Team YEA presents platform at ASUS open forum

‘Regardless of your program, we are committed to building an ASUS for you’

Open forum took place over a Facebook livestream on Wednesday night.

Team YEA appeared at the ASUS open forum held over Facebook live on Jan. 26. Moderated by ASUS governance officer Kristen Sutherland, the team had the chance to respond to a predetermined set of questions and student questions submitted via Google form.

In their opening statement, Team YEA broke down their platform pillars.

“Being a student encompasses so many different experiences that go beyond the classroom,” Vice President (Society Affairs) candidate Emma Farrell, ArtSci ’23, said. “In recognition of this, our team addresses these gaps and concerns in three overlapping areas: the student, the classroom, and the university experience.”

Vice President (Operations) candidate Aloka Wijesundara, ArtSci ’23, emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of the three platform pillars in the opening statement.

Student engagement

When asked how the team will engage third- and fourth-year students throughout their term, Wijesundara pointed to professional development as a focal part of their platform.

“We want to make sure that we’re not just supporting students throughout their time at Queen’s but that we’re also setting them up for success in the future beyond graduation,” she said.

Wijesundara said the team hopes to collaborate with the Queen’s Student Alumni Association and the ASUS Alumni Director to continue engaging students with events like Life After ArtSci.

Farrell also pointed to the team’s platform point to improve financial transparency as another way YEA hopes to engage the student body better.

“Students have been paying fees since their initial arrival at Queen’s. We want to show them where those fees are going, what resources in ASUS they are paying towards, and what we can offer them.”

Actionable Platform Items

Hussein identified a lack of diverse lenses in academia in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and introduced the Syllabus Review Committee as an actionable platform item the team would seek to implement.

According to Hussein, the Syllabus Review Committee would be primarily chaired by faculty, with positions for a few student voices on the panel to provide input on course syllabi.

“There are a lot of syllabi that are very outdated both within the Arts and Sciences departments, and this has really affected how students are interpreting their curricular commitments,” Hussein said.

“This committee is a general idea we are hoping to propose to faculty and see if there is room for it.”


Hussein said creating an environment for students of all races within ASUS is important to each of the three candidates.

“There are gaps that exist where some students don’t feel as included,” she said.

Hussein said the team hopes to foster a more equitable environment by preventing discrimination and creating safe spaces.

“Racialized students have multiplied needs, and through that, we hope to build a culture of awareness and education that persists outside ASUS,” she said.

Hussein also noted the team would work to provide safe spaces within ASUS for students with different identities to thrive on campus.

Restructured ASUS executive

As the first team in recent years to run for a three-person ASUS executive, Farrell said the addition of a new position will “usher in a new era of advocacy.”

“This person will allow their other two executives to relieve their over-burdening and workload,” Farrell said.

Read more: ASUS restructures executive

“The VPSA [Vice President (Society Affairs)] role will intend to build the society’s infrastructure and improve the volunteer experiences for the over 2,000 student volunteers that ASUS has.”

Farrell noted the lack of precedent as an anticipated challenge for the team if elected. If elected, YEA will look to past executives before establishing a framework to integrate these duties into the new position.

“We truly hope to use this role to increase engagement.”

Arts and Sciences students can cast their ballots on Feb. 1 and 2.

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