Candidate profile: Ben Du, VP administration

Ben Du is running for VP administration on a platform focused on helping clubs grow their membership and improving club executives’ orientations.

“The cornerstone of my platform for this year is something called the Clubs Growth and Expansion Benefits,” said the current associate VP administration.

Du intends the initiative to succeed the Clubs Recovery Benefit (CRB), a new three-part support plan created to assist AMS clubs financially and operationally. The target launch for Du’s initiative is September 2022.

“Initial plans include support for producing marketing and promotional content, holding higher quality events to attract productive club members and also financial assistance for large external event venues and facilities,” said Du.

Additionally, Du wants to improve club exec orientations by implementing best practices for sustainability, equity and inclusion in training. He added that the orientations would be asynchronous and formatted as a Canvas course, same as this year.

While Du hopes to carry what he called incumbent Lauren Benson’s “ability to connect with students” into his term, he said he felt “partial dissatisfaction” with the delayed rollout of the CRB and the first exhibition at the Hatch Art Gallery.

“The overarching lesson that I learned … is that effective planning, laying down the groundwork during the summer months …. is essential for a smooth rollout into the fall and winter months where we experienced the highest student engagement,” Du said.

Du — who is running in the only uncontested race this year — said his experience working with the portfolio would help him to solve the problems executives generally notice later in their terms if he’s elected.

Some examples of these “under the surface” issues include the logistics of table allocations for Clubs Days or seeing a pattern of Canvas-based login issues — things Du said people who don’t know the portfolio well might struggle to address.

On the Operations Committee’s upcoming review of UBC Sororities’ club status, Du thinks caution is the best way forward when discussing deconstitution.

“We have to be careful here because there is precedent in the past with the [Interfraternity Council] where it has resulted in a legal situation,” said Du. “I think it’s a very real concern that, say UBC Sororities were to be deconstituted, it would turn into legal situation as a result of their membership fees.”

Du said that if the review extends to his term, there would be an “extensive investigation” and the decision wouldn’t be “rushed.”

When asked about the proposed pause on the resource groups student fee collection, Du said the fund is accumulating faster than it’s being spent. He added that students want to benefit from the fund during their time at UBC.

“We have to revisit communicating with the resource groups how they can best use that fee,” said Du. “I think we have an incredible opportunity for resource groups to utilize their funds as well, especially as we come out of the pandemic.”

Du was formerly in a fraternity, but is no longer an active member.

Follow us at @UbysseyNews on Twitter and follow our election coverage starting February 28. This article is part of our 2022 AMS elections coverage.