Alma Mater Society of Queen's University
Vice-President (University Affairs)
|Affiliations||Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance|
The Alma Mater Society of Queen's University, otherwise known as the AMS, is the central undergraduate student association at Queen’s University in Canada. It is the oldest organization of its kind in Canada. Its roots lie in the old Dialectic Society (now known as the Queen's Debating Union), which created the AMS in 1858.
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.
Structure & Organization
The Society’s ultimate authority lies with the AMS Assembly, which is composed of elected representatives from each of the nine member faculty societies (Arts and Science, Engineering and Applied Science, Concurrent Education, M.B.A., Commerce, Nursing, Medicine, Physical and Health Education, and Computing), as well as non-voting representatives of the Residence Society.
AMS Assembly is the University's premier student democratic body. It holds bi-annual referendums and annual elections to affirm representatives, approve or change student fees, and even gather student approval for different 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.
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, Vice-President (Operations) & CEO, 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 five commissions and the Queen's Clubs Office, the VP Operations managing three student directors and their many corporate services, and the President responsible for managing four Offices, representing the Society and liaising with the administration. The executive is elected for a one year term of service lasting from May 1 to April 30.
AMS Executive Team
The day-to-day operations of the AMS are overseen by AMS Executive Team which includes the three-person AMS executive, five commissioners, one government director, four services directors, and four office directors. Executive Team is responsible for the operational implementation of AMS objectives from year to year, with major decisions being made in regard to service operation, stances on advocacy and causes (including representation to the provincial government through OUSA), and general management of their portfolios.
The five commissioners that are part of the Executive Team 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 non-academic discipline system (a restorative system covering all AMS members, anywhere in the world, except where another body is deemed more appropriate to handle the case). The 2016/2017 commissions are: (1) Academic Affairs, (2) Campus Activities, (3) Environmental Affairs, (4) Municipal Affairs, and (5) Social Issues.
The three services directors oversee, directly or indirectly, the operation of the AMS's services and businesses, arranged under three broad umbrellas:
- Hospitality & Safety Services Director
- Common Ground Coffeehouse
- The AMS Pub Services (or TAPS, operating The Queen's Pub & The Underground 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 approximately $16 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 leave the AMS - the latter over a dispute regarding student constables - to join 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 professional programs at Queen's remained within the AMS).
Currently the AMS represents over 15,500 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 (OUSA), and thus initially became a member in 1992; however, the AMS left the organization in 1995. In 2004, the AMS rejoined OUSA 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. The one-year associate member status expired without renewal in 2010.
- Queen's University
- The Queen's Journal
- Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
- Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
- List of Ontario students' associations
- "Queen's Encyclopedia". Archived from the original on 6 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-19.
- Whig-Standard March 27, 2009
- "ESS Students vote 'yes' to leave the AMS". The Queen's Journal. 2009-01-23.
- "The Price of a Reckless Promise". The Queen's Journal. 2009-03-27.
- "AMS votes to align federally". The Queen's Journal. 2009-02-02.