS website.

“It doesn’t have to a be a big production. It can be just using a webcam, like we are doing with our video blogs now. As long as we are communicating,” he said.

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