Student Politics//

Midterm review: VP Admin Chris Hakim is optimistic despite many goals still in early stage

Halfway through the year, VP Administration Chris Hakim still has a lot of goals left to close — but he insists he’s on track to finish them by the time the term ends.

From clubs and constituencies to sustainability to mental health, Hakim came into the year with big hopes. He’s made slow and steady progress on most issues, but the majority remain in their preliminary stages.

“I think this has been the portfolio that’s been very exciting, being able to handle so many different operations of the AMS,” he said. “I think that has been some of the most fun for the position.”

Clubs and constituencies

One of the main promises of the VP Administration is fixing the room booking system for clubs and other groups in spaces like the Nest.

During his campaign, Hakim emphasized that he wanted to do more than a simple software fix.

He’s been working with the Operations Committee on updating the Nest’s booking policy, specifically on improving consistency in the room bookings and making more space available.

Since the opening of the Life Building, nine AMS groups have been able to move in, which has opened up space in the Nest that Hakim has been able to allocate for groups like the newly-formed Indigenous Committee.

But the extent of the concrete changes to the AMS’s actual booking policy is unclear.

Another part of Hakim’s “consistency and continuity” promise was to update the Operations Committee Policy Manual to give club executives more clarity in their dealings with the AMS.

“It’s currently being worked on by me, my staff and the Operations Committee,” said Hakim. “The goal is that we want to rewrite all the procedures and the guidelines that govern our clubs and the space in the Nest so that we can make things more open, clear and consistent.”

The manual is currently in a draft stage, and it hasn’t yet been sent out for consultation with the clubs.

Hakim points to close contact with the clubs and constituencies that has helped him generate conversations on what the AMS can do to change. Constituency relations is a vital aspect of the Administration portfolio, but it has been even more important this year after an AMS Constituency Relations report found that constituencies feel there wasn’t much benefit to working with the AMS.

“Chris has been great to work with and very accessible to Engineering,” EUS President Kate Burnham told The Ubyssey. “We have a strong relationship with Chris and he has made a great effort to support the EUS in areas we seek AMS involvement.”

Constituency relations has also been an important part of achieving Hakim’s sustainability goals, which included creating sustainability oversight with the sustainability subcommittee and keeping AMS spaces and outlets sustainable.

“We’re currently in the stage with most of the constituencies in providing them recommendations with for the strategies,” he said. “Helping them slowly building up the framework for what the document will look like.”

Hakim hopes to have the strategies passed in the second term.

Mental health

Mental health has taken a more visible role in the workings of Hakim’s portfolio this year.

While that normally falls under the VP Academic and University Affairs and VP External portfolios, one of Hakim’s talking points during the campaign was to increase psychological service coverage under the Studentcare plan.

But discussions between Hakim and other stakeholders about the feasibility of an increase are still in their preliminary stages, and he believes that concrete changes won’t be coming until the second semester. He also did not cite an exact figure for how much more should be covered beyond the current $300 worth of services.

“We want to help students get to a point where they feel they need to continue going to mental health services,” he said. He added that he’s looking to increase the dollar amount of the coverage to an amount where students would be able to think to themselves that psychology services are something they should continue pursuing.

“Of course, completion of the goals is the most important part,” said Hakim.

While there are signs of progress, the slow-moving nature of this portfolio and AMS governance means it won’t be clear what he has completed and how successful his tenure is until the end of his term.