For the 2019 AMS elctions we sent a questionaire to all candidates asking them to answer two questions about divestment and climate justice. Here are the responses from those candidates that responded and were elected - we look forward to working with our newly-elected representatives to put their climate commitments to action!

Chris Hakim

President, Senate

Within the scope of the role you are running for, what tangible steps would you take to pressure UBC to divest from fossil fuels?

Currently, UBC is relying on three legal opinions that they have set out the legal limits on to not divest. However, these legal opinions have been contested by multiple legal scholars, including a former member of their legal counsel. As a President, I want to ensure that the AMS is pressuring UBC to get further legal opinions on the topic of divestment from multiple law firms and have their own legal counsel put more research into the topic. As a Senator, I want to push the UBC Senate to recognise that climate change is an academic issue and that divestment is a big step towards that recognition. I will push for a motion in support of divestment be put onto the floor at the Senate.

In your term, how would you use the resources your position offers to help support climate justice efforts?

I believe that a large part of the advocacy surrounding divestment needs to be coordinated, which is why I want to work with multiple sustainability and climate justice student groups on an action plan to advocate for divestment.This would come from meeting regularly with student groups and discussing steps moving forward. In addition, it is crucial that the AMS continuously markets sustainability as a big aspect of its operations, but especially in its advocacy. The AMS is mandated to advocate to UBC for divestment, and I want to ensure that the AMS's social media and marketing is able to reflect that that advocacy is being prioritized. Celsius. Finally, the AMS needs to support Indigenous peoples fighting for climate justice.

Julia Burnham

VP Academic and University Affairs, Senate

Within the scope of the role you are running for, what tangible steps would you take to pressure UBC to divest from fossil fuels?

The VPAUA is definitely a best-fit within the AMS to apply pressure on the university and I have every intention to do so. Working with the student BoG reps, I’d begin conversations at the board table with submissions on the lack of action on fossil fuel divestment. These are public materials and will gain media attention (similarly to our submissions on the Housing Action Plan and Policy 131), which will increase pressure. I would be sure to emphasize the student referendum, lack of investment in the Sustainable Futures Fund and need for external legal opinion on divestment.

In your term, how would you use the resources your position offers to help support climate justice efforts?

The VPAUA needs to prioritize working with grassroots organizations already doing work on climate justice in order to be a strong, united front. It’s so important to be lifting up activists and reduce barriers to the AMS, while at the same time, the AMS’ advocacy is strengthened by including perspectives who have been consistently dedicated to this work. I would love to collaborate with groups like the Sustainability Collective, the Climate Hub and UBCC350 in our advocacy and consultations, and to support their individual efforts in whatever capacity we can (communications, social media promotion etc.).

Jeanie Malone

Board of Governors

Within the scope of the role you are running for, what tangible steps would you take to pressure UBC to divest from fossil fuels?

  1. Continue collaborating with C350/Sustainability Collective/AMS folks - half the battle is making sure everyone is on the same page!
  2. Push for more frequent meetings of the ERIPC.
  3. Continue to dig into the University Counsel's view that we cannot divest due to the Trustee Act implications.
  4. Follow up with VPDAE to ensure that SFP is being adequately presented to potential donors.
  5. Push for the Board to consider all options to ensure that SFP is successful (growth options, balancing the spend rate on SFP vs main endowment, reducing volatility)

In your term, how would you use the resources your position offers to help support climate justice efforts?

Through asking for information/providing direction to the administration at the Board table. Perhaps asking the Board Secretariat for assistance in ensuring there is follow up in these items. Through requesting meetings with folks such as University Counsel so I may better understand their arguments around these issues. I think in general, being on the Board doesn't provide me with "resources" so much as the ability to ask and expect a response from almost any member of our administration at UBC. This is a powerful tool - and one I intend to leverage.

Max Holmes

Board of Governors, Senate, Student Legal Fund Society

Within the scope of the role you are running for, what tangible steps would you take to pressure UBC to divest from fossil fuels?

