AMS Queen’s Earth Centre becomes an AMS service

Co-Chairs excited about the new opportunities the move will create

Earth Centre Co-Chairs Heather McKay and Liang Zhu.

The Queen’s Earth Centre — once an AMS club — has become an AMS service under the Commission of the Environmevnt and Sustainability (CES). 

Recent updates to AMS by-laws prohibit clubs from being solely revenue-generating entities due to concerns about insurance for AMS clubs. Both the Earth Centre and the the Sexual Health Resource Centre (SHRC) were revenue-generating clubs.

Claire Cathro, the former AMS Commissioner of Internal Affairs, told the The Journal in March the clubs office had been working to identify “areas of risk relating to our insurance” and the issue of revenue-generating clubs was brought to assembly on March 19. 

The Centre was faced with a decision similar to the SHRC, which ultimately became a Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) club last March.

On March 13, AMS clubs that generated revenue discovered they had to decide whether to become an SGPS club or an AMS service for the upcoming year, with only a few days to decide.

While the SHRC had concerns about the implications of the changes for the structure of their service, the Earth Centre’s decision to join the AMS as a service was simple. 

“Within about four days, [the Earth Centre] told us they wanted to join the AMS,” said Leah Kelly, the former Commissioner for the CES.

Former Co-Chairs Alex Bohm, and Josh Goodfield, both ArtSci ’15, said the service will have the potential to become more visible at Queen’s due to increased reach and marketing ability of the AMS.

For the former Co-Chairs, the AMS was an obvious choice. The governing body outlined the options for the Earth Centre, which they said made the transition easy. 

“They [the AMS] presented the options fairly and seemed extremely supportive of our mission statement,” they said via e-mail.

The Earth Centre, located in room 3-A607 on the third floor of the Queen’s Centre, would have otherwise been required to change their business model so they didn’t generate profit. Now that the Centre has become a service, Bohm and Goodfield said they can continue generating profits.

The Earth Centre sells environmentally — friendly household items such as cleaning supplies at cost to allow students to reduce their environmental impact in an affordable manner. 

The Earth Centre also promotes sustainability within the larger Kingston community through programming, including a clothing swap, used light bulb collection and a partnership with Awesome Kingston to fund green projects. 

The Commissioner of the Environment & Sustainability at the AMS, Peter Liberty, said the move has given the Centre new opportunities. 

“By joining the AMS as a service rather than a club, the Earth Centre avoids this issue while gaining an opportunity to grow due to the resources the AMS can offer,” Liberty, Sci’ 16, said.

The Centre is currently in the process of “renovating a new space,” Liberty added.

Earth Centre Co-Chairs Heather McKay and Liang Zhu, who are running the service this year, said the changes will help the service in the long run.

“It represents an opportunity for students to take a more active role in being socially and environmentally responsible, and is a service that will hopefully inspire others to make changes in their lives”, they said via email.

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