Candidate profile: Andy Wu, VP External

Andy Wu, a fourth-year arts student, is running for AMS VP External with plans to “take the AMS towards another direction.”

This direction is one that is less focused on services, but rather adopts “a more politically activist stance” when it comes to external advocacy.

“I have a vision,” said Wu, who has served on three AMS committees and served as arts councillor for the past two years. “... And I’m coming in with a plan.”

Wu’s platform includes eight major policy points revolving around affordability, climate change, mental health services, housing security, transit, as well as Indigenous and international student advocacy.

According to Wu, he would advocate for these issues by increasing AMS presence on the provincial stage and registering the AMS as a third-party political advertising group at Elections BC and commit up to $100,000 to “issues-based non-partisan political advertising.” But the AMS is already registered as an advertising group with Elections BC as of early February.

When asked by The Ubyssey, Wu admitted this was news to him.

While he admits that several of his goals are ambitious, he is confident that he can leverage the 2021 provincial election to push for further engagement with the current government on key issues like climate action, affordability and transit.

One of the biggest challenges Wu anticipates in implementing his platform promises is related to the expansion of AMS and GSS mental health coverage through securing additional provincial government funding. His plan is to advocate for the federal government to institute national universal pharmacare — as was promised during the 2019 elections — which would offset the cost of increased mental health coverage.

Wu admitted that this would be challenging because AMS healthcare technically falls under the VP Finance portfolio. His plan is thus contingent on internal coordination between AMS executives.

For his transit goals, Wu has pledged to continue existing lobbying efforts to secure the Skytrain to UBC. In the VP External candidate debate on February 25, Wu stated that if elected to the position, he would work to make ridesharing and bus services more efficient, consulting students throughout.

Wu added that he intends on expanding the AMS’s current stance on climate action by establishing an external policy for AMS climate advocacy.

This policy would clarify the AMS stance on climate issues — such as on massive energy projects and pipeline disputes — which he believes has not been made clear in previous years.

“[This policy] would also hold the next VP Externals accountable to that policy,” he said. “So that we have consistent climate advocacy for many years to come.”

Of all his goals, Wu admits that his loftiest one relates to affordability and tuition. Wu’s platform advocates for full tuition elimination for postsecondary education in BC.

“I think there are ways that we can take the first step to getting there,” he said. “Not necessarily within one year, but over the course of many years.”

His platform thus proposes advocating for tuition elimination for all students who lie below the low-income cutoff in BC, as a first step to achieving tuition elimination.

“And then we will see where we go from there.”