Accessibility key for team BGP

Many major initiatives will be shaped by student responses to provide representation

Left to right: Peter Green, Eril Berkok and TK Pritchard are the members of team BGP.
Left to right: Peter Green, Eril Berkok and TK Pritchard are the members of team BGP.
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The biggest initiatives planned by team BGP’s presidential candidate Eril Berkok, vice-president of operations candidate Peter Green and vice-president of university affairs TK Pritchard will be shaped by student responses, the team members said.

Their 54-page platform focuses on expanding and integrating AMS services to provide greater accessibility and representation for students.

Other platform initiatives include expanding the blue light emergency phones and wireless internet around student housing, tailoring coverage in the AMS Health and Dental plan to student needs, as well as gathering mental health professionals to serve students on campus and creating a Student Mental Health Advisory Board, with the hope of increasing students’ accessibility to AMS resources on and off-campus.

Maintaining a critical eye over the internal operations of the AMS is vital to ensuring accountability and efficiency, Berkok, ArtSci ’12, said.

“We really want to do our due diligence and stand by students and really optimize the AMS to what they need,” he said. “[The AMS] has never actually evaluated its structure and what it does to represent students.”

Berkok is a member of University Senate and the Academic Task Force, and currently co-instructs a first-year math course.

According to Pritchard, the AMS needs to ensure that its presence extends to every student on campus.

“Students still don’t really know who [the AMS] is and what we do,” Pritchard, ArtSci ’12 said. “You have to reach out to those students and we need to be very clear that we want to hear from students who don’t like us, otherwise as a student leader you are being ineffective.”

He added that his passion for the position’s portfolio lead him to join Berkok after running for the same position last year with team GPP and losing to team JDL.

“I believe so strongly in this position that I’m willing to run and have lost and do it all over again,” he said. “When Eril came to see me, it took a lot of restraint to not say yes because I did love what we could do ... despite the fact that I knew what it was like to not be successful.” Pritchard served as the Social Issues Commissioner last year, and has been involved with Education on Queer Issues Project and Queen’s Pride Project since he came to Queen’s. Green, who joined the team later, was approached by Berkok and Pritchard for his external perspective.

“I’m coming into this from the outside the fishbowl, not within,” he said. “I have a very accurate perspective of how students perceive the services and the AMS in general.”

“The diversity of perspectives in our team speaks to our self-critical nature,” Berkok said. “We are cognisant of AMS operations and how they are perceived … having that at the executive level would be tremendous.”

Green added that his experience outside of the AMS gives him greater perspective in handling its operations.

He worked as a Bank Manager at Scotia Bank, and is a member of the board at Union Gallery.

“Coming from an external perspective, I see that in years past the AMS seems to be an elite [group] and there are very few people who know what is happening within it,” Green, ArtSci ’13, said. “We need to make sure there aren’t any groups who feel marginalized or disenfranchised by the AMS.”

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