AMS updates for the month of May

Society aims for biodegradable cups in Queen's Pub, kickstarts open office hours

AMS offices. 
Journal File Photo
Since students headed home for the summer a few weeks ago, the AMS executives have begun tackling some of their platform promises. 
While the platform the Executive initially released during their campaigning period contained promises now infeasible following the Student Choice Initiative (SCI), the team is close to finishing an updated platform.  
“The SCI [has] changed a lot of what we want to achieve,” AMS President Auston Pierce said in an interview with The Journal. 
Despite being forced to let go of certain initiatives, such as the establishment of a commission for mental health initiatives, the team has taken steps toward some of their other platform pillars, like sustainability and accessibility. 
In terms of sustainability, Jessica Dahanayake, vice-president (Operations), said single-use cutleries have been replaced with reusable ones in the AMS offices. 
She added the Society is in the process of getting rid of plastic cups at Queen’s Pub and hopes to have biodegradable cups in place before students come back in September.  
The team also addressed the impacts of the SCI and how the AMS is moving forward. 
“We’re currently advocating for an opt-out system that informs students the fastest way possible about what these fees are,” Pierce said. “That’s an ongoing process we’re working very closely with the SGPS on, and we’re having constant communication with faculty societies because they’re also being heavily impacted by this.” 
With the implications of the SCI looming, Pierce brought up the importance of transparency and how they’ve started a marketing campaign to inform students to about which fees are affected.
William Greene, vice-president (University Affairs) added it’s important incoming students are informed how the SCI has changed the fee system and faculty initiatives. 
“We want to make sure students know what the benefits and being a member of the AMS are so they can make the right choice moving forward,” he said.
On accessibility, the team is introducing resource cards to distribute. 
With collaborations from other faculties, these resource cards will be used to provide basic information about all the resources students can find on campus, such as supports for mental health, sexual violence, and academic support. 
Aside from resource cards, all information will be centralized online, and all event dates will be solidified throughout the years so students will be able to find the information easily.  
Similarly, the Society is also in the process of developing an online tool that allows students to be more aware of the many clubs on campus. Greene explained that the web tool attempts to match students’ interests with clubs on campus. 
Acting on one of their biggest goals—improving student engagement—the team is also currently holding open office hours for students to stop by and ask questions every Wednesday from 5 to 6:30 p.m.  
While the turnout rate wasn’t high for its debut last week, the team hopes to eventually have more than one open office hour during the week.
“We want to be there and accessible. We welcome all feedback, we welcome all conversation, and generally students have some of the greatest ideas,” Pierce said. 
“There’s so many people who are experts in their field, and that’s what we need. We envision the future of the AMS being an open and collaborative environment that drives students forward.”

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