Q&A with Team CSG

From left: Colin Zarzour, presidential candidate; Sarah Anderson, vice president (operations); and Greg Radisic, vice president (university affairs).
Credit: 
Supplied

As part of the endorsement processJournal staff sat down with each of the teams running for AMS executive for a Q&A period. The Journal chose questions that hadn’t been asked, or fully answered, throughout the campaign.

The following transcript has been condensed. 

Team CSG:

  • Colin Zarzour, Presidential Candidate
  • Sarah Anderson, Vice President (Operations)
  • Greg Radisic, Vice President (University Affairs) 

Related links: Team LWT's Q&A | Team CSG's profile | The Journal's endorsement

Click a question to read the team's answers.

  1. What do you think are your fellow candidates’ strengths and weaknesses?
  2. What do you most admire about your opponent and their platform?
  3. How are you going to ensure that when you’re hiring people that they come from a diverse range of backgrounds?
  4. If elected, how will your term differ from the other team's?
  5. What are some tangible steps you’re going to take to increase female leadership in the AMS?
  6. What are some current flaws that you see in the AMS and how do you plan to fix them?
  7. How are you going to negotiate with administrators when advocating for student issues?
  8. How did your team come together and how did you establish your roles?
  9. What experience do you have managing people, and what is the most difficult experience you've had overseeing someone?
  10. The female leadership questions (today and at the debate) have been answered by Sarah solely, what do Colin and Greg think?
  11. What is the hardest part of campaigning?
  12. How are you going to ensure the quality of commissioners, directors and staff under the AMS's no experience necessary policy?
  13. There's been a lot of controversy around your gluten-free platform point. What's going on?
  14. In the face of increased enrolment, how are you going to meet the needs of different faculties?
  15. What does the AMS prioritize now that wouldn’t be a priority for you?
  16. Conclusion 

What do you think are your fellow candidates’ strengths and weaknesses?

Zarzour: Greg is incredibly friendly and amazing at relating just to the students who have never been involved in student government and leadership ... Sarah just blows my mind every single day with how she brings that research and database perspective to a very corporate and business-like mindset. 

Sarah: In terms of Colin, he’s one of the most passionate people I’ve ever seen in particular when it comes to academics and university affairs. In terms of Greg, he is wildly caring about all students that he meets. It amazes me that he will just pick up a conversation with a random student, and I think they are friends when they just met.

Greg: Sarah is great because she has experienced the front line services aspect of things and Colin with his experience in advocacy and academics is awesome.

(back to top)

What do you most admire about your opponent and their platform?

Greg: It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out here and run for something that you’re passionate about ... I’m happy that there are student leaders out there that are just as passionate and want similar things for the University.

Colin: It [LWT’s platform] is a platform that’s focused largely on telling a narrative and I think a big part of having an executive role in the AMS is about supporting a narrative and talking it through with Queen’s students.

(back to top)

How are you going to ensure that when you’re hiring people that they come from a diverse range of backgrounds?

Colin: We want to take recruitment, which is currently just a periodic process, and turn it into philosophically a very different thing. Something that happens all year round.

... I think a part of changing that process is that equal opportunity doesn’t just mean that we are looking to be non-racist and non-oppressive. We want to be anti-racist and anti-oppressive and really actively try ... to make sure that is the message going outwards to the student body, which is something we will keep in our minds when we are at the interview table.

(back to top)

Let’s fast-forward to April 2017. You’ve been elected. What do you hope will be your lasting impact and how will your term differ from the alternate reality where LWT won?

Sarah: I think that all of us, our whole campaign, has been about bringing students into the conversation ... at the end of the year if more students feel like they are connected somehow in the AMS, or, at least, less disenchanted with the organization, and do understand ... those benefits that the AMS can bring ... I think that that will be a success.

Colin: One of the big crucial differences between us and LWT is that LWT points to problems like recruitment ... and says the Queen’s student experience is in full retreat. We think that the AMS is a supporter of the Queen’s student experience, but we are not the Queen’s student experience. It is the grassroots stuff happening in dorm rooms, it is the people who do things on their own, and I think that philosophy will differentiate us the most.

