Election Drama Ain’t Over

The UBC AMS election has come and gone and it’s a big congratulations to Johannes Rebane (Yay), Tim Chu, Crystal Hon, Tom Dvorak, Bijan Ahmadian, Michael Duncan and the Student Legal Fund Society and Voter-funded Media winners.

Now you may be wondering why Blake Frederick, the new President-elect who won by 43 votes, is not included in my congrats list. Turns out, HE HAS BEEN DISQUALIFIED (sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) by the Elections Committee for “slating”.

So what happens now UBC? Are we left without a president? Well Blake has a 48 hours or so to appeal the decision and take the case to the Student Court where an appointed Justice will hear from both parties’ and their representatives. To quote RadicalBeer, “The burden of proof is now on Blake to demonstrate that there were errors in the judgment. This is notable as the candidate must do more than create a reasonable doubt, but explain why the actions of the [Elections Committee] were in error.” Oh hearings and pseudo legal systems, how I love thee.

On a side note, my election predictions on the VP/President positions were 80% correct, yay. Crystal Hon surprised everyone with an awesome campaign and beat the get-Tristan-Markle-reelected groupies.

It’s currently 4 in the morning (don’t ask why I’m up heh…) so I can’t be bothered to absorb the election code… but if Blake gets thrown out is there a chance that runner-up Alex Monegro would become president? If so, then EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of International Business Club’s endorsees would have been voted into office. Either someone is good at calling the shots or we’ve got one hell of a new source of political influence on campus (the answer, fyi, is both). Next year’s candidates take note. No wonder the non-endorsees were complaining.

P.S. – Gateman’s “date night” (translation: econ midterm) was a massacre. I don’t think this relationship is working out…

P.P.S. – I was registering for an orientation interview today and the lady who checked my name paused and said, “Phoebe Yu… of UBC blog fame?” Thank you for making my day.

UBC AMS Election for the Clueless

Note: this post is backdated from Jan 20, hence date references are a bit blurred. Wait til I track down the person who sneezed in my face and gave me a fever… *sputter*

Who better to write an entry on the AMS Election than some mere first-year who was not aware that an election was going on until a few days ago? According to the latest survey of made-up data, 1/3 of you didn’t know the AMS had elections (if not for those Facebook group invites!), 1/3 of you is more interested in how pigeons get into the SUB than how your peers get voted into office, 1/3 of you will vote when forced then arbitrarily pick a candidate based on some funny-sounding foreign last name, and 1/3 of you can’t do math.

What is it? The Alma Mater Society of UBC (basically university student council) holds an election every at around this time to determine who holds those impressive-sounding titles, who gets to control the millions of dollars in the university fund, and who will bring about “change” in the upcoming year.

When is it? Campaigning officially started last Friday (Jan 16), hence the onslaught of Mr.Clean look-a-like posters on campus. If you missed out on the nomination process then… tough luck, maybe next year! Voting starts on Jan 29 and ends on Feb 4.

Now the candidates. With the power of social networking, a lot of the campaigns went on the internet. Candidates, I tried to pick the most flattering picture of you and avoided those that looked like they were taken in a sketchy ghetto =D

Presidential Candidates

… will the gentlemen please take the stage!

Blake Frederick “Bachelor” #1 Blake Frederick

Background: 4th year philosophy, AVP academic, student senator
Best known as: one of the voices behind UBC Insiders
Platform: lower tuition thru BC government, better housing, save the farm, more buses, fund raise for new SUB, reduce athletics fee
Thoughts: definitely a comprehensive platform (by God, do you know how long it took me to read all of it?!) I like the idea of turning towards the BC government for credible improvement of campus resources; it shows this candidate has both short-term plans and long-term visions. I would vote for Blake Frederick AMS President for his clearly articulated and relevant blog entries. A blogger *cough* can do no wrong (most of the time)!
Links: Facebook Group | Website

Paul Korczyk “Bachelor” #2 Paul Korczyk

Background: 6th year student, residence advisor for Vanier, residence coordinator
Best known as: “That Polish Guy” aka President of the Polish Club
Platform: open communication, open communication, open communication (oh and better housing, bring back AUS County fair, oppose move to NCAA, green space in new SUB)
Thoughts: a bit vague in contrast to Blake’s platform. It’s very student-based however, but I see no efforts to reach out to the government and external sources for change, funding, and support. I would vote for Paul Korczyk for AMS President because the AMS really needs some new blood. For those of you who sat in British Columbia Youth Parliament with me saw first hand the deterioration that can happen to an organization if the governing portion becomes too exclusive and fails to delegate leadership to the newbies.
Links: Facebook Group | Website | Twitter