Climate Change is the greatest crisis that is facing our generation and UBC needs to do more to join the fight to make the world more sustainable. My first step would be to work with the AMS to create a proposal to challenge the current legal opinion(s) the University has on divestment. I would also hope to begin to have discussions with current governors on day one to discuss the issue of divestment. Within Senate, I hope to push for the senate to endorse Divestment. To help force UBC to divest, I will seek a seat on the Endowment Responsible Investment Policy Committee.

Cristina Ilnitchi

VP external

Within the scope of the role you are running for, what tangible steps would you take to pressure UBC to divest from fossil fuels?

UBC must take on the work to seek out how the institution could divest. The VP External role, however, only tangentially works with UBC but as an Executive, I will support the President/VP Academic to tackle this issue. This is large-scale advocacy to take on and it will be important to continue to develop strong relationships with climate groups on campus in order to push this change. I am committed to working on climate action in other capacities in my role and I want to help strengthen and facilitate that relationship and bolster the work that is being done.

In your term, how would you use the resources your position offers to help support climate justice efforts?

An important part of my platform is a focus on climate action and the role of universities and students in that work. During the federal election next year, I am committed to mobilizing students on this issue through a civic engagement campaign, working with other student unions across the country to push for advocacy that highlights how important climate action is for students, and fight for funding for non- STEM climate research. I am also excited to hopefully continue work with climate groups on CleanBC to ensure that students play an active role in informing the implementation of the plan.

Cole Evans

VP Admin

Within the scope of the role you are running for, what tangible steps would you take to pressure UBC to divest from fossil fuels?

As VP Admin I would collaborate closely with my sustainability team in coordination with our representatives at the Senate and BoG to push UBC to divest. On top of this, I'd really like my sustainability team to take a leadership role throughout the entire AMS in preparing and coordinating an actionable campaign that mobilizes student voices and ensures that the University is well aware of what students want to see. Finally, working in my own portfolio to create new and support existing grassroots sustainability initiatives will hopefully bring greater awareness of the dangers of climate change to the UBC student body and in turn promote a stronger student voice on climate action.

In your term, how would you use the resources your position offers to help support climate justice efforts?

The VP Admin plays a huge role in pushing sustainability and climate justice efforts throughout the AMS, and I plan on continuing the great work that has been done to bring sustainability more to the forefront of the VP Admin portfolio. I'll use two ideas I have to really push greater climate justice if elected:

  • Greater Outreach Initiatives: Work with the Sustainability staff to develop and implement grassroots sustainability initiatives and programs that get students talking about sustainability and climate change on an every day basis. This could range from more events based outreach, to supporting clubs and constituencies with their sustainability initiatives, to advocating at the University level and beyond.
  • Supporting Existing Student-Led Initiatives: At UBC, we have so many groups like UBCC 350 who do fantastic work for climate justice already. As your next VP Admin, I would seek to collaborate with these groups and further support them in their projects and endeavours.

Nick Pang

Senate

Within the scope of the role you are running for, what tangible steps would you take to pressure UBC to divest from fossil fuels?

The UBC Sustainable Futures Fund is not sufficient. I will push for increased divestment from fossil fuels and push UBC to move in the ways other universities like SFU has. UBC needs a stronger push from the AMS and the voices of 50,000 students to understand that divestment is a student priority and a moral priority. With the backing of so many student voices and leaders such as UBC350 along with the relationships I've created within university governance, I will continue to challenge the Board on its current reasoning and fight for better solutions for students and for climate justice.

In your term, how would you use the resources your position offers to help support climate justice efforts?

I'd like to see empowerment within student groups to push for all forms of climate justice. For example, something as small as compost bins in some of the houses in Totem Park was a significant push from leaders within the Residence Life community this year. I want to focus on climate justice and sustainability in a way that pushes for changes in UBC's and AMS's policies and actions, but to also continue to support student communities and grassroots organizations to get the resources they need to push for climate justice in individual ways that contribute to the greater UBC community.