(back to top)

What are some tangible steps you’re going to take to increase female leadership in the AMS?

Sarah: Actively recruiting and going to again the grassroots of campus, so again going to clubs, going to faculty societies and really talking to women ... and saying “you can do this job, you have these great skills, you have this great potential, what are some of your interests, here is a role for you, you should apply you have the skills”

A lot of research has suggested that women, far more so than men, just don’t believe that they have enough skills ... whereas men just think “I can do it” and apply. I think if you encourage women ... they are much more apt to take the application and go through the hiring process.

(back to top)

What are some current flaws that you see in the AMS and how do you plan to fix them?

Greg: I really see transparency as being an issue within the AMS, for example just the closed sessions of meetings and things like that ... it increases apathy because they [students] are just thinking, well, if you made a mistake, and you decide to just completely hide that mistake, I don’t see any value in the student government then. So I think it’s important to be transparent in everything that you do and actually show the students that we are here for a reason ... we are students, we will mess up, that’s completely fine, but it’s to be open about those mistakes that we make.

(back to top)

When you’re advocating for student issues -- whether that’s getting funding for the Reunion St. Festival, whether that’s advocating about NAD, whether that’s expanding mental health services -- you’re going to be negotiating with administrators who have more experience than you do, access to more data and possibly more savvy in negotiations than you. In your experience, what is required to make something happen at Queen’s and how are you going to overcome that disadvantage?

Colin: It serves as an advantage and disadvantage. First and foremost, although the things that you identified are naturally true with students with year-over-year turnover … what that means is that we are closer to the actual issues on the ground ...

Secondly, with regards to the negotiations piece, it's important for an AMS executive ... to be ready to seek help from people who do have experience. So before you walk into your first serious negotiation on something, talk to a permanent staff member at the AMS or call somebody … get an understanding of what you’re walking into and to not be ashamed to ask for help … one of the things we talk about in our platform is actually greatly expanding the amount of market research we do both on the government and corporate side. This is something that Sarah has proven experience in doing and something I strove to do — I added surveys in my time as academic affairs commissioner.

Making the AMS more data driven means that we are also coming to the table with lots of good data. If we do it well, if we do it without bias, it means that that increases our legitimacy in conversing with the administration, so that when they are trying to play a certain angle we say, “look, here are the numbers.” We have already reached out to faculty who have agreed to participate in sort of ensuring our research methods are good in the AMS and so those partnerships, that data driven approach.

Sarah: From the beginning you have to strive to earn their respect. They are much more experienced than you; they have been doing this much longer than you have, and you are much younger than they are. But if you come in and are very prepared, professional and well-researched, and you start off the relationship on a good note, because they can see you’ve done your homework ... it gains a lot on the administrative level and how much they are willing to involve you in conversations and open up doors in lines of communication for you.

The most successful AMS executives in terms of administrators have been ones that have not taken an adversarial demeanor towards them, but also have not been too soft and not stood up for what the AMS believes in because students believe it.

(back to top)

How did your team come together and how did you establish what roles you have both in your official roles that you're running for and also roles in campaign?

Sarah: We have all had very different paths throughout our experience at Queen’s University … Colin and I obviously have worked together in the AMS the year prior to this one and we met Greg and had several conversations before we decided to run together, and we all united because we do share that same one vision.

Colin: In my time here, it has been almost five good years, and I think that I have had the opportunity to talk with many, many, many different students on a variety of different topics and many of the stories that I hear are very positive and inspiring ... but something that almost spurs you more is hearing the problems, how a community structurally disadvantages some students … these negative things transfer a level of duty that we must acknowledge. It’s a personal thing. I have heard too many problems about this university and the threats that we face and the obstacles that students have to live with every single day to feel comfortable not running.

Greg: Right now I’m living on Brant 8. I live with first years ... they come to me when they experience barriers and those grassroots conversations I’ve had with students through all walks have life has brought me to actually take action. I have been very vocal on our equity caucus this year -- in terms of the one that Alex Chung runs on Social Issues Commission -- and I’ve seen so many issues that this university faces ... it was an amazing opportunity when they reached out to me in November about running.