Alex Monegro “Bachelor” #3 Alexander Monegro

Background: 4th year commerce, arts transfer, VP external for CUS
Best known as: the guy from the Dominican Republic (wow we have such a regional diversity for the race!)
Platform: Create book exchanges, increase student say in prof tenure, strengthen UBC services thru stricter hiring/internal evaluation/campus wide promotion, maintain Upass, maintain tuition hike a fixed percentage
Thoughts: Finally, someone who was born in the real world and realizes that shouting to the government/the board to drastically slash tuition or take tuition away altogether is utterly ridiculous. Taking away tuition charges from a public institution that is so meagerly funded by the government such as UBC is like… hmm… TAKING AWAY MAGIC FROM HOGWARTS (Phoebe apologizes, she hasn’t had a HP reference in a while). Moving on.¬† I would vote for Alex Monegro for AMS President because he was very active in AMS Council meetings (anyone else just spent his/her Sunday morning reading AMS minutes?!) making motions and voicing his opinion, and of course, because I have a strong commerce bias ūüėČ
Links: Facebook Group | Website

VP Academic and University Affairs Candidates

… Arguably the fiercest bunch. I will focus mainly on the VP Academic portion of their platforms.

David Nogas David Nogas

Background: 4th year science, no positions listed (don’t make me dig for your titles… well unless they’re the cool sketchy ones like … you know)
Platform: talk about public transit, bring back water, work with campus housing to emulate other univ’s plans (I’m quoting here!!), no dough to CASA, new gym, coordinate advertising in SUB to make it prettier, encourage Blue Chip to give $0.25 worth more of chocolates on their chocolate covered doughnuts in exchange for students bringing their own coffee mug (… can someone pinch me please?)
Thoughts: David seems like a nice guy. Maybe he needs a campaign team to help him out or an older AMS-veteran as a mentor otherwise he’s going to get trampled once and if he gets inside the AMS. His previous platform (which was still up on Fb a few days ago before I was hit by the fever of the century) actually included two academic-related suggestions: a used-book store and an “everything lecture”. Maybe he’s scrapped them? I would vote for David Nogas for VP Academic because at least he’s not Jeremy Wood.
Links: Facebook Group

Sonia Purewal Sonia Purewal

Background: 4th year computer science and biology, no positions listed
Platform: review course fail policy, review tutorial curriculum, shift less difficult courses to the morning and harder ones to later in the day, optimize timetables to have days with no classes, set up conglomerate university services website (I like, I volunteer XD), implement an Academic Grievances Database
Thoughts: Sonia was a bit late getting someone to set up her Facebook Group. I believe it went up just under 48 hours ago. I would vote for Sonia because she is determined to cater towards commuter students, who believe it or not, make up a HUGE portion of the campus population (just look at the 480 bus line, ugh).
Links: Facebook Group | Website

Johannes Rebane Johannes Rebane

Background: 2nd year finance and international relations, VP Academic for CUS, exec for International Business Club
Platform: Allocate more funding to TA training, introduce, freshman seminar classes (see Berkeley), create more dual degree options, hire career counselors, pass Pass/D/Fail Policy in Senate, bring academic focus to Farm, set up conglomerate website with all career resources (i like v. much), increase student and leadership advising
Thoughts: Okay, this is what an actual VP Academic should sound like. I helped out with a campus interview a few weeks ago in which I asked students at different parts of campus, “What career resources do you know about on campus?” On one hand we had the Sauder students gushing about the wonder that is the Business Career Centre and on the other hand, over 90% of science students gave responses such as 1) “What career services?!” and 2) “I’ve never gone to see a career adviser”. The lack of a career resources at UBC is a HUGE, APPALLING issue, more so than *gasp* the Farm, because believe it or not, one day you’re going to graduate and step out into the real world with a degree in hand but no idea what to do because your VP Academic, your AMS, your University never thought about students’ long-term needs. Career resources are a huge part of Johannes’ platform; other candidates barely touched the issue. As for the freshman seminars, my friends from Berkeley and other US Schools have been telling me that they’re a God-send. FS’s discussion-based and engaging, definitely a non-daunting way to start off the school year. I would vote (and campaign) for Johannes Rebane for VP Academic because he has the abilities to do what he says, a comprehensive academic platform, and one hell of a kickass website. And oh, because I want a course in my timetable called Rhetorics 24 – Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular “Logic” on TV Judge Shows.
Links: Facebook Group | Website

Jeremy Wood Jeremy Wood

Background: 4th year History, no positions listed
Platform: extend exam hardship to 36 hour period, open pass/fail option, expand funding to smaller academic departments, fight for the farm and oppose market housing there, more need-based scholarships, more social spaces etc.
Thoughts: After hearing the Monday Debate, I gave Jeremy “Best Speaker” award in the VP Academic race. I have to keep telling myself that Jeremy is not a joke candidate. In the last 24 hours, especially, I lost all respect for him. For those who missed it, Jeremy pulled out of the race for a few hours – first reported by UBC Insiders then confirmed by my source – to endorse Sonia Purewal and “bring Johannes down”. Scared much? So this candidate finally realized that his platform has neither depth nor substance and decided to withdraw from the race to be VP Academic. Great. The sun continues to shine and Phoebe continues her love affair with Halls and Chinese herbal medicines. Lo and behold, this morning I find out that it’s FALSE ALARM, Jeremy’s back in! To quote the lovely UBC Insiders (yea yea I’m glued to that site), “I’m not quite sure yet how I feel about a candidate who feels like he lost sight of the issues, only to regain focus when others supported him.”
Links: Facebook Group | Website

