ASUS executive candidates run in uncontested election

Principles of EDII are high priority for Team ATP

“At this point, you need our leadership.”

Team ATP, composed of candidates Amaiya Walters for president, ArtSci ’23, Therese de Rivera for vice-president (operations), ArtSci ’24, and Preston Harrison for vice-president (society affairs), ArtSci ’23, is the only team running in this year’s Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) executive election. 

The Journal spoke with the team about their platform and vision for the upcoming school year. Equity and accessibility are among their top priorities.

“All of us, as students of colour, have seen the way in which Queen’s has overlooked these tenets,” Walters said.

All three candidates have been involved with student groups that promote equity on campus both outside and within ASUS, such as the Queen’s Black Academic Society.

The team wants to provide students with the space and resources to advocate for themselves. Walters emphasized reaching out and working to represent all students.

“Hearing student feedback […] will be the foundational step to creating an ASUS that everyone can enjoy and access,” Walters added.

Another primary platform pillar for team ATP is financial transparency, aiming to inform students not only of where their fees go, but how they can access and interpret public financial information.

Harrison hopes to improve the relationship between the student body and the greater Kingston community. To do this, he hopes to create more opportunities for students to give back through volunteerism and community service.

In his first year, Harrison initially shied away from engaging in extracurriculars.

“I wasn’t really involved, I didn’t know where to go, so I felt very isolated,” he said.

Now, Harrison hopes to help other students to find their place within the institution. As vice-president (society affairs), Harrison hopes to be someone students feel they can reach out to for support.

“My door will always be open,” he added.

The return to a normal post-pandemic world is still ongoing, especially when it comes to student engagement, Walters said. Bringing student groups back to life is a major objective for de Rivera, who wants to foster a more unified campus.

As vice-president (operations), de Rivera plans to continue improving the financial accessibility of student life including traditions like jackets, as well as meet barriers to EDII with funding to remove obstacles to equal opportunity.

Through including ASUS’s sibling societies like CESA and COMPSA in their programming, team ATP hopes to bring students together and help them make connections based on common interests.

Walters feels her experiences working a variety of campus jobs including in the Human Rights and Equity Office have prepared her to represent Arts and Science.

“I think it’s really important that, as students, we step up to the plate when given an opportunity to create some sustainable change,” she said.

Watching campus become more diverse over the course of her Queen’s career has inspired Walters to continue advocating for students, particularly BIPOC students.

“Just seeing that students want to get involved makes everything worth it,” she said.

De Rivera spoke about her prior involvements at Queen’s. She co-founded a new club this year, QU Glow, to unite people who are passionate about beauty and wellness. The club supports Kingston women’s shelters through donations and volunteer work.

Running uncontested, the team feels they’ve had more opportunities to speak to students and find out what they need from their student government than they may have otherwise.

Walters also noted an uncontested election speaks to low student engagement—something the team hopes to change.

When asked about the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program’s uncertain future, the team highlighted the value an enriched arts community brings to Queen’s. They want to ensure campus is as rich in interests and passions as it is in identities.

“ASUS isn’t just for people who are super into student government or want to be politicians,” Walters said. “If they just want to be part of something and build a community […] we want to create a space for [that].”

The team acknowledges the important connection students have with the AMS, whether it's through employment, volunteering, or accessing services. They plan to prioritize advocating for Arts and Science students at AMS Assembly and maintaining a strong relationship with the AMS to best serve members of both societies.

The ASUS election is taking place on Jan. 29 and 30.

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