Serving student needs

Presidential candidate Morgan Campbell (centre) , vice-presidential (Operations) candidate Ashley Eagan (left) and vice-presidential (University Affairs) candidate Kieran Slobodin (right) of Team CES say they want to encourage students to support Queen’s athletic teams.
Presidential candidate Morgan Campbell (centre) , vice-presidential (Operations) candidate Ashley Eagan (left) and vice-presidential (University Affairs) candidate Kieran Slobodin (right) of Team CES say they want to encourage students to support Queen’s athletic teams.

Mid-way through their campaigns, AMS executive teams SDL and CES are finding out their platform points may not be as achievable as originally thought.

After contemplating an LCBO in the Queen’s Centre in their original platform, Team SDL has since reconsidered this initiative and is instead emphasizing other options.

Current City of Kingston bylaws don’t allow for an LCBO on campus space, vice-presidential (Operations) candidate Dan Szcezpanek of Team SDL said.

“This is no longer feasible and pretty much removed. The bylaw doesn’t allow for a grocery store either, but a pharmacy is still feasible,” Szcezpanek, ArtSci ’11, said. “The LCBO was never made a promise. It was an idea suggested and the focus was to try to raise discussion and provide a list of suggestions over what students want to fill that space.”

Kingston’s bylaw 8499 Restricted Area Zone Section 71 outlines the kinds of businesses that can exist on University property. A grocer is not on this list.

Team CES is suggesting a grocer or pharmacy as a new project for the vacant Queen’s Centre retail space. There have been talks of bringing a pharmacy into the Queen’s Centre since 2005.

The Journal has learned that without amending this bylaw, a grocery store on campus is not feasible. The bylaw does allow for these restrictions to be lifted if the grocer was to become a University or AMS owned business.

“There is a way to get around this and that’s through partnerships,” presidential candidate for Team CES Morgan Campbell said. “It’s a long-term lobbying effort.” Team CES said that if the grocer partnered with the administration and the AMS, they would have a bigger voice when negotiating with the city about the bylaw.

Campbell, ArtSci ’11, said that after meeting with the Vice-Principal (Facilities) Ann Browne, no concerns about the zoning bylaw were raised. Team CES vice-president (Operations) candidate Ashley Eagan said the earliest the services could be opened would be September 2011.

“The administration and current AMS executive are working with brokers right now. We want to work with the current executives to bring these services in immediately,” Eagan, ArtSci ’11, said.

Eagan said Team CES would ensure that the grocer doesn’t compete with the already existing farmer’s market on campus.

“We might even be able to promote the farmer’s market at the grocer. The farmer’s market sells very unique items, while the grocer would just sell very basic things,” Eagan said. Team CES also plans to bring back the spirit to varsity athletic games by offering an incentive program to students who attend home games.

Their Passport to Your Athletics program would be simple to use, as volunteers would stamp student supporter’s passports at each game.

“The idea behind this is to support all your Gaels teams and varsity clubs,” Eagan said. “In some games you get caught up in the moment … that’s the type of spirit you want to see in all our games,” Team CES vice-presidential (University Affairs) candidate Kieran Slobodin said.

Another issue that team CES said will affect the long-term future of Queen’s students is the upcoming October provincial election. The team said they’ve made it a priority to ensure that students are informed and vote because it could determine how post-secondary education is funded.

“This needs to be something started this year. Students need to understand what will actually be different if they vote,” Slobodin, ArtSci ’12, said.

Team CES plans on bringing local candidates to debate on campus and said that they hope to involve student political clubs further.

“[If elected] we plan on doing lots of class talks to make students understand why the provincial election is relevant to them. It’s about making it relevant, that’s what a good student government needs to do,” Campbell said.

Team SDL wants to expand the services that the AMS already provides to students, Szczepanek said.

“We need to do better with the services we currently have and students need be getting the full value out of these services,” he said.

Szczepanek said Walkhome’s availability to students can be increased by changing the amount of hours that staff work.

“We want to create swing shifts for walk home. Teams would be assigned six hours and could go home after four if there is no need for them to still be around,” Szczepanek said.

Walkcome’s staff currently has four-hour shifts. Since Walkhome has an understanding of its peak periods, the swing shift system would work allow for more flexibility with the same amount of teams on duty, Szczepanek said.

Lara Therrien Boulos, Team SDL candidate for vice-president (University Affairs) said her team also wants to expand the AMS Holiday House Check into the summer.

“We’d have a student work on a daily basis to check up on houses, walking around the student village, seeing there are no break-ins or not a lot of mail lying around … they’d communicate any problems to landlords,” Therrien Boulos, ArtSci ’11, said. “This would give students who go back home peace of mind in the summer.”

This program would require a student to assume a full time paid position of 25 hours per week with a salary paid out of the Municipal Affairs Budget, Szczepanek said.

Sacha Gudmundsson, Team SDL candidate for president, said she would like to draw attention to mental health and work towards implementing better resources for students.

“We’d like to lobby the administration to put more money towards mental health services such as HCDS but AMS can’t fund it specifically,” Gudmundsson, ArtSci ’11, said. “Until then, we can internally work together to strengthen what resources we do have available currently, making sure these groups are aware of each other so we don’t duplicate services.”

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