YEA team showcases platform at ASUS Open Forum

The YEA team appeared at the ASUS Open Forum held on Facebook Live on January 26. Moderated by ASUS Governance Manager Kristen Sutherland, the team had the chance to answer a pre-determined set of questions and student questions submitted through the Google Form.

In its opening statement, the YEA team broke the pillars of its platform.

“Being a student encompasses so many different experiences that go beyond the classroom,” said Emma Farrell, nominee for Vice President (Corporate Affairs), ArtSci ’23. “In recognition of this, our team addresses these gaps and concerns in three overlapping areas: the student, the classroom, and the college experience.”

VP (Operations) candidate Aloka Wijesundara, ArtSci ’23, highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of the platform’s three pillars in the opening statement.

Student engagement

When asked how the team would engage third- and fourth-year students throughout their tenure, Wijesundara emphasized that professional development was a core part of their platform.

“We want to make sure that we are not only supporting students throughout their time at Queen’s, but also preparing them for success in the future after graduation,” she said.

Wijesundara said the team hopes to work with the Queen’s Student Alumni Association and the ASUS Alumni Director to continue involving students in events such as Life After ArtSci.

Farrell also highlighted the point of the team’s platform to improve financial transparency as another way YEA hopes to better engage the student body.

“Students have been paying fees since their initial arrival at Queen’s. We want to show them where those fees go, what ASUS resources they pay for, and what we can offer them.

Actionable platform elements

Hussein identified a lack of diverse goals in the Faculty of Arts and Science academia and presented the Curriculum Review Committee as an actionable platform piece that the team would seek to implement.

According to Hussein, the curriculum review committee would be chaired primarily by faculty, with positions for a few student voices on the panel to provide feedback on course curricula.

“There are a lot of curricula that are very outdated in both the arts and science departments, and that’s really affected how students interpret their school commitments,” Hussein said.

“This committee is a general idea that we hope to bring to teachers and see if there is room for it.”

Equity

Hussein said creating an environment for students of all races at ASUS is important to each of the three candidates.

“There are gaps where some students don’t feel included,” she said.

Hussein said the team hopes to foster a more equitable environment by preventing discrimination and creating safe spaces.

“Racialized students have multiplied needs, and through this we hope to build a culture of awareness and education that persists outside of ASUS,” she said.

Hussein also noted that the team will strive to provide safe spaces within ASUS for students with different identities to thrive on campus.

Restructured ASUS Executive

As the first team in years to run for a three-person executive at ASUS, Farrell said the addition of a new position “will usher in a new era of advocacy.”

“This person will allow their other two executives to lighten their overload and workload,” Farrell said.

Read more: ASUS restructures management

“The VSA [Vice President (Society Affairs)] role will aim to build the company’s infrastructure and improve volunteer experiences for ASUS’s more than 2,000 student volunteers.

Farrell noted the lack of precedent as an anticipated challenge for the team if elected. If elected, YEA will look to former executives before establishing a framework to integrate these functions into the new position.

“We really hope to use this role to increase engagement.”

Arts and science students can vote on February 1 and 2.