Candidate profile: Alex Okrainetz, VP Administration

Alex Okrainetz hopes to increase transparency, foster community and use her involvement with sustainability initiatives to bring it to the forefront of the VP Administration portfolio.

The fifth-year anthropology student and Common Energy assistant director originally became interested in running for VP Administration when she ran into barriers trying to initiate a student sustainability project to reduce the amount of single-use plastic utensils in the Nest.

“I had to go through so many levels, and we were understanding more and more about the process … and one of them said you should run for this position … and, I was like, ‘That’s ridiculous,’” she said.

“Then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe it was something that was within my capacity and that it would be a really great way to implement some of those things, like something as small as single-use cutlery.”

One of Okrainetz’s top priorities is to increase transparency in the AMS, such as by utilizing social media channels to invite students to come to AMS Council so they can understand the process.

She said she was surprised when during the February 6 council meeting, councillors motioned to go closed meeting to discuss the omnibus referendum.

“Everybody just stood up and basically filed out of the room ... I was really surprised,” she said.

“And I learned a lot in that situation, but I think that when we are making important decisions like that, it’s just interesting to me that like students don't know about the processes of Council.”

Okrainetz also wants to amplify sustainability initiatives in the Nest.

Some of her goals include taking inventory on single-use plastics, offering more vegetarian and vegan food options, supporting student-led initiatives and moving the AMS Sustainability staff up to the AMS offices so they can better collaborate on projects.

“I feel like we really need to design sustainability into this space,” she said.

“I think there [are] just a lot of opportunities there and they wouldn’t be really complicated processes. I think that they would be well received by students.”

At the same time, she hopes to foster better communication between clubs and the VP Administration. She also advocates for reworking the bookings system, but is hesitant on a complete overhaul — instead she proposes a “slow and calculated response.”

Community-building is another one of Okrainetz’s biggest platform points. In particular, she wants to reach out and engage in meaningful consultation with marginalized communities, especially Indigenous communities.

“I just think that, in general, it’s the job of people on Council to not to speak for people who are marginalized, she said, “but to amplify their voices and make space and invite them into spaces where they might not be and consult them early on.”

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