It is that time of year again, as students get back into the routine of school and start counting down the days until reading week!
In just over two weeks, the AMS will be hosting its annual winter elections and referendum to elect four very important positions in University governance; the AMS Executive (comprised of the President, Vice-President of Operations, and Vice-President of University Affairs) and the Undergraduate Student Trustee. Each of these positions provides a unique opportunity to engage with our community and work towards positive change at Queen’s.
The Alma Mater Society Executive runs as a slate of three team members and is expected to develop a platform of initiatives that they would like to implement should they be elected. The team is also expected to familiarize themselves with campus issues in preparation for the election debates. This presents a unique opportunity to research and promote campus matters such the return of Homecoming, the existence of fraternities and sororities and the AMS’ external alignment with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. Speaking from my experience, these full-time jobs are an incredible opportunity for involvement in AMS and University governance.
Secondly, students will elect the Undergraduate Student Trustee, a position that represents undergraduate students on the University’s Board of Trustees, which provides financial oversight for the University. The Undergraduate Student Trustee is one of three students on the Board and has the opportunity to represent students by participating on many of its committees, including the Campus Planning and Development Committee and the Planning Committee.
While the AMS Executive and Trustee positions are very different, they each provide a unique opportunity for involvement at Queen’s. The AMS Executive gains valuable experience in management, budgeting, leadership and strategic planning while the Trustee works closely with University administration to advocate for students at the Board level. These positions have an inherent responsibility to the students that elect them and as such they work diligently to positively shape the broader learning environment of Queen’s.
It is important to note that none of these opportunities require any experience and I hope that no students shy away from them because they do not feel prepared or qualified. The AMS has an incredible support structure that effectively transitions incoming teams so experience is not a prerequisite. If you are on the fence, go for it – you won’t regret it!
Queen’s is an incredible place, and the opportunities that this campus provides are one of a kind. If you choose to get involved, and commit yourself, the skills you will gain will last a lifetime. This year I have worked closely with many students throughout campus and the change I have seen in these individuals is remarkable. We have developed critical thinking skills, developed good judgment, negotiation skills, have learned to work under pressure and equally as important, we have learned how to work with different types of people. Often these skills are developed over time, but very infrequently are they offered so intertwined with one another as they are at the AMS.
I have spent many years involving myself in different aspects of student and University governance and I cannot overstate how rewarding the experience has been. I strongly encourage all students, regardless of previous work for student government, to get involved and educate themselves of the issues.
- Doug Johnson, AMS President & CEO (’12-13)