Your AMS

They do a lot of things

The Alma Mater Society (AMS) is the body of student government at UBC.

Officially, their mission is “to improve the quality of the educational, social, and personal lives of the students of UBC.” Unofficially, it’s more like resumé-padding, but they're heavily involved in what happens on campus so it’s definitely worth it to know what they do.

The AMS is responsible for running student clubs, running businesses like Pie R Squared and the Pit, providing services like the Sexual Assault Support Centre and Safewalk, lobbying the university and government for students, holding events like Block Party and generally representing and applying your interests on a broader stage.

Also, you’re part of the AMS. If you’re a tuition-paying UBC student, you’re in the club. Congratulations. When people talk about “the AMS,” though, they usually mean Council or the Executives, so let’s define those terms.

Council is the decision-making body of the AMS. It’s made up of the Executive committee, representatives from constituent societies like the AUS, SUS, etc., as well as regular ol’ students. They vote on motions, approve the budget and appoint people to committees — stuff like that.

The President (Ava Nasiri) is everything and nothing. As far as official duties go, they’re responsible for speaking on behalf of the AMS, and not much else. Depending on who’s elected, though, they can do anything from filling their plate with great projects, to advocating on behalf of students, to sitting back and coasting on a platform of “improving student engagement.”

The VP Finance (Louis Reteif) tries to make sure the AMS doesn’t slide into crushing debt every year by working with their food service outlets, student clubs and the administration. They’re responsible for creating an annual budget to guide everyone else.

The VP Academic and University Affairs (Samantha So) is primarily responsible for lobbying the UBC administration for student interests — though now that we have a president who responds so quickly on Twitter, their job might be in danger. They’re essentially a megaphone for students’ voices when- ever folks get upset about tuition, safety and everything else.

The VP External Affairs (Kathleen Simpson) takes care of affairs that are... external. They lobby the provincial and federal governments for stuff like helping with student debt and transit issues. They help make sure we don’t lose the U-Pass and they’re constantly on Christy Clark’s case about a Broadway subway line.

The VP Administration (Chris Scott) is widely acknowledged as the hardest job in the AMS. They’re responsible for the AMS’ student organizations, clubs, room bookings, etc. — which doesn’t sound particularly difficult until you consider that everything that is not the explicit responsibility of someone else falls on their plate (e.g. the construction and opening of the entire Nest).

There. Now you know more about the people representing you than 95 per cent of students at UBC. If you want to be even more informed, read the handbook they distribute to Council members at ams.ubc.ca/leadership/council or get to know the real ins and outs by writing for us! Sign up at ubyssey.ca/volunteer.

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