Op-Ed: We give a damn about AMS elections, and you should too.

We know you don’t like the AMS.

In fact, in the AMS’s own 2020 Academic Experience Survey, only half of students rated the AMS as “good” or “excellent.”

This year, we can imagine how students might care even less. If you’re not living on campus, in Vancouver or even in Canada, if your mind is occupied with the burdens of the last year, the AMS might not even cross your mind.

But this year, more than most, you should give a damn.

Students have dealt with innumerable losses this year — our jobs, our campus experiences, our mental health. The UBC community will need to build back on a scale like never before.

We’ll all be figuring out how to go back to school safely, how to cope with the financial losses from the last year and how to reorient our mindset to a world without a pandemic.

This year, you’re voting for UBC’s path out of this mess.

The AMS — while it might not seem like it — plays a big role in that transition. The executives of the student society have direct contact with the big decision makers that will affect you, from university admin up to lawmakers on Parliament Hill.

Student politicians hold sway over some of the hot button topics students face. Not to mention, you fork over hundreds of dollars to them in fees annually.

This year, AMS execs will deal with issues many students care about. They’ll see discussions over the future of remote invigilation privacy until the UBC–Proctorio contract’s likely end. The AMS and the federal student lobby could make sure that undergrads aren’t left out of future recovery benefits. The Board of Governors representatives will get a seat at the table to set UBC’s budget as tuition fees climb ever higher.

All of these positions are important. Trust us, we’ve covered every single one of their meetings.

Read our coverage. Get informed. If there’s one thing we think we can do, it’s AMS elections coverage. We’re shaping up and have covered each candidate thoroughly, whether incumbent or newcomer, strengths and flaws alike.

It’s our full-time job to inform you, but it’s up to you to care.

Despite the challenges of life online, it’s made it easier to stay engaged in the election. It only takes a few moments from your day to vote.

We’ve been doing our best to hold the AMS accountable, from the VP external’s conflict of interest investigation to privacy issues with CampusBase to the lack of COVID-19 protocols at AMS events, but The Ubyssey can only do so much.

That’s why you need to vote — to tell your student government that yes, you’re watching.

Charlotte Alden and Andrew Ha are The Ubyssey’s news editors. Voting for AMS elections opens on March 1 and runs until March 5.