Sarah: I love Queen’s. I say to my parents and family members that it was the best decision I ever made … Although I have loved my time here, my time hasn’t always been ideal. I got diagnosed with Crohn's right before I came in first year and my first year was spent a lot of time in the emergency room ... it was the sense of community that I have found and fostered here that led me to [stay] , even when I was sick and I was no longer in classes ... my parents came up to visit me when I had my surgery but I stayed through the entire year ... Queen’s truly has given me more than I ever could have imagined in an institution and a community ... I very firmly do believe that I myself, along with Colin and Greg, can really affect change ... I would love nothing more than to be given the opportunity to create positive change to a place that has done so much for me.

(back to top)

What experience do you have managing people, and what is the most difficult experience you have had overseeing someone?

Greg: Currently at the residence society we have 71 salaried staff and over 150 volunteers, I directly oversee seven executives whose portfolios are quite different, similar to the Commissions …

One of the most difficult moments I have had this year was when my one vice president came up to me and was telling me how overwhelmed they were with the job, essentially, and how I can help them improve. Personally, it’s hard when ... you think you are acting as a resource to them and realize I’m lacking in certain places and I really woke up after that moment ... 

It’s very important to realize that every single person is different and every person handles a job in a completely separate way. I had to wake up in that respect and to make sure I tailored the support I gave to each individual ...

Sarah: Right now I’m a CoGro manager and we have a staff of 125, roughly ... you’re more managing operationally and making sure they are all comfortable within their job ... and you act as a resource for them and a support when they have a problem on shift.

In terms of when I played a management role in my committees and volunteer roles, again it was just making sure that they felt comfortable in their positions within the committee, making sure they had the resources they needed to be as successful as they needed to be.

… I think that you learn just as much from the experiences of being managed as you do from managing others and I think the one thing that I have learned by far that supersedes anything is people need you to act as a support. We are all students and it’s why in our platform we included that everyone who is a salaried position, who is going to be managing someone else, is going to be receiving management, leadership and team building training, because it’s something that has lacked in the AMS in past years ... you can’t expect students to come in and know how to manage other students ...

Colin: One of the most important challenges that faces any manager is keeping the group of people they are managing motivated. My experience comes mostly from academic advocacy, and since all the people I managed were volunteers, some of which worked many hours a week, ... it’s even harder to get you excited to be doing something because there isn’t a financial incentive.

There is an expression I always tell people, if you want to build a boat, you don’t tell people where to get the wood and hammers, what you do is you make a group of people yearn for the sea. My approach to management is that you have to make sure your staff and people working under you make sure they picture the vision ... Why what we do in the offices of the AMS will make life better for the students walking down University and Union ... People will work better and harder when they understand why that’s important.

(back to top)

The female leadership questions (today and at the debate) have been answered by Sarah solely. What do Colin and Greg think?

Colin: It’s difficult to have an understanding of what are the true obstacles to female leadership on campus when you’re somebody who doesn’t face the same structural barriers as other females on campus. So first and foremost that is something that is on the forefront of my mind when talking about this issue.

However, some of the practical ways that we can do better are by ensuring that when we are doing our jobs every single day that we are not, in ways that we may not realize if we didn’t think about that, shutting doors for people who want to take on these leadership roles. I think there’s this one phenomenon that I’ve read about that I think is really crucial, it’s called The Rolodex problem. If you remember in old days you have a rolodex of contacts and that when someone comes into your office and is like, ‘Hey, Sebastian, do you know of anybody from another university who is a really good editor or a really good journalist?’ and you’re like yeah and you check your rolodex, if everybody at every other institution has people rise to the top in a system that oppresses another group, in this case we’re talking about female leadership, than your rolodex is going to be filled with men. It’s people who have benefited from those systemic structures.

So, one of the things that we want to do is we want to actively make sure that when we are asked for referrals or when we are asked to recommend a student or invite people for a conference or do something like that, that we are trying to challenge those structures at a level that we’re referring people and giving people opportunities. It’s not the silver bullet, and certainly I myself can’t solve these things, on our own, but I think that’s one small step that we can take to maybe make it a little bit better.

