Midterm reviews: Where do AMS executives' goals stand?

Your AMS executives are halfway through their terms.

As candidates, they promised to improve the student experience on issues from affordability to community building. The Ubyssey spoke to all five about what progress they have made on their goals and what they intend to accomplish through the rest of the academic year.

These aren’t report cards, and we know not all executives’ progress can be easily quantified. Rather, we want to give you an analysis of where the execs stand on promises made when you elected them and goals presented at AMS Council in June.

Because of the unexpected by-election this fall, we’ll also be reviewing progress within the VP finance portfolio as a whole rather than an individual executive.

Here are the summaries of how each executive has done so far. Click on each executive's name to read their full midterm review.

President: Eshana Bhangu

Bhangu has had a busy year balancing being AMS president and serving as interim VP finance from July to September, but she said her core priorities have not shifted. She has advocated for sustained food security funding with VP Academic and University Affairs Dana Turdy. She has seen success in meeting quorum for the AMS’s Annual General Meeting — only the third time in the past 40 years. But, under her watch, AMS/GSS mental health coverage decreased from $1,500 to $1,000, although it was raised to $1,250 following widespread student complaints. Due to her heavy workload as president and interim VP finance over the summer, she has also faltered in some of the bureaucratic aspects of the AMS, such as finalizing the AMS Strategic Plan.

VP finance: Rita Jin, Eshana Bhangu and Lawrence Liu

So far this year, the AMS has seen three different students serving as VP finance — former VP Finance Rita Jin, President Eshana Bhangu as interim and current VP Finance Lawrence Liu — as the AMS faces a projected $1.25 million deficit. Former VP Finance Rita Jin was working on changing the AMS’s credit card policy and expanding club subsidy access before she resigned in July. As interim VP finance from July to September, AMS President Eshana Bhangu worked on several things, including creating a set of Indigenous finance guidelines and exploring ways to improve AMS businesses’ performance. And, in his first month in office, current VP Finance Lawrence Liu has been working on the transition to a new financial system, and plans to talk with AMS businesses in order to address the deficit. But the departure of the AMS’s managing director — who works closely with the VP finance and oversees the student society’s businesses and financial and administrative affairs — could also pose another challenge to this portfolio.

VP academic and university affairs: Dana Turdy

Dana Turdy ran for VP Academic and University Affairs (AUA) on a platform of affordability, health and wellness and student engagement. Turdy’s been making progress on her promises — the AMS secured $500,000 in funding for food security and pushed to get substance testing on campus. The VP AUA office has also been working to get students engaged in UBC’s decision making processes, particularly Campus Vision 2050. One promise she has not been able to fulfill so far is establishing a permanent clinic for substance testing on campus. Next term, Turdy’s focus will be working with UBC through its budget cycle and pushing the university to implement the recommendations from UBC’s Student Accessibility Task Force.

VP administration: Ben Du

Halfway into his term, VP Administration Ben Du has focused heavily on community building. He oversaw the AMS’s rebranded Clubs Fair, which saw 232 clubs booths across 3 days. Du has also reopened the Commons space on the lower level of the Nest as a club events and study space geared towards commuter students. Going forward, Du is looking to streamline club communication and the student club experience with a revamp of CampusBase, expected to roll out in January 2023. Du has many plans for the rest of his term, although the timelines might not be feasible with the time he has left.

VP external: Erin Co

VP External Erin Co has spent her term advocating for financial aid, student wellness and transit expansion. She, along with student unions across the country, have successfully lobbied for the permanent removal of student loan interest and a new summer U-Pass program for students not taking classes. Co is also working with the provincial government to revise its sexual violence and misconduct policy. However, she is still chipping away at long-standing issues like securing funding for the UBC SkyTrain expansion. She is also working on increasing harm reduction support from the provincial government.