Candidate profile: Lucia Liang, VP Finance

Lucia Liang wants to leverage the experience she’s gained in the past year as AMS VP Finance to reduce the financial burden on students and make financial systems more efficient.

While her vision for “sustainability, affordability and transparency” remains constant, her platform for re-election has evolved to showcase more tangible steps: automating the orientation of treasurers, creating a new position for a permanent financial analyst and switching to a new ticketing platform.

“That comes with experience and being able to identify specifically what needs to be done,” Liang said.

In the past year, she said she planted seeds that she hopes will grow in her second term to become “a big tree that people can harvest from and … sit under to get shade.”

“I want [all the] work I deliver to be the best that it can be,” she said.

“It’s extremely important for me to finish what I’ve started and to ground it so that it is benefiting the students long-term.”

It’s clear that Liang has benefitted from a year of experience. Her platform is more specific than when she first ran for election last year and her goals reflect a much deeper understanding of the role.

In her interview and debates, she has criticized the unnecessarily complicated and manual nature of different processes, saying that they negatively affect both students and her staff. In particular, she opened the Great Debate by taking responsibility for the “outdated” and “obsolete” financial systems at the AMS.

To improve these systems, Liang wants to integrate and automate the AMS’s financial systems to make them less reliant on manual input, which usually creates more room for error. For example, after a ticketed event, a club’s money from Showpass could be accidentally deposited into a different club’s account.

“I believe this push towards modernization and digitization will benefit both staff and students in the long term, as reimbursements and student financial aid will be optimized for our future,” said Liang.

Hiring a financial analyst as a permanent staff member is another of her main goals.

“Because of the high turnover rate, [projects don’t] get set up properly and a lot of work is either reversed or redundant,” said Liang. “Having that position there will ensure every single project that comes in is an enhancement of the ones before.”

The introduction of a new ticketing service, another priority, is familiar.

Last year, Liang also wanted to move away from Showpass, whose “high service fee is reflected in the cost of tickets purchased by students.” But the AMS’s contract with the company doesn’t end until this year.

As an incumbent running in an uncontested race, Liang is conscious of the fact that it would be easy for her to slack off. She said she’s doing her best to remain on her toes while doing her work as VP finance.

“I don’t ever want the student to ever feel like, ‘Oh this girl is gonna win again, she’s not putting in the effort,’” she said. “ I don't think that's who I am as a person and I would always work my best.”