Greg: That’s a great question, and two things before I begin. I self identify as a male and it’s hard for me to speak about problems that face women on campus. The second thing is that I don’t necessarily think this is a binary problem, like male-female, I think this is anyone who doesn’t identify as male potentially. I think it’s important to overall empower all individuals of this campus and show them that yes, you can do it, just very simply. Within my executive, I’ve had individuals that definitely thought that they were weaker than others and have proved themselves to be just as strong in aspects of the society. I think it comes down to showing people, not only empowering people to try for it, but showing people that these are the sets of skills that they’re amazing at, and push and they can get there, they can get to the top. Personally for me, that pushing boundaries for individuals and getting them a task that they might not neccesarily be one hundred percent comfortable with, that will show it to themselves that they have that ability to lead a group of people for example. Or someone who is anxious about throwing off an event, giving them that resource of a deputy for example to pull it off without a hitch. So, there’s many examples of ways to address these problems on campus, and it’s all about showing people they can, addressing them straight up, having those conversations and sometimes pushing the boundaries as long as those supports are there.

(back to top)

What is the hardest part of campaigning?

Colin: Oh, the cold weather hands down.

Sarah: I’m going to go with the running. If I could go back two-and-a-half months ago, and tell myself to prepare in one other aspect that I hadn’t, it would be go to the gym and go to the gym very often, because we’ve run all over campus.

Greg: And they’re slow too.

Sarah: Greg is phenomenal, like literally, this first day of class talks we just see him charge across the field, and Colin and I are like, where is this newfound skill and why do we not share it?

Greg: I did track and field for many years. They’re like run, and I was like OKAY! For me it’s definitely the early mornings. Waking up for 8:30s is hard enough, imagine waking up to prepare for 8:30s, to speak to them. So that’s the most difficult thing for me, it’s always been a barrier in my life. I just need to go to bed earlier.

Colin: I’ll take the question a little more seriously. Not too much though.

… I was hired completely externally to council and this year, I hold no AMS position. There's a lot of barriers that go on trying to get a campaign together from that group. I think that we have very much overcome those barriers in many respects. I think that consultations with student who both currently and in the past hold AMS positions, but most importantly, having conversations with students at large, students who don't any role at all -- is something keeps us informed, that keeps us in touch.

There's a lot of barriers towards going towards AMS exec. Lot of people don't know how to go about it. Lots of people don't understand the process about it or how you're supposed to assemble a team or what the roles entail, or who's suited for the position. We will actively, if elected, from October, send out a thing for people who want to be on AMS exec, advocating to students how they can run a successful campaign, how they can find a team. What skills and qualities you need to fulfill these positions. It's something students need to be educated on and we feel like there's a lack of education currently.

Greg: The accessibility of many positions in the AMS — but in particular in the executive — it's very inaccessible. Unless you've been working in the AMS for three years ... That's why we put it in the platform. Accessibility in many positions is an issue. That's a concern that was brought to us and we also experienced ourselves and that's something we wanted to address.

(back to top)

I'm big on "no experience necessary," [but] for AMS executive, you can't just go out on a whim for a lot of positions. How are you going to ensure the quality … of commissioners, directors, etc?

Colin: (points to Sarah) You were actually talking about a conversation you had with a member of the board who said a lot of the training processes that happen with the executive -- are working. A good example of that is you see students from non-financial backgrounds succeed immensely in the role of Vice-President of operations.

Sarah: (Referring to the conversation) Other than Kyle Beaudry, he said during his time at Queen's he's seen several VP Ops come in with no background that shouldn't be good at such a large financial and operational role in a non-for-profit organization but they are. The thing that the AMS does do very well in is our transition process has been very effective ... Our job in the AMS exec is to give our council members the resources to make sure they are as successful in the positions as possible. Something that has been highlighted is that there's not enough skills training in the AMS. We're not preparing them in the technical roles as well as we should be. In our platform, we have specified we would like to bring in specific skills training along with the management training in order to really ensure the quality of applicants can be as successful as they can be in the role.

