Another year rolls around, another set of AMS Elections. We at the Talon aim to ask hard-hitting critical questions, and in that spirit, we invited all candidates in the election to answer a set of questions that we hope will help our readers in casting their ballot. Over the next few days we will be publishing the responses for all positions. In this article are the responses for candidates for VP Finance.
Vote here from February 29th to March 4th.
Louis Retief is the only candidate for VP Finance.
- Why are you running for your position?
I have a passion for change and innovation. I started working at the AMS in April 2015 as the Associate Vice-President of Finance, when I came into the position I instantly saw opportunities for change and innovation with all aspects of the AVP Finance portfolio. I become obsessed and still am with making drastic improvement with the AMS business processes. I personally believe I have the experience and passion to continue making changes to the VP Finance Portfolio to further grow the student society.
- What are the main goals you wish to accomplish during your term?
The VP Finance Portfolio encompasses a large variety of duties. Firstly I plan to empower student through professional development programs. These programs will increase financial literacy and offer leadership training. Furthermore I want to implement additional finance-tech initiatives like Square, and pre-paid Credit cards to improve efficiency of financial management. Secondly I plan to do a review of all AMS business finances to work towards our four pillars of business performance, social sustainability, employee development, and environmental sustainability in order to increase society revenue streams to increase social programming. In addition a re-evaluation of current fee structure to ensure a better allocation of student fees. The current fees structure allows for little flexibility in allocation of fees. I will do a full financial review to determine a long-term structural change to increase flexibility and autonomy. Thirdly I plan to review the current use of student services in order to allocate funds to best meet demand and student’s needs, and increase the development of popular services. Furthermore develop a central hub at the AMS for sustainability projects and opportunities on campus to increase student awareness and community engagement. In addition implement a data collection system to track social impact of all the different sustainability projects in the community.
- How will you strive to consult with and represent the diversity of voices that make up the student body?
I believe the answer is professional development for all students. Currently a lot of student do not voice their opinions because they currently are uneducated in what the AMS does and how council works. I believe by educating more students on campus and especially the leaders on campus who are executives in Club and Constituencies will improve the communication to our counsellors to better represent the entire student body.
- How will you strive in your position to improve the lives of UBC’s most marginalized students?
Once again student professional development will engage these individuals to get involved. If the AMS offered workshops on financial literacy, personal development, career development, and leadership training we will be able to engage a large student audience and develop these students to be successful.
- How does your platform engage with anti-oppressive frameworks?
My platform focuses heavily on engages all students through professional development to increase leadership and financial literacy training for all. In addition my platform focuses on increase business revenue streams to increase social program like our student service and resource groups.
- What is your position on the referendum question on referendums?
The Support the spirit of referendum which is to allow referendums question to be unbiased and help student make better informed decisions.
- How will you work with the on- and/or off- campus indigenous communities to make campus a better place?
I do not have prior experience working with indigenous communities. I will consult various groups of campus like the Ch’nook program at Sauder to find out how I will be able to help these groups on and off campus.
- With what philosophy should the AMS run businesses?
I believe our current philosophy for business using the four pillars of Business Performance, Environmentally Sustainability, Employee Development, and Socially Sustainability are great pillars, but I think our current philosophy is lacking in student opinion and voice. Currently the business are run mainly by the full time staff and I think students should have a stronger voice on how businesses are operated. Now that the President and VP Finance have a vote on ABBA I believe this problem will be solved as for they will represent the students on business operations.
- How will you solve the current deficit situation of the AMS businesses?
There is two ways I will solve the current deficit. Firstly review the finances of all AMS businesses in order to maximize revenue streams. This will be done by improving customer service, marketing, and food variety, as well as working closely with management and ABBA to create performance based, sustainable and student friendly businesses. I have a passion for change and innovation I believe with me as VP Finance I will help lead the change our business need to increase revenues to put money back into student programming. Secondly Re-evaluate the current student fees structure to ensure the best allocation of student funds. The AMS needs to implement a long-term strategic plan for student fees to ensure fees are allocated to best benefit students through community engagement, and programming.
- Do you believe the AMS should pay all employees a living wage? Why or why not?
A living wage in Vancouver is $20.68 an hour. It would be completely impossible for the society to pay all of its employees $20.68 an hour. The current wage at the AMS is low but it allows employees to have extremely flexible hours, in order to still focus on their studies while working. Furthermore I believe that students should not want to work at their Student Society for the money, I believe students are given the opportunity to make changes, to innovate, and to learn and grow. Due to these benefits of workings at AMS I do not think students should be paid a living wage because the opportunity of personal development is where the true value of the AMS lies.