Alma Mater Society of Queen's University

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Alma Mater Society of Queen's University
Formation 1858[1]
Allison Williams
Key people
  • Vice Presidents: Justin Reekie (Operations)[2]
    Phil Lloyd (University Affairs)[2]
Parent organization
Queen's University
Affiliations Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
Formerly called
Dialectic Society

The Alma Mater Society of Queen's University, otherwise known as the AMS, is the central undergraduate student government at Queen’s University in Canada. It is the oldest organization of its kind in Canada.[1] Its roots lie in the old Dialectic Society (now known as the Queen's Debating Union), which created the AMS in 1858.[1]

An umbrella organization, the AMS each year hires over 500 student employees and 1500 volunteers, as it works with member faculty societies to offer resources, services, support and opportunities to Queen’s students.[3]

Structure & Organization[edit]

AMS Assembly[edit]

The AMS’ ultimate authority lies with the AMS Assembly, which is composed of elected representatives from each of the 10 member faculty societies (Arts and Science, Applied Science, Concurrent Education, M.B.A., Commerce, Nursing, Medicine, Physical and Health Education, and Computing),and Residence Society.

AMS Assembly is the University's premier student democratic body that holds bi-annual referendums and annual elections to affirm representatives, approve or change student fees, and even gather student approval for different government initiatives and plans. The referendums and elections are bolstered by an Annual General Meeting or AGM (typically held in March) which contains a broad agenda of student issues and opens voting to any current students in attendance.

AMS Executive[edit]

The three-person AMS Executive oversee the student society's general operations and representation. The executive is elected annually in January as a slate with the positions of AMS President & CEO, Vice-President (Operations), and Vice-President (University Affairs). Responsibilities are generally divided along the lines of the corporate and government sides of the AMS, with the VP University Affairs overseeing the six government commissions and a variety of programs, the VP Operations managing three student directors and their many corporate services, and the President responsible for external representation and liaising with the administration. The executive is elected for a one year term of service lasting from May 1 to April 30.

AMS Council[edit]

The day-to-day operations of the AMS are overseen by AMS Council which includes the three-person AMS executive, six commissioners and three directors. Council is responsible for the overall direction of AMS policy from year to year, with major decisions being made in regard to service operation, government structure, stances on advocacy and causes (including representation to the provincial and government through OUSA, and general management of their portfolios, services, and government programs.


The six commissioners that make up the majority of AMS Council each oversee their own commissions that, along with the executive and select officers, effectively make up "AMS government". The commissions are responsible for the organization and oversight of a variety of student programs, activities, community initiatives, external representation, social causes, and the storied non-academic discipline system. The 2012/13 commissions are broken down into: (1) Academic Affairs, (2) Campus Activities, (3) Environment and Sustainability, (4) Internal Affairs, (5) Municipal Affairs and (6) Social Issues.


The three directors that sit on AMS Council oversee, directly or indirectly, the operation of the AMS' services and businesses that are arranged under three broad umbrellas:

  • Hospitality & Safety Services Director
    • Walkhome
    • Common Ground Coffeehouse
    • The AMS Pub Services (or TAPS, operating The Queen's Pub & Alfie's Nightclub)
    • Queen's Student Constables (QSC or "StuCons")
  • Retail Services Director
    • Publishing & Copy Centre (P&CC)
    • Tricolour Outlet (Formerly Destinations and The AMS Merchandise Services, operating The Used Bookstore & Tricolour Outfitters)
  • Media Services Director


The AMS was formed as an offshoot of the Dialectic Society, the precursor to the Queen's Debating Union. It split off to form an independent organization in 1858.

The AMS was incorporated in 1969 as a non-profit organization without share capital and thus the Assembly representatives also serve as the voting members of the corporation and annually elect a Board of Directors that oversees the services and financial affairs of the Society. These affairs currently have an annual operations budget of over $14 million.

At its inception, the AMS represented all students attending Queen’s University; however, that changed in 1981 when the Graduate Students’ Society (GSS), an AMS member society formed in 1962, voted by referendum to secede from the AMS. This secession developed out of a conflict around graduate student representation, student services, policy positions and other issues. In the 1990s, the AMS saw the Theological Society and the Law Students’ Society depart for membership with the GSS, prompting the GSS to rename itself the Society of Graduate and Professional Students at Queen's University (despite the fact that the student societies of most Queen's professional programmes remain within the AMS). The Law Student Society split with the AMS over a dispute regarding student constables.

In January 2009, the Education Students Society (ESS) voted to leave the AMS, primarily over a debate regarding fees.[4][5]


Currently the AMS represents over 14,000 students, each of whom becomes a member of the Society upon paying the mandatory student activity fee along with their tuition.

Today, the AMS seeks to enhance both the academic and extracurricular experience of its members while fostering connections with the surrounding community.

Provincially, the AMS is a founding member of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance in 1992, however left the organization in 1995 but rejoined the organization in 2004 as full members after a number of years as associate observers.

Federally, the AMS joined the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) in 2009 on a one-year associate membership basis.[6] The one-year associate member status expired without renewal in 2010.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Queen's Encyclopedia". Archived from the original on 6 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  2. ^ a b Alma Mater Society Website 24 May 2010
  3. ^ Whig-Standard March 27, 2009
  4. ^ "ESS Students vote 'yes' to leave the AMS". The Queen's Journal. 2009-01-23. 
  5. ^ "The Price of a Reckless Promise". The Queen's Journal. 2009-03-27. 
  6. ^ "AMS votes to align federally". The Queen's Journal. 2009-02-02. 

External links[edit]