Greg: When you're interviewing an individual you don't want to hire solely on experience, you want to see that spark, that passion. When they talk about an issue you want them to be able to talk about it for an hour. Skills can be taught. How to operate a certain type of marketing system can be taught, as long as you're giving those resources. What you can't teach is the passion for that job. It's very important to have someone who is the Social Issues Commissioner who is passionate about social issues -- not only keeping the status quo but helping it improve for all students. That's just essential.

Sarah: Recruitment has been highlighted as the largest issue that faces the AMS. We are very aware that getting students to AMS positions has been a consistent issue. That's why our recruitment platform was so well versed -- we want to focus on it not only at the full-time level in the salaried and part-time salaried roles but throughout the organization. We want to have an active recruitment. It's very hard to make someone want to apply for a full-time job in January if the application's due in February. But if you start that in October,  and you hold big booth, and you say 'these are the positions- what are your interests?'. Just opening up recruitment, what's available to them in each positions. If you open up the process and make it accessible it ensures the quality of applicants and then it ensures students places in the positions.

(back to top) 

We were contacted directly about the gluten-free options at CoGro and, basically, statements were made during the debate that implied Hannah Young endorsed your suggestion about gluten-free, whereas my understanding is that she was less positive about the recommendation or plan than it sounded in that debate. Can you explain what happened there, and what your consultation was with CoGro management and why you still have that as a platform point?

Sarah: I’ll speak to that. So, Hannah Young spoke to us or reached out to us directly after the debate. And I got on the phone with her and addressed the issues that she had. And, we reviewed the debate ... and what was said in the debate was that I had consulted with the head manager of Common Ground as well as my fellow assistant managers, and then I had spoken to Hannah Yung about the implementation of gluten free at Common Ground ... we have released a public statement that consultation does not inherently mean that she supports it. That’s been released. Hannah is — for gluten free — again I won’t speculate on Hannah’s opinions on this issue, but gluten-free has been something that many executives, many H&S directions and many Common Ground managers have debated in the past couple of years, seeing that it is a growing demand from students.

I’m on the ground every day at Common Ground, and I know the service very well operationally. And in my professional opinion gluten-free options is feasible. I have reached out to Hannah and fellow assistant managers as well as other members of former executives and members of the board. So I’ve done a broad consultation on this issue. Again, which was brought up in the debate, the survey that I did in my time as marketing research coordinator clearly showed that there is a demand from students to want the gluten-free options.

I think that as a non-for-profit organization we need to ensure that we are making our services as accessible as they possibly can be and I don’t think that we should limit people based on dietary restrictions, that they have to no fault of their own, from going into our services ... there is space for an entirely separate fridge, there is a large amount of space right beside where the sammies station is currently for completely separate utensils, completely separate cutting boards and a completely separate toaster. This is something that past AMS executives have looked into, but more so at The Brew.

In my professional opinion, The Brew is just too small to ensure the safety and making sure that things aren’t getting cross-contaminated. So I think that Common Ground is actually the much more feasible option for adding gluten-free. So there are some obstacles, obviously, but I do firmly believe that it is a feasible option as long as people are being well-trained ...

(back to top)

In the face of increased enrolment and a scarce/limited fiscal situation at the university … how do you see about seeing to the diverse needs of different faculties? In the debate they talked a lot about design team spaces and stuff like that, not having enough resources/space. How do you see trying to balance the different needs of different faculties in the face of a budgetary situation that’s very limited?

Colin: First and foremost, the problem of increased enrolment isn’t something that we’re continuing to enroll students, but actually that the funding model by which the province of Ontario allocates tax revenue to universities only incentivizes up until this point, just like adding more and more students to get more and more dollars. That’s changing, it’s undergone a review ... I had the pleasure of working on an Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliances strategy for lobbying for a change to that model and now we have recommendations that point toward, instead of funding based on enrolment, we would fund based on quality, key metrics so that our institutions are getting money based on how well they’re achieving these quality metrics that they themselves decide with student consultation, with university consultation, with province consultation.

