As some of you may know, the AMS will be having a referendum from March 7th to March 11th. The two main issues that students will be asked to vote on are a change in the Upass program and a $5 increase in AMS fees.
The Upass is quite straight forward – instead of paying ~$23 we’ll pay $30. Basically if this doesn’t pass we won’t have a Upass, which is unacceptable. $30 is still much less than what bus fares would cost for most of us, even the ones living on campus!
The increase in AMS fees, however, seem to be dividing students. These are some of the reasons why I will vote YES:
- As a club executive this year I have realized first-hand how hard it is to get funding for events and activities, even if you have a great idea. Yes, there are a few funds available, but in my experience they run out too fast and you have to plan way ahead to get them. $1.5 of this increase will go to a NEW Student Club Benefits Fund.
- I love the Ubyssey. $1 will go to the Ubyssey.
- As an older sister, I can identify with parents’ need to know that their child is being safely taken care of while they study. You may not be directly affected by this, but there is a huge childcare issue on campus, especially for grad students. $1 will go towards a NEW Childcare Bursary Fund.
- UBC is increasingly a global university and international and domestic students have many ideas with global impact. Anything from conferences to small events to workshops. This year, as executive of the International Students Association, I have collaborated with many internationally focused clubs and people and I honestly believe that any money going towards making these ideas a reality is money well spent. $0.25 will go to a NEW International Projects Fund.
- Sustainability is a big thing for me, as I’m sure it is for you. I carry my own mug around, I use recycled paper, I listen to students with great ideas on how to make our community more environmentally friendly. As with most projects, funding is lacking. $2.25 will be directed towards a NEW Sustainability Projects Fund.
This increase will also add to other very important funds, like the Sexual Assault Support Services Fund ($0.25) and the Student Services ($2). To see a full breakdown of the fees and descriptions, click here.
Most importantly, however, is that if we refuse to accept this increase our student union will be in trouble. Besides, who doesn’t want more student services?
If you use the Upass, if you’ve ever been to free tutoring, if you have ever received help from a resource group, if you read the Ubyssey or listen to CiTR, if you’ve used SafeWalk, if you’ve stayed at the AMS cabin in Whistler, if you have enjoyed a Pit Night or a Monday at The Gallery, if you have loved the Blue Chip Cookie and the fact that we are making history at UBC by being part of a New SUB – if you have done even one of the things in this short selection of great AMS services you can agree with me that the AMS is an integral part of our experience as UBC students and that paying a little bit more in our fees will benefit all of us.