Thursday, January 11, 2007

What the AMS has done this year for students

As UBC students, we each pay a fee to the AMS, our student union. Part of it goes to pay the five AMS Executives to work 40-60 hours per week. So what, under the "supervision" of AMS Council, have they accomplished this year?

I have come up with a list of what I consider the most important ones, in no particular order:

1. Governance Review of the University
Back in spring of 2006, Jeff Friedrich (VP Academic) went to the GVRD about the University's campus development protocol of the Irish pub, instigating an overall Governance Review of the University by the Province. This was a daring move, which even a lot of former executives raised their eyebrows at. However, this has instigated the University to attempt to demonstrate inclusion of student opinion within their governance practice. For example, the AMS was given a voting seat on both the Development Permits Board and PPPAC (President's Property&Planning Advisory Committee), two key decision making bodies on campus development.

2. Allowing international students to work off-campus.
The AMS went to Victoria in February to make post-secondary education a high priority for the Province. One of the issues that was brought up was signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the federal government to allow international students to work off campus. And it happened! (link)

(AMS Councillors in Victoria)

3. The Childcare motion unanimously passed last night, opening up 145 more spots (link).

4. An allocation of our funds to establish an Advocacy office for graduate students specifically. (link)

5. "The Coke Motion(s)"
We committed ourselves (the AMS) to not enter an exclusivity agreement with one cold beverage company, and we passed a motion to lobby the university to not enter a similar agreement. (link)

6. The stabilization of the Sexual Assault Support Centre. This was very much an internal matter, and most students didn't even know there were issues. But the SASC was temporarily on hiatus at the end of the schoolyear in 2005, and since we had struggled to restructure it in order to make it function. I can't go into details, but we are very lucky to have come to a point where it is up and running, with two wonderful coordinators, and with constructive dialogue with the University.

Are there any others that come to mind?
I'll add more to the list as time goes by.