Executive candidates talk shop

All three candidates in team GPP are in the Faculty of Arts and Science.
All three candidates in team GPP are in the Faculty of Arts and Science.
Photo: 
Team JDL said they’re worried about being perceived as the AMS-insider team.
Team JDL said they’re worried about being perceived as the AMS-insider team.
Photo: 
Team RMS say they’re not outsiders of the AMS.
Team RMS say they’re not outsiders of the AMS.
Photo: 

Team GPP

The first thing T.K. Pritchard noticed was the matching ties.

ASUS President Rico Garcia and Vice-President Duncan Peterson are known for wearing matching outfits. It was all Pritchard knew about his running mates before meeting the pair in the fall.

“Once I got over the fact that they were matching, I thought they both had valuable input,” Pritchard, vice-presidential candidate university affairs, said.

Garcia is the team’s presidential candidate and Peterson is the vice-presidential candidate of operations.

Pritchard said running with two ASUS executives was a calculated move.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to run with an AMS internal team. It’s too easy to get locked into AMS culture, he said.”

Pritchard, this year’s AMS social issues commissioner, said he knows first-hand how the AMS executive can work with commissioners to establish common goals.

“I know what it’s like to be a chair of a club looking for resources and not knowing where to look or what the AMS is,” he said.

Why are you running?

“We want to make sure that students’ money is spent responsibly and that students have a real voice in decision making,” Garcia said.

What makes you qualified to run?

“As vice-president and chief financial officer of ASUS, I oversee the creation of all the budgets that make up ASUS,” Peterson said. “In order to have the goals of every commission be successful, they need the funds to back it up.”

What’s been your best experience at Queen’s outside of the AMS?

“I was able to work first on Vogt A as an assistant stage manager and then on Vogt B doing sound design and the opportunity allowed me to gain valuable theatre experience and learn new skills,” Pritchard said.

What’s the incumbent AMS team’s biggest accomplishment?

“I’d like to ensure that the great work that’s been done this year to make the SLC [Student Life Centre] a hub for student activities and events on campus continues,” Peterson said.

What’s their biggest downfall?

“It’s a matter of priority. I guess having open office hours wasn’t a priority for the current executive through no fault of their own. They didn’t have set hours where students could come in and talk to them,” Peterson said.

What’s your team’s biggest flaw?

“Our biggest flaw is that all three of us are in ArtSci. We acknowledge that we haven’t had the perspective of a different faculty. We will continue to work towards that understanding,” Peterson said.

What’s the first thing you’ll do if elected?

“Pep talk [to council] acknowledging the hard work they’d done in the preceding weeks and recognizing them and at the same time reminding them that the primary reason they’re there is to serve students,” Peterson said.

Why should students vote for you?

“We have a strong work ethic and we will continue to be approachable and accessible,” Garcia said.

Team JDL

Team JDL chose green to represent their campaign because it’s a blend of blue and yellow – the colours of Arts and Science Frosh Week.

Mira Dineen, vice-presidential candidate of university affairs, and Tristan Lee, vice-presidential candidate of operations, met in 2008.

“Mira was actually my Gael during Orientation Week, so we’ve known each other since actually the first day that I was at the school,” Lee said. He was head manager at Common Ground last year.

After meeting with Lee and presidential candidate Doug Johnson separately, Dineen brought the team together.

If elected, Dineen will be staying for her sixth year as an undergraduate student at Queen’s.

“If I thought it would be mostly detrimental, I wouldn’t be doing it,” she said.

The team said they’re worried about being labeled AMS insiders — all three have held positions within the society — but are hoping to overcome it during campaign period.

“We are trying to work on, as a team, reaching out to students in groups that are not really a part of the AMS,” said Johnson, who was ASUS president in 2010-11.

“One of the questions that we ask the clubs and the students we meet with … is not specifically what do you think of the AMS, but what do you think of Queen’s University as a whole.”

Why are you running?

“I kind of realize that professors don’t engage with students on this level anymore,” Johnson said. “It just struck me that this is something that I wanted to continue doing.”

What makes you qualified to run?

“I do think of course that being [AMS] academic affairs commissioner this year has changed my perspective of how post-secondary education [at] Queen’s works,” Dineen said. “That experience led to policy analysis and understanding government relations.”

What’s your best experience at Queen’s outisde of the AMS?

