‘Dynamic, resilient, & hopeful’: AMS Year in Review

Team RTZ talks student engagement, AMS culture, and the JDUC 

Team RTZ began their term on May 1, 2021.
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In their final interview with The Journal, Team RTZ described their term as student leaders as “dynamic, resilient, and hopeful.” 
 
When asked whether the executive has successfully checked off every actionable item from their platform, Tiana Wong, Vice-President (Operations) said “not necessarily,” because they’ve tackled more than what was included in their original platform. 
 
“There’s some things we didn’t get to, but then there’s also a lot of things that were never included in the platform that we did get to that we’re very proud of—overall, we are happy with what has been achieved,” Wong said in an interview with The Journal. 
 
On the achievements they were most proud of, President Zaid Kasim pointed to developing strong relationships with faculty societies and small affiliated member societies as well as the executive’s work on the JDUC redevelopment project.
 
“We held President’s caucus weekly this year and this is the first year in a long time that we worked extensively [together],” Kasim said in an interview with The Journal.
 
Vice-President (University Affairs) Ryan Sieg was proud of how the executive supported the return to in-person activities. 
 
“I think that required a ton of efforts behind the scenes from a ton of different people in different branches, so I think that was also a really big accomplishment this year,” Sieg said in an interview with The Journal.
 
Rebuilding trust and student engagement
 
One of the major actionable items in RTZ’s platform was their commitment to rebuilding the student body’s trust in the AMS. According to Wong, AMS employees have felt increase uncertainty intheir roles throughout COVID-19. Team RTZ claims they’ve been “very transparent” with staff. 
 
“I think we have done a good job instilling trust from my point of view with our employees,” Wong said. “We understand staff rely on these positions financially, so ensuring we were, to the best of our ability, providing opportunities for work was big.”
 
Kasim added the feedback they’ve received throughout the year was overall “positive.”  
 
In terms of student engagement, Sieg referenced high participation in the Rector election and said there’s been an “upward trend” despite only one team running for AMS executive. 
 
“While there was only one team in the election, I think they’ll do a very good job next year […] and I think that it seems like student engagement is on an upward trajectory,” Sieg said. 
 
AMS culture and transparency
 
While the AMS saw four resignations at the senior management level before the end of September, Wong said they’ve introduced more support for current and future staff. Since then, RTZ has implemented a human resources officer to help guide  student staff and introduce “HR downloads.” 
 
“Having a professional in the human resources office is really important to us, because there are sensitive matters that need to be dealt with and it’s unfair to burden a student with no experience in HR to be in that position,” Wong said. 
 
Among the changes to improve AMS transparency is a website redevelopment project, which Wong said might sound “small,” but has been an “all hands on deck project.”
 
“It’s taken a lot of time with a very talented individual at an external company to help us create a new website that will be more student-facing,” Wong said. “The whole objective of that is to have a section where information is supposed to be readily available.”
 
The website will house information relating to AMS financials, policies, and student resources. 
 
JDUC transition
 
As the JDUC revitalization project proceeds, Kasim has dedicated his time to ensure a smooth transition for incoming AMS staff moving to the LaSalle building. 
 
“Many of our permanent staff have moved over to the LaSalle building […] we relocated some of our services as well,” Kasim said. 
 
AMS services including the Student Life Centre (SLC), Walkhome, and the Printing & Copy Centre (P&CC) have all moved into the Athletics & Recreation Centre (ARC). 
 
According to Kasim, the next services to move will be Studio Q and the Secretariat’s office into the Rideau building—taking place in June or July. 
 
When asked what they will miss most about their time as an executive, both Kasim and Sieg said they’ll miss the moments they were able to spend on campus. 
 
“I think one thing that I will really miss from this year is the times where people were on campus—the energy just felt very fun,” Sieg said. “I’ll really miss the atmosphere and the buzz.”
 
Aside from her usual Common Ground Coffeehouse order, Wong will miss the collaborative environment of the AMS. 
 
Team RTZ advised the incoming AMS executive to “soak it up while it lasts.” 
 
—With files from Asbah Ahmad.

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