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9 Finals Tips For Exam Season at UBC

Compiled by Karen Chen

It is that time of the year again. Stress levels are rising sky-high in UBC libraries, and there seems to be an atmosphere of doom and gloom all around. No need to despair! Our AMS executives have put together a finals advice package, with everything related to organization, study tips, and self-care guides. We wish you the best of luck this finals season!

Make a concrete study plan, with days indicating what chapters or modules you are planning to cover every day. Have the self-discipline to stick to it, whether that is by finding a study buddy or switching up your study place. Do not plan anything too review-heavy for the last day before the exam, let your brain have adequate rest! Once you have a solid system in place, success will follow : )

Karen Chen, 2022-23 AMS Work Learn Social Media Coordinator

I love to have a vision board (usually Notion) to write down line by line what I have to revise & complete for each subject. I have a separate section called my ‘To-Do List’ where I move these lines to indicate my workload for the day. Obviously, you cannot always plan absolutely everything, but make sure to complete the top 3 things on that list and you’re good to go.

Stephanie Liu, 2022-23 AMS Associate Vice-President, Funds

Communicating with my professors or TAs bout any course-related stress often helped me to succeed during the final project season. Either asking questions or advice on how to best complete specific assignments. Usually, our instructors are very understanding and accommodating, and ready to help us. Also, my friends and classmates really inspire me to study more as everyone is so hardworking. Creating study groups can turn from a nerve-wracking to super chill quality time.

Anna Shubina, 2022-23 AMS Work Learn Social Media Coordinator

The hardest part is getting started! I like to make a study plan so it is easier to stick to, then instead of finishing a chapter/module, I begin a bit of the next one so that when I pick up again it is more incentivizing to keep going! Also cutting down on other obligations (social gatherings, going out, etc.) during the period of studying can help motivate you to stay focused!

Erin Co, 2022-23 AMS Vice President, External Affairs

Do not be afraid to take time for yourself, it is important to take breaks between your studying, even when you feel the need to keep going! Taking the time to recharge can reset your brain, which will help with your productivity levels. Find what works best for you to decompress, whether it is going for a walk, sharing a meal with a friend, or catching up on some Netflix.

Viola Chao, 2022-23 AMS Equity & Inclusion Lead

When creating your study plans, be realistic in setting your goals. Try to not measure productivity by the amount of work you completed, but rather if you have done what you can with the energy you have available. You know yourself best to determine when to push or take a break! Also, remember that the stress is temporary. Lastly, whether in finals season or not, bite the bullet and start with your most difficult task of the day.

Anisha Sandhu, 2023 Interim AMS Vice-President, Academic & University Affairs

Start small and segment what you need to study into smaller chunks so it feels less intimidating. Make sure to give yourself time to take breaks and do what you enjoy as well so you do not burn out! Also, do not be afraid to ask your professor and TA for help when you are unsure of something, they are here to support your learning! Finally, always remember to take care of yourself.

Naton Ting, 2022-23 AMS Clubs Administrator

I cannot stress the importance of SNACKS (I have been eating a lot of oranges + eggs) and doing small things to improve your mood! It is easy to get bogged down by hours of studying so take care of yourself, and make sure you are fueling yourself! Also on the topic of snacks, I would recommend leaving your house at least once a day for at least 15 minutes even if it is just to refill your snacks at Walmart. There is light at the end of the tunnel! Stay positive and good luck!

Priscilla Ng, 2022-23 AMS Associate Vice-President, External Affairs

We tend to procrastinate because we are searching for that feeling of instant gratification that a long-term study plan does not offer until after the work is done. A remedy for this is making your study process more enjoyable. For myself, I spend a lot of time creating a study environment that I love being in. I like to have a lot of trinkets on my desk and usually listen to music and study with friends. Multi-tasking tends to be a less conventional study tip, but adding extra stimuli to my study process has helped me become more creative and productive. Instead of being hard on yourself for procrastinating or not sticking to your plan, use that time to think about adjustments you could make to the actual process of studying itself.

Tomila Sahbaei, 2022-23 AMS Associate Vice-President, Academic Affairs
AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre: 20 Years Later

By: Sheliza Mitha

The idea behind what’s now known as the SASC – UBC’s AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre – started with a little more than a few whispered conversations.

