AMS Summer in review

Team RTZ reflects on their first four months as AMS executive 

Society to assist incoming students with transition from remote learning.
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On Jul. 28, The Journal sat down with the AMS executives to discuss what the society has prepared for the upcoming semester for both incoming and returning students.

As September kicks off, the AMS shared how they’re ensuring a smooth transition to campus for students.

“The commissioners have been working to help develop the second year STRIVE [Students Taking Responsible Initiatives towards a Viable Environment] program, which helps students who are coming to campus for the first time,” AMS President Zaid Kasim said.

In addition to the program, Kasim said the AMS is creating social media campaigns geared towards second-year students to help them navigate campus.

“We are also looking to implement an international students’ buddy program that is aimed towards incoming and upper year international students. There will be both online and in-person orientation events for incoming first year students,” Kasim said.

Additionally, the executive stressed the importance of mental wellness for all students, noting that the Peer Support Centre will be operating in a “hybrid fashion.”

“Traditionally, the PSC is hosted in person, but due to the pandemic, it has been shifted to an online service using Zoom,” Tiana Wong, vice-president (Operations) said.

“[This] year, the [PSC] will be in-person and online to serve as many students as possible.”

Wong added that, since the transition back to on-campus learning can be difficult for new and returning students, the PSC hours will be flexible and accessible to the community.

Academics

One of the goals RTZ is working towards is academic supports.

“I think that, last year with COVID-19, it was very unprecedented,” Kasim said. “[First-years] had to go through a whole bunch of challenges for the first time and experience things for the first time.”

“We really want to make sure that the [academic] quality for the students is top-notch.”

According to Kasim, the AMS has been doing advocacy work to ensure all students are able to receive academic accommodations as they progress through their degrees.

Aside from advocating for academic accommodations, RTZ also intends to ensure students are engaged on campus.

“The academics also have a huge effect on engagement within the student body,” Wong said.

“We want to reach out to second-year students who didn’t have the chance to be on campus in their first year, whether it be the interactions with the AMS services or the on-campus clubs, we are diligent in offering the experiences that second-year students haven’t had yet,” Kasim added.

Over the summer, the AMS expanded their relationships with other faculties and societies.

“We’ve made huge strides with other clubs and faculties already in the summer,” Kasim said. “We’ve been having lots of collaborating, helping each other.”

Improving AMS Culture

One of the key goals in RTZ’s platform was restructuring AMS culture. Wong said the executives focused much of their work on training AMS staff members over the summer.

“We believe training is an integral part in facilitating a professional and inclusive work environment, so we’re standardizing all AMS training,” Wong said. 

This year, the AMS also onboarded a permanent human resources staff member to the team.

“It’s important to have a professional to support the office and handle sensitive subjects in the human resources field,” Wong said.

“We have a new system called HRDownloads that is incredibly useful to keep everyone on track and accountable,” Kasim said.

According to the execs, the permanent HR professional is also dedicated to helping the AMS develop a variety of HR policies.

In addition to the HR policies, the AMS also hosts monthly equity training, Ryan Sieg, vice-president (University Affairs) said. 

“It is run by our student management team and our commissioner of social issues,” Sieg said.

Sustainability

According to Sieg, the AMS will be hosting a sustainability month in October. More updates will be released closer to that time.

On the services end, both Printing & Copy Centre (P&CC) and Common Ground Coffeehouse (CoGro) have also implemented sustainable initiatives, Wong added.

According to Wong, P&CC has switched to using eco-paper, a more sustainable printing option.

“Common Ground will continue to run and promote the Huskee Swap program, which they’re also partnering with ASUS orientation program,” Wong said.

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