Wednesday, May 27th Council Update

June 9, 2009 at 4:00 pm 2 comments

Hi everyone,

Here is the update about what took place at the most recent meeting. In future we’ll try to have updates up more promptly.

The meeting started off with Dave (the Speaker) asking the councillors and visitors to introduce themselves as well as describe their particular fetish. After this unconventional opening, we had a brief presentation from Nancy Knight from Campus and Community Planning. She spoke about the general vision for campus development over the long term. The basic idea was that growth would occur primarily through infill (building up currently underdeveloped spots, such as parking lots), rather than by building outwards.  After the presentation, a number of people asked very pertinent questions. Blake (AMS President) raised an important concern, by noting that although UBC says there is a need for 1000 new childcare spaces on campus, the presentation only outlined plans for 150 spaces. Interestingly, Darren Peets (a legendary former councillor) also briefly showed up to ask about the preservation of trees near the old armoury site. Some of the highlights of the presentation include a planned expansion of roughly 500 beds for Vanier and Totem, the creation of two new K-12 schools, and the expansion of the Main Mall pedestrian only zone. Many of these seem like good plans, but its important that we work to hold Campus and Community Planning to account, in order to ensure that this smooth presentation translates into changes on the ground.

The second presentation came from the Johannes Rebane, the VP Academic and University Affairs. He presented on the Whistler Orientation Weekend (for councillors and staff), which I can attest was a great deal of fun. Also, the AMS Whistler Lodge is very inexpensive, and student owned, so all the profits go back to students. In addition to getting to know the people we will be working closely with this year, the trip also featured a strategic planning session, where we set our goals for the year.  Everyone probably had one or two particular goals that interested them for the upcoming year. The goal that most interests me personally is having a comparative review done of the relative benefits and costs of membership in different national student lobbying organizations. I look forward to working on this task as part of the External Policy Committee.

After these two presentations, the executives all gave their usual updates to council. Blake Frederick probably delivered the most interesting update. Basically, VANOC refused to meet with him to discuss a number of concerns about the impact of the Olympics on UBC students (for instance Wesbrook Mall will be closed for several weeks before, during, and after the games). Hopefully the exec will continue to make a firm but respectful push to ensure that students can be made aware of changes they will need to make during the Olympics, and so that they can have some say in the impacts on their campus.

Johannes’ report created a mixed reaction from council, when he mentioned that UBC is one of the leading schools in the country in combating binge drinking.

Tom Dvorak (VP Finance) also presented a noteworthy update, mentioning that his office was looking to greatly boost the funding for the student iniatives fund. This is actually really noteworthy, and if well publicized could prove a very effective way to raise the profile of the AMS.

Tim Chu (VP External) gave a relatively straightforward update, mentioning that he has completed his hiring, while Crystal (VP Administration) is still pushing ahead with the new SUB Project.

There were 3 main motions being discussed. The first two passed very quickly. First, council agreed to provide some moderate raises to the Student Administrative Commision’s Vice Chair, Club Commisioner, and Art Gallery Commisioner.

Secondly, council approved a Memordadum of Understanding between the Engineering Undergraduate Society and the University that will allow the work to begin on the new Engineering social space that will replace the Cheeze.

Lastly, and perhaps most substantively, Council got around to appointing members to committees that were not filled at the previous meeting. A number of very worthwhile candidates were selected. Of particular note for Arts students is that Pelican Mann, the Meekison Arts Student Space Officer for the Arts Undergraduate Society was appointed to the Appointments Review Committee, where she will be working to establish a more objective basis for how much we pay our workers. Congratulations to her, as well as to everyone else who was appointed.

Next meeting we still have one more vacancy to appoint. There is one spot on the External Policy Committee, open for members at large (non-councillors). This committee is arguably the most political AMS committee, as it deals with AMS policies with regards to government outside of the university.

After the committee appointments were done, we briefly went in camera to discuss a sensitive issue, but since that portion of the meeting was in camera, I cannot write about it. Afterwards (at the relatively early time of 9:00 pm), the meeting adjourned.

Hopefully this update was of some interest. Since this is my first council update, I’m looking for feedback on how to improve. For instance, is my writing style too wordy? Does my writing assume a prior knowledge of the AMS on the part of the reader (hopefully not). Anyways let me know what can be done to improve this blog, and let all of your arts reps know what they can do in the future to continue to improve the AMS.

The Arts Caucus will be back soon with more updates.

Best regards,



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

AMS Committee Vacancies OMG, a liveblog!

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Patrick Meehan  |  June 17, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Awesome updates guys, keep em coming, you’ve got at least one attentive reader.

    It’s good to have this here, keeps me informed while I while away my time in Edmonton before coming back in 2010/2011.

  • 2. Rory Green  |  August 14, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    How are AUS meetings going?


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