The AMS is your student union. The executives advocate on behalf of students to UBC and all levels of government, but perhaps more importantly, they provide a range of services to UBC students that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Here’s a rundown of what the AMS really does — and why you should care.
Students elect five executives to run the AMS every spring. President Eshana Bhangu oversees everything and tends to be the society’s spokesperson. Vice-President Academic and University Affairs Dana Turdy advocates to the university on behalf of students. Vice-President External Affairs Erin Co advocates to federal, provincial and municipal governments on behalf of students. Vice-President Administration Ben Du runs the Nest and deals with all things clubs. Finally, the vice-president finance — a currently vacant position, but held on an interim basis by Bhangu — manages the student union’s budget and finances (be sure to vote in the fall by-election). The execs are overseen by a board of directors called AMS Council, made up of other elected student representatives.
The executives (sometimes) get results for students. In recent years, the execs have upped health coverage for mental health services, successfully advocated for stricter mask and vaccine mandates on campus and expanded student access to drug testing.
On the non-political side of the AMS, the student union administers a health plan that all students are automatically opted into. Even if you don’t care about student politics, the AMS’s services will likely improve your life at UBC.
The AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan provides dental care, vision care, mental health coverage and more, supplementing the province’s Medical Services Plan. Head to page 71 of this guide for more info on this.
The student union also offers seven services — Peer Support, Safewalk, Tutoring, Advocacy, eHub, the Food Bank and Housing — that are all free to access and can provide students anything from free groceries to mental health support.
The AMS also runs the Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC). SASC provides free support to survivors and their loved ones and can help with academic concessions and filing reports. It also runs educational workshops on healthy masculinity and more.
Why you should vote
You pay a $45 annual membership fee and $468 in total AMS fees, so these execs are directly using student money to carry out their agenda. That’s why it’s essential you vote in AMS elections. Every year, all five executive positions are up for grabs, so be on the lookout for the election season in the spring, and make sure you find time to cast a vote for the candidates you feel would best represent you.