It was the early 2000s, about a half-decade before Tarana Burke founded the MeToo Movement. Resources for sexual assault survivors were scarce, despite the numbers. For example, in her 2019 UBC Master’s thesis on the MeToo movement, Erin Eileen Davidson reported that some 460,000 sexual assaults are reported each year in Canada.

Enter Lisa Lafreniere, a UBC student who (at the time) coordinated SpeakEasy – a peer counselling service of the AMS – while also working at Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW). Through her work at SpeakEasy, word (and whispers) spread that Lisa had specific knowledge and training with sexual assault issues. Students sought her out to talk about their experiences, and get support for resources that were not otherwise readily available.

With a clear need for sexual assault support services, an environmental assessment was conducted examining campus support services. The result was two-fold: 1. A support service of this kind would be valuable for the campus. 2. It would be more effective to work with an established anti-violence organization versus developing something new.

What followed was a one-year pilot project in August 2002, whereby WAVAW created an on-campus satellite office – the Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) – staffed roughly 10 hours a week through donations and grants (including the AMS). While the AMS also provided space, WAVAW covered much of the renovations.

Some six months later – confirming demand for its services – the SASC attempted to make a home on campus through a referendum that would determine its future.

In February 2003, UBC students took to the polls to decide on whether to pay an additional $1 each per year in AMS fees to support the centre. Why $1? The figure was decided on by the AMS and WAVAW to help SASC in increasing its hours, and its support services.

Lafreniere noted at the time that if the referendum failed, the future of the SASC would be unclear. “The SASC provides support for survivors of sexual assault, but as well to provide awareness and education about sexual assault before it happens.”

The referendum passed, and this fund for the SASC is administered by the AMS to this day. In a second 2003 referendum, the amount was raised to $3 per student per year. In 2008, Student Council raised the percentage received by SASC to 95 percent for its core operating revenue (up from 80 percent). All of which allowed for growth and greater services.

In 2018, new federal legislation dictated that educational institutions must provide sexual support services. As a result of the university’s obligation to offer services, the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) was created – which led to the immediate closure of the SASC office.

“SASC staff were fired overnight because this university service was created,” explained Aashna Josh, current SASC Manager. “But, because of the student outcry, SASC reopened after just a few months – which speaks to the impact. Our impact is there, even though it’s not always seen.”

Today, the SASC operates with a staff of 11 and about 25 to 30 volunteers during the school year.

“We sit with people when needed, keep them alive and engaged to make sure they feel seen and supported. Our campaigns are visible – but our support services are confidential, and serve anyone who needs them,” Josh said. “We aim to offer services from a place of humility. We’re an anti-violence organization doing this work on occupied Musqueam lands and acknowledge the benefit we derive from working and living on this land.”

Over the past four years, the SASC has supported a growing number of sexual assault survivors: 726 in 2018; 1,145 in 2019; 1,145 in 2020; and 2,028 in 2021.

In a 2017 interview with The Ubyssey, former SASC manager Ashley Bentley emphasized the need for these services is constant. “When I say that sexual assault is an epidemic, I don’t say that lightly. We’re seeing an increase in the number of people accessing services.”

Although the primary mandate is to assist survivors of sexual assault, the SASC also works to educate students and promote prevention with services including emotional support groups, educational and outreach programs, and legal and medical advocacy. The centre also provides free contraceptives and pregnancy tests, and considers itself an all-gender service that aims to provide queer-friendly and gender-affirming services for everyone.

And all of this has been possible through the power of students: creating the SASC, funding it and fighting for it again in 2018. When the SASC went to referendum this year (2022), it was passed again – a testament to the number of services being accessed over the past several years.

The SASC’s survival directly connects to – and impacts – the survival and well-being of thousands more. This much is clear – especially to the UBC students who funded and fought for this important, empowering, and much-needed service for sexual assault survivors.

UBC Students Organize for Abortion Rights

Caravan across Canada for Abortion Rights

By: Jason Tockman

In late spring 1970, UBC student Ellen Woodsworth was one of several leaders of a caravan of cars and vans that traversed the nation to demand free access to safe abortions for all Canadians.

The procession began with just seventeen women departing in three vehicles from Vancouver in late April, amassing greater numbers as it travelled across the country before arriving in Ottawa eleven days later.

