Jamieson & DiCapua look to future of ASUS

Second-year executive candidates seek to open ASUS to outsiders

Brandon Jamieson, left, and Andrew DiCapua are looking to ASUS’s future to inform their campaign.
Brandon Jamieson, left, and Andrew DiCapua are looking to ASUS’s future to inform their campaign.
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This year’s Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) election will see a pair of second-year students in the race.

Brandon Jamieson and Andrew DiCapua, both ArtSci ’17, are hoping to use their youth to their advantage in the society’s presidential and vice-presidential election.

“Because we’re so young, we have a very vested interest in the future of the society,” said Jamieson, the presidential candidate.

“We’re invested in the future of this, even for ourselves.”

Their platform places a strong emphasis on the Faculty of Arts and Science’s future. In particular, the platform looks at enrolment numbers — Queen’s total enrolment is currently 21,667 students and is expected to grow to 23,000 next year.

“We’re seeing increased strain on Health, Counselling and Disabilities Services now — I can’t even imagine what it will be like in the future with increased enrolment,” Jamieson said of the team’s intention to implement faculty-specific mental health resources.

“Mental health is very much so tied to academics and vice versa … which makes it very much the role of an academic society, whose purpose is to advocate for academics, to take a very firm stance and offer viable solutions to this problem.”

Another problem they hope to tackle is the perception of ASUS among students as exclusive or inaccessible. Although a large number of students are affected every day by the society’s operations, the team said many are unaware of what takes place behind the scenes.

Team Brandon and Andrew hopes to revamp the ASUS brand, making the society and the ASUS Core, located on University Ave., more welcoming to students.

“It’s not so much about encouraging every student to want to come to the core, but knowing … if you want to, it’s open,” Jamieson said.

“You are more than welcome to step inside, air your grievances and your concerns with any one of the staff. We’d be happy to help you.”

Part of making the society more accessible would be the implementation of an online application process for potential employees. Currently, those interested in applying to ASUS must submit a paper application to the Core.

An online application system would be more accessible to students, the team said, increasing the number of applicants to positions and decreasing the society’s environmental footprint.

Team Brandon and Andrew also hope to reimagine the ASUS phone app as a more useful tool on a daily basis, which students could use to book the Red Room in Kingston Hall and find out about events, among other things. Currently, the app’s only purpose is to provide information about ASUS elections.

They said their capacity for collaboration would be integral to their success in the positions of president and vice president.

“Andrew and I have a phenomenal working relationship,” Jamieson said.

“We both feed off of each other’s energy and positivity, and I think that brings a lot of optimism and ambition with it.”

What remains to be seen is whether students agree with how Jamieson and DiCapua have put that optimism and ambition to use.

“We just hope the quality of our ideas is up to the calibre of the students that are voting,” Jamieson said.

One of their bigger ideas involves the implementation of a Personal Interest Credit – an option for students to have certain classes represented as a pass/fail value on their transcript, rather than a grade.

“This allows students to venture, become well-rounded students, maybe seek a different side interest … allowing them to learn, but not having to worry about their GPA or graduate school moving on,” DiCapua said.

The team hopes changes like this can ensure a positive experience, not only for current students, but also for those yet to enroll.

“ASUS is heading in a direction right now where we’re facing increased enrolment, the faculty’s becoming bigger, ASUS is growing as well and so there are those inherent inefficiencies that need to be fixed,” DiCapua said.

“I’ve been pretty fortunate in my time here at Queen’s to have a lot of opportunities … and to be so immersed in the Queen’s community that I really want to make sure that those opportunities are there for students in the future for years to come.”

Read the Journal's profile of Jon Wiseman and Brendan Goodman, also running for ASUS executive.

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