So right now what we’re dealing with isn’t an issue that’s going to be, 20 years down the line, still a problem. Ideally what we’re looking at is actually dealing with a bubble because Queen’s is indeed over-enrolled. We have too many students for the services and the capacities and the space we have right now. That much is clear.

So, it’s about solving that bubble of over-enrolled students with one hand, while solving with the other hand the problem at the provincial level. So that’s something that I’m very passionate about and I can talk more about if you’re interested.

However, you asked a question about space and specifically different faculty needs. So we have been talking to thousands of students in the past while boothing, on class talks, but also just in our time leading up to the election just having conversations on “what are the areas of concern with people?” So, there’s a lot of different things. We could talk about how computing has increased the amount of students, but not hired any new faculty. The way we address that is by the collective perspectives collective bargaining paper. We talk about the need for a healthy student-faculty compliment across different schools or departments — academic units, they’re called — in our university. That’s one way to solve it. The engineering has made it an advancement priority to get more space for innovation, things like design teams and so that will be embodied very likely in the expansion of the PEC space. They’ve also just recently freed up space with the removal of spark labs from the integrated learning centre. So that’s the engineering approach.

So, there’s a lot of different things. We could talk about how computing has increased the amount of students, but not hired any new faculty. The way we address that is by the collective perspectives collective bargaining paper. We talk about the need for a healthy student-faculty compliment across different schools or departments — academic units, they’re called — in our university. That’s one way to solve it. The engineering has made it an advancement priority to get more space for innovation, things like design teams and so that will be embodied very likely in the expansion of the PEC space. They’ve also just recently freed up space with the removal of spark labs from the integrated learning centre. So that’s the engineering approach.

The Arts and Science approach, we have recently secured — I began a project when I was on the Teaching and Learning Space Planning Committee as the Academic Affairs Commissioner of looking into how we can revamp and modernize our lecture halls and our study spaces on campus, the big ones just to get them to a bare minimum standard of technology, whether it’s chalkboards, whiteboards, projectors in every classroom, whatever that is. Deciding what those minimum standards are and then making sure we’re at least reaching those and then recently that committee has moved forward and secured, I believe it’s something around a million dollars each year to renovate these classrooms over and above existing funds. So that’s something again, very promising. Something I had the pleasure of starting. So this issue is massive, all the way from the provincial funding level to individual faculty advancement priorities. Where is new space going to go? Active learning classrooms are something we also believe should be an Advancement priority. Getting people to fund these very interesting classrooms that take large groups of students, but still give them a personalized, very unique learning experience. So the reason we approached that section is because it’s one that affects a lot of different people and at the end of the day, the way that we as an AMS executive will know that we are serving students best is if we can collaborate with faculties because nobody knows a faculty’s students better than the faculty society. They’re on the ground with them every day. They have a much closer and much more targeted communication so I think that respecting faculty society autonomy and having conversations with them is vital. Having conversations with faculties in a one size fits all model, just meeting with them and asking how things are going, doesn’t make sense. This is going to require, to solve this problem, targeted and tailored consultation frequently with each and every faculty society.

So this issue is massive, all the way from the provincial funding level to individual faculty advancement priorities. Where is new space going to go? Active learning classrooms are something we also believe should be an Advancement priority. Getting people to fund these very interesting classrooms that take large groups of students, but still give them a personalized, very unique learning experience. So the reason we approached that section is because it’s one that affects a lot of different people and at the end of the day, the way that we as an AMS executive will know that we are serving students best is if we can collaborate with faculties because nobody knows a faculty’s students better than the faculty society. They’re on the ground with them every day. They have a much closer and much more targeted communication so I think that respecting faculty society autonomy and having conversations with them is vital. Having conversations with faculties in a one size fits all model, just meeting with them and asking how things are going, doesn’t make sense. This is going to require, to solve this problem, targeted and tailored consultation frequently with each and every faculty society.

(back to top)

Like all executive teams, you only have 24 hours in a day. You’ve listed quite a few initiatives in your platform. What does the current AMS exec prioritize now that wouldn’t be a priority for you?

