AMS Year in Review

Executive looks back on a year of achievements, challenges

AMS Executive. From left to right: Chelsea Hollidge, Palmer Lockridge, Jennifer Li.
Credit: 
AMS Communications
In her final interview with The Journal this year, AMS President Jennifer Li said serving the student body has been an honour.
 
This year, the AMS took on a variety of projects ranging from securing student fees for ambitious projects, to restructuring the corporate side of the society. 
 
Though they faced roadblocks on some projects — like the failure to secure a student fee for the JDUC revitalization — Li expressed her team has achieved a number of campaign promises. 
 
Li highlighted the society has also had to roll with several punches. “We had to adapt to situations or unexpected announcements from the provincial government for example,” she said. 
 
When addressing the failed JDUC referendum vote in February, Li told The Journal the project will continue.
 
“Ending this year, we continued very strong relationships with the University and with the SGPS. That resulted in a huge project with the JDUC. The project wouldn’t have been possible without being able to collaborate with the administrators and being able to collaborate with governing bodies like the Board of Trustees,” Li remarked.
 
Though the current executive were unable to secure the fee, Li characterized the project as a high point of her term as president. “It’s not an easy accomplishment to say that all three parties that traditionally disagree on a lot of issues, have been able to come together,” she said.
 
AMS Vice-President (University Affairs) Palmer Lockridge added, “we have a business plan that’s ready [for the JUDC], and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that’s ready with the university. We need to find a project that students are confident in supporting.”
 
When asked about changes to the society’s governance this year, Lockridge said the AMS created a lot more opportunities for students.
 
“What we did this year was take a look back at the positions we offer and said, ‘what are some areas we can change up what we’re doing, or do a little more,’” Lockridge remarked.
 
Those changes include expanding the portfolios of multiple positions on the governance side of the society. Lockridge pointed to the Orientation Roundtable Coordinator (ORT), a position which is now salaried. He said the change is meant to “recognize the amount of work they put into the organization.”
 
Lockridge also pointed to a new position in the Secretariat’s office and the addition of a full-time Chief Electoral Officer during elections period to “try to make that process easier for students that engage.”
 
According to the Executive, the fees secured this year were significant accomplishments.  
 
“One high point for the government side and the social issues commission, was when students decided to pass the new fee for the Peer Support Center (PSC),” Lockridge said. He mentioned in reference to the fee that “[the AMS] recognized what students had flagged for us.” 
 
“Next year we’re going to have a lot of new opportunities, both for people who want to work in the PSC, but also a lot of opportunities for students to go and access that type of support,” Lockridge continued. 
 
In addition, on the corporate side of the society, AMS Vice-President (Operations) Chelsea Hollidge referenced the successful fee increase for the society’s bus program.
 
Hollidge also pointed to the AMS’s continued relationship with the city as a contributing factor to the renegotiation of the society’s bus contract.
 
She explained this year’s relationship with the city “allowed us to have our first North-South route that is specifically catered towards students who are starting to move a little bit further away from campus to address housing needs.”
 
Hollidge also mentioned the contract has “increase[ed] late night coverage for students who are traveling between West and main [campus] and downtown.” 
 
“As much as we did see an increase in that fee, we’ve also been able to maintain the lowest university bus pass fee in Ontario,” Hollidge added.
 
When asked what Li would tell students as she concludes her term, she said she wants to remind students “they are the AMS.”
 
“There is a misconception that the AMS is this separate entity and its people in the JDUC and its people holding office, but the Alma Mater Society is actually all 17,800 undergraduate students,” she remarked. “It’s not them versus us, it’s not me versus somebody else, we’re all in this together […] What makes Queen’s so special is that we all try to make this place a little better than when we found it.”

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