The Alma Mater Society (AMS) is the body of student government at UBC, which means that they manage student clubs, run businesses, provide services like the Sexual Assault Support Centre and Safewalk, lobby the university and government for students, put on events like Block Party and generally represent and apply your interests on a broader stage.
Like any government, a lot of people have gripes about the AMS. Anytime you have a situation where a bunch of 20-somethings are responsible for millions of dollars of public money, there’s going to be controversy. And while embezzlement and fraud are usually not major issues here, it’s best to at least have a cursory understanding of what the AMS does.
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 (currently Alan Ehrenholz) 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.”
Vice Presidents are a group of students who all control different parts of the AMS. Ranging from VP Finance to VP Academic and Univeristy Affairs, the VPs are the ones who really decide what’s happening. AMS clubs are under the control of the VP Administration, while government lobbying is the VP External Affairs’ job. If you have a specific concern or idea, your best bet is to contact the VP in charge.
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.