Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I felt like it was important to get some information from candidates running for office, so by using the handy tool that is facebook and doing some AMS election group stalking, I managed to get some email addresses and contact people running for office to ask them some questions regarding the election. I intend to keep adding more replies as they come in. Hopefully, the responses will serve to inform you all about the candidates, their priorities and platforms, and their personalities. Alex should be commended for the incredibly expedient reply- I got this at just past 2 am. I hope the rest will be coming in soon!

1.) If you had to choose one thing from your platform that you would work on, which would it be and why?

I would definitely focus on my education initiatives, specifically working with the Provost office and the Teacher's Associations to increase the number of lecturers at UBC. From my general experience, and dealings with my peers, I have come to appreciate the value that lecturers, versus those that are purely researchers, add to the classroom environment. A good lecturer will motivate students and get them excited about learning and broadening their horizons while at UBC. I would choose this option over other initiatives because I believe that the AMS has been focusing too much in recent years on issues that don't affect all students on campus and generally are external to the general student experience. While I appreciate the value in many of the initiatives the AMS has pursued over the years, I believe that a stronger focus on what we all come to UBC for, learning, is required.

2.) How would you describe your leadership style?

My leadership still is inclusive and focuses on building consensus. Through my experiences leading teams, I have found that people will remain engaged and motivated if they are part of the goal setting process and have a say of where the team is going. I lead by example and am known to work harder than my team members as I set high expectations for them and it would not be fair of me to not hold myself to the same standards. I believe that finding people's passions and facilitating their pursuit of those passions will lead to better results than setting directions and tasks unilaterally. I believe heavily on constant feedback and in creating a personal relationship with those that are in my team.

3.) If you had to select another candidate, other than yourself, for your position, who would you select and why?

From those in the current race, I would select Blake. Blake has the grasp on issues required by this position. From the information I am privy to I understand he is a hard worker and a very motivated individual. I believe that one has to have a strong drive to be able to meet the demands of the role as President. I also believe that Paul, while very interested in students, is not aware of how demanding this position is. Therefore, I believe that Blake would be better positioned to do a good job than Paul would. However, I should highlight that I believe that it would be a challenge for him in terms of dealing with diverging opinions in his team as he has very strong personal interests.

4.) What experience have you had leading a team?

I've spent this whole year leading 9 highly motivated and accomplished individuals in the Commerce Undergraduate Society. It was a challenge to lead other leaders with very different interests. I had to constantly address their individual interests and motivations and the interests of the general commerce student population. I was able to provide a fulfilling experience by being engaged with them throughout the whole process, providing feedback and facilitating their activities to the best of my abilities. I was able to establish strong friendships with most of them. It was a very enjoyable experience for all of us even though we faced exceptional challenges this year.

5.) How are you different from the other candidates running for your position?

There are two main differentiating factors between me and the other candidates. First is the practicality of my positions. Secondly, my approach to the position and how I view my role. In terms of my positions, I worked to create solutions that are implementable and I would be able to accomplish in one year's time. They are also positions that I believe represent the general sentiments of UBC students and not the loud voices of a particular group. In terms of my approach, I believe some of the other candidates view the President's position as one of great power in terms of subjugating the University to our wishes. I personally believe that the President's role is more one of building consensus and mobilizing resources in order to accomplish pragmatic solutions. I think those two differences will enable me to accomplish more and engage more people than what the other candidates are proposing.

6.) What would you say is the single most important issue concerning UBC students right now?

The mismatch between the increase in tuition and a decrease in the quality of the education. The fact the many studies point to a deteriorating academic environment in many places around the world is of great concern. The fact that the AMS has turned a blind eye to such an important issue is appalling and was the main motivation for me to run for office. With increased global competition in the workplace and amongst countries, those who can educate their people best will be better off. While cheaper tuition, more housing and increased transit service will better the immediate life of students, working with the university to increase the quality of education at UBC will benefit not only students but also Canada in the long run.

7.) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

These days I am very interested in going to China. The fact that it is a live experiment in terms of developing a country with such a large number of people is very intriguing to me. I am also very interested in experiencing what the world's next superpower is like and how the people are actually living there. China also has a very rich culture, dating back to 5,000 A.D. I am always interested in experiencing how those with a different perception of the world interact with the world around them. Plainly said, I think China would be a lot of fun, it would let me travel around South East Asia, and it would allow me to experience the beautiful landscape and culture that is possesses.