AMS releases updated platform

Platform includes promises to make campus more sustainable, prevent and respond to sexual violence

The AMS released its updated platform before Assembly last week.
Journal File Photo

In anticipation of the first AMS assembly of the year, the Society’s executives released their updated platform on Sept 19, almost five months into their term.

The platform's central committment remains Team AJW’s pledge to improve student engagement with the AMS, an issue executives Auston Pierce, William Greene and Jessica Dahanayake have led with since the beginning of their campaign.

Some of AJW’s achievements so far, which are referenced in the document, include the distribution of resource cards to Queen’s Student Constables, the development of the AMS Clubs Map, the first Sustainable Orientation Review, and greater Indigenous representation through the introduction of a Council of Indigenous Initiatives.

Other campaign promises are still underway, like including regular livestreams at monthly AMS Assemblies and an internal waste audit of the Society’s services.

Two new platform points include a number of promises to improve campus sustainability and two commitments to combat sexual violence.

Team AJW initially hoped to establish a commission focused on sustainability within the Society after the 2017 dissolution of the Commission of Environmental Affairs, but this campaign point was abandoned due to financial constraints after the Student Choice Initiative (SCI).

In place of a new commission, the updated platform features a 15-pillar Sustainability section. Some of the proposed initiatives are marked as complete, including an educational Sustainability Week and a Uniform Sustainability Initiative to improve the environmental sustainability of AMS Services.

Additionally, the platform promises to make all packaging at The Brew and CoGro fully compostable, something Team AJW hoped to do before students returned to Queen’s in September.

Other sustainability promises include TAPS’ total phasing out of recyclable and landfill food packaging at TAPS and a sustainability rewards program promoting the return of recyclable products at P&CC, as well as a Sustainable Events Certification that will provide incentives and discounts for clubs and conferences who strive to reduce their environmental impact.

The Society also plans to work with the City of Kingston to identify waste management concerns in the University District.

An omission in their January platform, combatting sexual violence now appears in two promises in AJW’s updated platform.

The first is a pledge to create a partnership between the Queen’s Student Constables and the Social Issues Commission to “increase knowledge and awareness of the signs of sexual violence.”

The new platform also promises to work with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) and Queen’s government relations to advocate for the release of data from the 2018 Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey.

Other completed platform points include implementing weekly Executive office hours, an informative campaign about the SCI, and the implementation of Empower Me, the Society’s new online mental health service.

The platform also looks after the non-academic side of the Queen’s experience, with promises for an improved Clubs Caucus, a streamlined event sanctioning and review process, expanded menus at CoGro and Queen’s Pub, and reduced costs for on-campus pubs to hire Queen’s Student Constables.

Team AJW also plans to reevaluate the Society’s position on Fall Reading Week, establish an official Frost Week, and introduce discounts at AMS retail and hospitality services for AMS members as well as online ordering at the P&CC.

The platform also includes the Society’s external-facing goals.

The Society hopes to improve provincial advocacy by pushing for an increase in student fees deemed essential under the SCI.

The AMS will also launch an information campaign about the upcoming federal election and host an on-campus Kingston and the Islands candidate debate.

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