Sarah: So, what you have to remember about the AMS is that it’s not just the three of us that will be upholding our platform and the daily duties that come with the AMS, there is an entire council that we will hire if elected. There’s officers, there’s government managers, there’s corporate managers, etc. One, yes our platform is quite comprehensive, but everything has been broadly consulted on, and there was many ideas that we had that we didn’t put in there because couldn’t ensure that they would be able to be feasible and that we could deliver them from students, but I’ll let Colin or Greg speak on the difference of deliverables and advocacy, and how we’ve broken down our platform.

But just in a fundamental way, we would ensure that if elected we would break up our platform into three equal parts, so Colin would be responsible for a third, I would be responsible for a third, and Greg would be responsible for a third. Even more so than that, platform points such as gluten-free or a new espresso machine at Common Ground, I would put that to my HNS director and say this was in the platform, can you please with the Common Ground team look into the feasibility of this, we’ll put together a presentation in collaboration together, take it to the board, etc.

So it’s not just the three of us that are taking on these objectives, it really is the entire council and officers that would be helping us and it certainly wouldn’t be — there’s different priorities that this exec has had in their own platform that we may not take on, but the actual fundamental role of the AMS and what it already accomplishes within the organization, that wouldn’t be sacrificed to get our goals and objectives, it would just be built upon and it would be our personal time that we would be on the job committing to, not just the day to day, getting our platform done as well as the councillors, officers, government managers, etc. 

Greg: Yeah, I definitely think we do have a good mix of modest enhancements that will simply improve student life and big goals, for example, the sexual assault resource centre, things like that. I think it’s important to acknowledge that one, we will have an amazing team of people surrounding us in terms of commissioners that are dedicated to doing these roles alongside ourselves, and on top of that, we have broken up our platform into separations in terms of these are advocacy points that will not just last our year, and we can’t guarantee that they will be done, and it would be, we’d be just blatantly lying if we said this is something that will 100 per cent get implemented in six months because it won’t. It’s a thing that won’t only be our year, but the next year, and the next year after that. And it’s things that won’t go away in a year. So that’s the difference between the advocacy and the deliverables because the deliverables are within our time in a year.

Colin: I think something that was a focus of this year’s executive, their priority that will be finished by our term so we won’t be putting the same amount of energy into it is the student fee reforms. What we want to do instead of making all the changes is that this is something that will be accomplished by the end of this year, so we’ll be able to just sort of steward the process to ensure that those changes actually are in the interests of students, and that it is being handled accountably and most importantly, that the changes are being communicated to groups and clubs on campus in a way that they can really understand and engage with, so it doesn’t seem like it’s just happening up in those offices, it’s something that everybody can sort of understand. 

Sarah: In terms of also going off the advocacy and deliverables, the deliverables have all been placed on something that we firmly believe we can accomplish within our term if elected, where as advocacy such as the sexual assault resource centre likely won’t be built or constructed during the year, but every time we meet with the Provost, and every time we meet with the Principal, we will be discussing our advocacy points. We will be firmly advocating on students and advocating on the concerns that have been brought up to us during our extensive consultation prior to the campaign, so those are the differences between advocacy and deliverables.

(back to top)

 

Conclusion

Sarah: So, in terms of our vision, our entire thing has been about bringing students into the conversation, and it’s something that we’ve united on, and have inherently put in every platform point that we have broadly consulted, with not only members of the AMS, permanent staff, community members on the board, but students at large at the university. Something that we firmly believe makes us the better team is that we are a team, in everything that we’ve put into the platform we can stand here and firmly believe that we love it and we believe in it, and it wasn’t that we never disagreed, we had plenty of disagreements, but it made us stronger now because we had these disagreements. Another thing is that, in order to be an AMS executive, you need to believe in the students and the university, and any executive or any potential candidates that are running that say that the student experience is in full retreat have clearly not been listening.

Colin: We’ve come up with a comprehensive plan. We launched it since day one, and this is what we’re running on.

(back to top)

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.