“It’s the first connection to Queen’s that anybody has,” Lee said of his time as a Gael in 2009. “[I learned] then how to devote myself 100 per cent to something, and really devote all of my time to an experience that I absolutely fell in love with.”

What’s the incumbent AMS team’s biggest accomplishment?

“I would say that the biggest accomplishment for the current AMS executive will be open within the next two weeks, and that’s the grocery store,” Johnson said.

What’s their biggest downfall?

“There does need to be improvement in terms of reaching out to other faculty societies and not just having an Arts and Science focus,” Dineen said.

What’s your team’s biggest flaw?

“One thing I think a lot of people see our team as right now is ‘the insider team’, the insider AMS team,” Johnson said.

Why should students vote for you?

“Everybody here needs an AMS executive they can trust,” Lee said. “People can really trust us based on our past experiences and how it will tie into the work we’ll hopefully have to do in the coming year.”

What’s the first thing you’ll do if elected?

“The first thing that we would do is a more concerted effort to reach out to the student body to consult students on what their priorities are,” Dineen said.

Team RMS

Executive candidates on team RMS say they aren’t concerned about being the only team that has no experience in the AMS.

“We decided to form our team based on how well we work together. That’s one of our strengths,” Jeffrey McCarthy, presidential candidate, said.

McCarthy met vice-presidential candidate of operations Bryor Snefjella during First Years Not in Residence (FYNR) Frosh Week in 2008.

The pair met Sean Renaud, vice-presidential candidate of university affairs, this year when they were FYNR Frosh Week executives and he was a frosh.

McCarthy and Snefjella brought Renaud on board because of his extensive experience outside of the school.

Renaud taught in China for two years, earned a college degree and opened up a pawn shop in Kingston with his uncle before enrolling at Queen’s.

“In October we met and were saying ‘Look, there are some things we think the AMS can change,’ and [Renaud] was very on board,” McCarthy said.

The threesome want to make students more involved in AMS decisions, and pledged to hold a contest to decide the new name of Alfie’s night club.

As for their team colour, RMS took what they could get.

“Our team didn’t make it as public to the other teams that we were running,” McCarthy said, adding that the other teams had decided on team colours before RMS entered the race. “We picked blue.”

Why are you running?

“I want to show that the AMS can be more accessible. It’s something that people talk about in elections every year, but to reach out to students, I want to make that happen,” McCarthy said.

What makes you qualified to run?

“We come from an external and user-perspective and we promise we won’t lose sight of that in office,” McCarthy said. “All of us want to see how we can make the AMS better.”

What’s your best experience at Queen’s outside of the AMS?

“Non-academic events like [TEDxQueen’s conference],” Renaud said. “It’s the non-academic facet of university that grows you as an individual.”

What’s the incumbent AMS team’s biggest accomplishment?

“Visibility has been a really strong thing for this year’s executive,” McCarthy said.

What’s their biggest downfall?

“We don’t necessarily agree with who they chose as a grocer,” Snefjella said. “If [Grocery Checkout] set prices like they do at [their other outlet at] Western it’s going to be a chunk more expensive than the most expensive supermarket in Kingston.”

What’s your team’s biggest flaw?

“There’s the possibility that we’ll be perceived as amateurs or outsiders,” Snefjella said. “We’re not outsiders, we’re external.”

Why should students vote for you?

“When you’re deeply involved in something, sometimes it’s hard to know what knowledge you have that other people don’t have,” Snefjella said. “Our perspective lets us know where there are sometimes holes … We want to get in there and fill in those gaps.”

What’s the first thing you’ll do if elected?

“I would set up and have the Peer Support Center renovated into a new space with soundproof insulation, a confidential meeting area and a reception area,” McCarthy said.

Role breakdown

AMS PRESIDENT

The President acts as Chief Executive Officer of the AMS corporation and oversees the society’s annual
$14-million budget. They also manage the marketing and
communications offices.

AMS VICE-PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS

The VP of operations manages the retail services,
hospitality and safety, and media service directors. They are also responsible for the student centre office and human resources office, as well as budgeting for
the society.

AMS VICE-PRESIDENT OF UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS

The VP of university affairs oversees the society’s six commissions and Information Technology office.
Additionally, they sit on the Ontario Undergraduate
Student Alliance.

— Source: myams.org

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.