So that took a week longer than I thought to type up. I’ll do the VP External, VP Admin, VP Finance, and Board of Governors blurbs another time, or never. Coming up next, a definitive list of all worthy UBC media covering the election =P

[Lovely Photo Credits]

KPMG Crack the Case Competition

One of my goals this year was to step out of my comfort zone and participate in things people wait a few years in university before doing. Last weekend, KPMG and the Case Competition Club hosted a competition¬†for first year’s and second year’s. My team (three first-year’s) got to KPMG’s downtown office¬†tower¬†bright and early on Saturday morning. We had some breakfast and got a tour of their humongous multi-floored office.¬†¬†After we were given a conference room with an awesomely huge whiteboard that covered an entire wall, we started on the “cracking” the case.

Basically we had three hours to plow through, in this case, a 15-page long case on a company, identify the major problems it faces (such as corporate culture, organizational structure, global expansion, demographic shifts etc. etc.), come up with solutions/implementations/risks, and create a powerpoint presentation. Then we had to do a 15 minute presentation to KPMG judges as well as endure an intense Q&A period.

You’re probably thinking at this point, what the heck, people do this for FUN?! Shush, we’re commerce-majors, we powerpoint and party like there’s no tomorrow.

Before I even get to the presentation, I have to say that the prep part¬†was absolutely NERVESWRECKING.¬†Three hours may seem like a lot of time, but 1/3 of that was just reading the case. It didn’t help that the¬†case was about an¬†international wine distributor, which was a completely foreign topic to us underage kids XD. Don’t get me started on oddity that is wine names (Banrock Station and Kelly’s Revenge anyone? Yep they’re wine brands)! However, it is rather amazing how efficient we were working under stress. We soon had filled up the entire 2m x 4m white board with diagrams, flowcharts, maps, and mock ppt slides. It then¬†occured to us in our self-congratulatory euphoria that we had about 30 minutes to synthesize everything that was on the board into a professional-looking presentation and come up with intelligent-sounding things to say. Somewhere along the way we lost track of time and was reminded that there was OMG 5 MINUTES LEFT when we thought we had at least fifteen.

I was responsible for the powerpoint. Wow, I have never finished one so fast in our life.

The presentation room is set up like a classroom – a projector screen at the front with a table, some walking room, and a few rows of tables facing forward. We walked in in our business suits, shook hands with the four judges, and cued up the powerpoint.

The good

  • The group member in charge of the introduction wrote it out and memorized it, making us seem very relaxed and confident at the beginning =D
  • No PPT crashes, font was legible, template was a nice blue
  • Everyone generally knew what they were talking about
  • Perfect for the time limit

The bad

  • I said a lot of “um….”s which I wasn’t even aware of; now I am haha
  • The PPT seemed really bare
  • Our solutions may have been too drastic for the company’s liking
  • Didn’t have a chance to answer one of the judge’s questions – time was up, maybe this should go under Good?

The ugly (hey Im honest!)

  • Total dead air at one point because of the extensive amount of abbreviations/short hands on the PPT resulted in lack of comprehensibility

Congratulations to Uvini and al. who won, and two year 1s who got honourable mention! We had lunch after the presentation (gotta love competition food!) and mingled a little with the judges. Was the almost-reaching-stress-breaking-point worth it? Only time will tell =D In the mean time, Crack the Case was just a little taste of the business world to come.

Campus Events Forecast #2

First things first dear readers. I have a favour to ask that will take exactly one minute of your time. I’ve joined the UBC Votermedia Blog Awards with this blog under a new name – UBC Years (a continuation of IB Years I guess haha).¬†You can show your love for this blog (you know it =P) by voting for me. The instructions are explained on the site, here’s a simplified version.

  1. Any UBC student can vote, sign in to CWL and¬†enroll for the VoterMedia “course”¬†on Vista¬†
  2. Click Begin Assessment, then pick how $200 should be distributed among the participants (if you really looooove UBC Years, then put 200/0/0/0/0 etc. or 150/10/10/10 etc. It doesn’t have to total $200)
  3. Click submit! Repeat in a week =D

Thank you!

Thank-a-thon [Facebook link]

Description in ten words or less: call sponsors/donors, thank them, make a difference!

