On Jan. 29, the Student Advocacy Summit was held for the first time in years. Various branches of the AMS collaborated to hold the event, which aimed to facilitate engagement between the student government and the Queen’s community.
The Student Advocacy Summit had come to a halt in previous years due to low student engagement.
Panelists discussed student advocacy and held an open forum for AMS members to voice their concerns.
“A huge goal for this event was increasing the transparency and accessibility of the AMS. Hearing from students directly was a great opportunity,” Anika Chowdhury, AMS commissioner of campus affairs, said in an interview with The Journal.
Samara Lijiam, AMS Social Issue Commissioner, was also involved as an organizer.
“We wanted to bring [the Summit] back even if not a lot of people came. We made a lot of changes and put quite a lot of planning to make it a more engaging event.” Lijiam said in an interview with The Journal.
The AMS hosted four guest speakers: Smith School of Business professor Steven Moore, QUIC director Sultan Almajil, Centre for Student Equity & Inclusion director Deanna Fialho, and Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) director Eddy Avila.
“We really wanted to get speakers with experience in a variety of advocacy areas. The panel overall highlighted different types of student advocacy and the impact it has,” Chowdhury said.
With a goal of 30 attendees, 27 registered for the event. Lijiam and Chowdhury were “very happy with the turnout.”
The summit was spearheaded by the Social Issues Commission (SIC) and the Campus Affairs Commission, as well as by members of the AMS executive and senior management team.
Lijiam said the branches involved will be meeting later this week to reflect on the event and ensure they act on the feedback and commentary.
“I know for the [SIC], we received a lot of insightful feedback on the role of police on campus especially, with St. Patrick’s Day coming up,” Lijiam said. “I look forward to hearing more about what the common trends were.”
With impending AMS elections, Chowdhury hopes the event will allow the AMS to “develop a comprehensive portfolio for the incoming team.”
“All in all, everyone took something valuable away from the summit.”
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