Between the Motions: Phase one of AMS Foodbank expansion passes

AMS Council met last night to review sustainability priorities, vote on the AMS Food Bank expansion and discuss joining a new federal lobbying coalition.

Here's what you might've missed.

Round two

VP Admin Ian Caguiat re-presented his executive goals after they were deferred from approval at the last council meeting because of concerns about the goal's financial feasibility.

To cut costs, Caguiat removed the AMS CultureFest grant, event venue benefit, food support benefit and AMS sustainability week grant from his goals.

"After doing all of this budgeting, what I've learned is that financial feasibility is not the same as financial responsibility," said Caguiat.

The AMS Sustainability Priorities for the year were also passed. The priorities are meant to advance sustainability and climate action within AMS outreach. To advance the priorities, goals have been set out to host a bike-to-campus campaign, implement reusable food containers within the Nest and support student communities like Climate Justice UBC.

Lobby and expand

VP External Tina Tong presented why the AMS should join the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) observership program.

CASA is a federal lobbying coalition for students. The AMS is currently a member of Undergraduates of Canadian Research Intensive Universities (UCRU), which previous VP externals have either chaired or vice-chaired.

Tong said UCRU has no centralized banking system and lacks long-term impact because there is no permanent staff to aid with the constant turnover of student executives. CASA has both of these and has a long history of federal lobbying wins, such as implementing the Repayment Assistance Plan, said Tong.

However, Tong said the AMS is not becoming a full member of CASA because of its history of institutional problems and yearly fee of $63,582.

She said the observership "program will allow the AMS to become a part of CASA without actually joining and committing, where we can gather reports and information on their operations."

The program would cost $100 per conference attendee plus travel expenses.

Board of Governor member Eshana Bhangu said she did not see the benefit of joining the program since students already receive the benefits of CASA's advocacy whether or not the AMS is part of the coalition.

"I fully understand and appreciate the sentiment that joining as an observer doesn't cost that much money, but it feels like the road that leads down to is eventually joining a membership," said Bhangu.

Tong explained "the observership program is to let us test out the waters and just lay a foundation for our options in the future."

No vote was made on whether the AMS would join the program.

Phase one of the AMS Food Bank expansion was also passed, which includes expanding the space, adding a walk-in-fridge and removing the carpet. This phase is projected to cost $36,600.