My two cents: for one reason or another, volunteer often gets pushed to second (or third) place after high school. After all, why bothere when there are¬†no more graduation requirements and no university supplemental essays to fill?! I think the whole deal with volunteer hours in HS¬†defeats the whole purpose of “volunteering”! Why is it called volunteer if you’re forced to do it? Thank-a-thon is just one of several volunteer outings that CCP is organizing this year. Show that you really care by coming out =D

Food: light refreshment

Other info: November 13th and November 24th, 5:15-8:30 PM, Covenant House at 575 Drake Street, email volunteer.ccp@gmail.com to get on the list

10 Things to Do for a Networking Event

The title should actually be “10 Things to Do Before, At, and After a Networking Event” but that’s way too many prepositions for today.

Last week I attended International Business Club’s World Cities Night (WCN)¬†event. It’s essentially a networking dinner with a focus on business professionals who have had experience working abroad.¬† The dinner ran from¬†6 – 9 PM¬†but due to my somewhat insane schedule, I showed up at 7:30, regrettably missing the three keynote speakers and much of dinner.


1. Find out the dress code. Confirm the dress code. Link Google pictures in regards to the dress code to make up for the low channel richness in email communication (start counting how many OB terms I throw out there today haha). There’s nothing worse than showing up in jeans and a tee-shirt when everyone else is in evening gowns (not the case at WCN but you get my point). Of course, you’ll always have a handful of people in suits when the dress code clearly calls for “business casual” *cough JohnnyandJason *cough*, though overdressing is better than the alternative I suppose. I wore a short-sleeve black striped blazer over a cami, black suit skirt w/ subtle florals, and black pumps.

2. Print those business cards! When a few second and third year Sauder students asked me whether I wanted to order business cards, I responded “Why?!” in bewilderment. I had no one to give them to. And frankly as much as my parents love me, they’re more appreciative of the colour of autumn leaves than the fact that I’m a marketing coordinator or a first year rep. However, when a lawyer with whom I struck up a lovely conversation gave me his business card, I REALLY wished there was a better way of validating myself than saying “I’m Phoebe, first year commerce student” repeatedly.

3. Make sure your blazer/top/pants/skirt has a pocket for business cards. So after getting the card, I realized I had no where to put it at the dinner table! Leaving it by my plate would be rather disrespectful, and holding it in my hand would prevent me from using hand gestures! Ah woe is me.  Lesson learned.


4. Pay attention to the keynote speakers (duh?).¬†There’s a reason they’re invited. Hold on to their words. Formulate questions. Note down interesting points to bring up later at dinner. Not only will you avoid the awkward silence when seated to someone who has obvious superior intellect and¬†greater range of life experiences, it will also make you seem more knowledgeable and passionate about the field.

5. If you see a business professional standing by him/herself, seize the opportunity to go over and introduce yourself! Yes, this is terrifying and intimidating, but seriously, what’s the worst that can happen? They come to events like WCN because they care about students and want to share some life experiences.¬†Give them the chance to do that.¬† There’s a bit of a thrill in getting to know¬†new people =D

6. Strategize, strategize, strategize. WCN was set up so that there was one or two business person and 5 – 10 students at each table. Having been severely disadvantaged by missing the keynote presentations, I decided that I would seem like a clueless kid (and I was) if I sat down at any table with speakers.In the end I sat down at a table of five, opposite of the business professional who was having an one-on-on conversation with the girl next to him. However, his career choice and experiences really perked my interest and I had a whole bunch of questions for him. So as people left the table, I just kept moving one seat over until I got the chance to ask my questions. Time flew by really fast and by the time we finished our dinner, we were the only two people at the table! Since this was my first networking event, I was amazed by how easily conversation flowed and how helpful the professionals were.

7. Show interest by talking about yourself, but LISTEN for at least 60% of the time. Dinner time conversation is neither like listening to a professor’s lecture nor presenting yourself as if you’re being interviewed. It’s an interactive process!

8. Avoid certain topics. Old rules that governed women’s dinner conversation state that one should never talk about four things: money, sex, religion, and politics. Of course, now time has changed. Based on personal preference, I don’t like talking to people I just met about the above four things. I mean, if you’re at a politics convention, then by all means rave about Obama or rant against Prop 8!¬† Another way to approach the topic at WCN would have been, “Do regional politics and different cultural values influence how you approach your career in other parts of the world?” Thoughts regarding this point are much appreciated =D

9. Skip the messy desert!!! Because dripping ice cream on yourself or sending pieces of a tart fly in all directions is oh-so-embarrassing (this hasn’t happened to me… yet).


10. Send an acknowledgment note/email. Now most websites on networking tell you to do this. I still have my hesitations. I procrastinated on composing the email to the people who gave me business cards and now I’m past the week-long time frame. Maybe next time then =|

Any more tips? Post below! Feedback appreciated =D

(Image source)