Team ETC takes audience questions at open forum

ETC talks engagement, social issues, and Student Choice Initiative

ETC aims to improve marketing strategies to increase student engagement.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

On Jan. 27, the AMS held their executive candidate open forum for uncontested Team ETC.

The forum was moderated by Erica Johnson, AMS chief elections officer, and Laura Devenny, AMS secretariat. Audience questions collected through a Google form were asked after a round of opening statements and pre-prepared questions. 

“We want to increase avenues for student discussion and create space for more student-led projects. We are committed to bringing student ideas to the administration [and] to generat[ing] innovative and constructive change,” Presidential candidate Eric Sikich said in his opening statement.

For Team ETC, it “all comes back to trust.”

Sikich also promised ETC would work to strengthen relationships with the Kingston community while advocating for student life at Queen’s. 

“We're committed to building bridges between the Kingston and Queen’s communities and will continue to stand for students when dealing with the City to enhance student extracurricular and academic life.”

Speaking to policy, Vice-Presidential (Operations) candidate Tina Hu spoke to the importance of building connections between the service side of the AMS and faculty societies. 

“One coming up at the top of my head is the Tricolor Outlet and ASUS jackets,” Hu said.

One concern raised in the question period was about the decrease in student engagement with the AMS in recent years.

“I think a great way to increase engagement is by increasing the awareness of what the AMS actually does,” Sikich said. “We think that students are just unaware, perhaps, of what the AMS does because we have so many clubs, we have so many opportunities.”

Sikich said Team ETC will use marketing to increase engagement.

“We want to utilize all of our marketing strategies, whether that is working with StudioQ this year to increase marketing, or working with professional marketing on campus.”

Team ETC also spoke about the importance of the Social Issues Commission (SIC) and addressed concerns that their platform didn’t specifically make any mention of students of colour. 

“I want to highlight the fact that the Student Choice Initiative, which happened a number of years ago, caused the funding for the Social Issues Commission to dramatically fall,” Callum Robertson, Vice-Presidential (University Affairs) candidate said.

Robertson believes the SIC needs more “autonomy.”

“Giving the SIC more autonomy in a tangible way is important. We've discussed creating a board of directors for the SIC that would separate the AMS financial and risk management side,” Robertson said. 

“I think that at the end of the day, when we talk about representing marginalized students, we are not doing anywhere close to better.”

On Sexual Violence Prevention and Response (SVPR), Robertson discussed the importance of working with Barbara Lotan, SVPR coordinator.

“The SVPR taskforce is a task force that needs to be pushed to do more. It's acting very slowly right now,” Robertson said. 

On the topic of employee wellbeing and access to Human Resources professionals, Sikich said ETC will continue to develop the current anonymous reporting system.

Robertson also floated the idea of forming a vice-president’s caucus. This would be similar to the president’s caucus, which is chaired by the AMS president and sees every faculty society president attend. 

Sikich said ETC will remain realistic about its goals and continually return to them.

“We will use our collective knowledge not just to dream big for the AMS, but to make those dreams and goals attainable and realistic, where concrete progress can be monitored by the students who elect us,” Sikich said. 

In closing, Team ETC reminded students to go and vote, even if that means voting “no.”

“Vote on Feb. 1 and 2, even if you're voting no or abstain. We hope you will vote yes,” Robertson said.

“Let’s show Queen’s that the student body is not disengaged—we are engaged.”

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