On May 9, those who had made the journey rallied in front of Parliament, brandishing signs and banners that read “Abortion Is Our Right” and “Free Abortion on Demand Now!” When virtually all Members of Parliament declined to meet with them, a contingent of several dozen took their struggle into the Parliament building, chained themselves to gallery chairs during an active session of the House of Commons, and and disruptively stated their case until Parliament was recessed for the day.

“In those days, we didn’t even have access to birth control, which shows how little power women had at that time,” Woodsworth recounts. “We felt that abortion should be a right, and it should be available within the Canadian health care system.”

Their message: “Women have the right to control their own bodies – and birth control and abortion have to be part of that. It should be part of our rights as a human being,” Woodsworth adds.

At the time, Woodsworth was head of the students’ Speakers Bureau at UBC, responsible for bringing speakers to campus – a position she secured in the AMS’s annual election. Through this role, Woodsworth built connections with others concerned about women’s rights across the city and became involved with the Vancouver Women’s Caucus (VWC) – the association that organized what later became known as the Abortion Caravan.

Woodsworth describes the VWC as a group of female workers, students and housewives connected with Simon Fraser University and UBC. Their focus on access to birth control and abortion followed Canada’s 1969 revisions to the Criminal Code, which legalized abortion but only in very narrow circumstances and after being approved by a panel of three physicians – almost always male doctors. The VWC and the Abortion Caravan demanded that abortion services be fully removed from the Criminal Code, and be made available “on demand” by anyone who wanted to terminate a pregnancy.

On the road, the women of the Abortion Caravan organized events in cities across the country, stopping and staying in United Church halls and school basements, giving speeches, doing street theatre, and holding interviews. Karin Wells, CBC radio documentarian and author of The Abortion Caravan, says that with every stop, the number of people in attendance multiplied – growing to 300 in Toronto. As they passed through cities, Woodsworth recalls, “Some were hostile, and some were friendly, and a lot had no idea what we were saying.”

For Woodsworth, the most memorable aspects of this journey across Canada were the women’s stories. Hearing various narratives of the many lives lost from illegal abortions, she came to several realizations: that thousands of women had died from unsafe procedures, and that Indigenous women were being sterilized against their will and, in some cases, without their knowledge. It was through those stories, Woodsworth reflects, that they gained the strength and determination to storm the House of Commons and chain themselves to the gallery seats.

“It really wasn’t just an intellectual understanding anymore,” she asserts, “it was a deep, emotional understanding that we had to get the ear of the electeds and get it changed.”

When the Caravan arrived in Ottawa, it was overwhelmingly greeted by people on the streets waving, cheering and raising fists in support. However, federal ministers refused to meet with the women, and Canada’s Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was out of town. The women organized an open meeting in Parliament’s Railway Room, which was attended by a few Members of Parliament (MPs). As Gwen Hauser reported in the Pedestal, [Ed: a feminist periodical published by the VWC from1969-1976] one of the Caravan presenters, Doris Powers, spoke powerfully about how she had sought an abortion but, as a low-income woman, was “granted a sterilization” instead. Hauser emphasized that the MPs present, mostly with the New Democratic Party, did not offer quick action.

The women of the Caravan and their supporters took to Ottawa’s streets, donning white aprons tied around their waists that read, “This uterus is not government property.” They also visited the Prime Minister’s residence, setting a coffin on the veranda that they had transported all the way from Vancouver (and which had stashed their sleeping bags between cities).

By the following day, the women managed to secure forged passes into Parliament. They dressed in “middle-class clothes” so as not to draw attention, Wells explains, keeping their chains well hidden in their purses. One-by-one or in groups of two, around three dozen women entered the building and made their way up to the Gallery.

As soon as Question Period started, one woman jumped up and began speaking.

“We took turns – one at a time – standing up and demanding, ‘Abortion is a right – women are dying,’” Woodsworth explains, while others chanted, “Free abortion on demand!” Shocked Members of Parliament yelled up to the Gallery as guards scrambled to silence and remove the women.

“They just were so furious,” Woodsworth says with a laugh. “It was all men at that time, and they hadn’t a clue what we were talking about. They were just angry that a group of women were disrupting their normal discussion – the group of men running the country.”

It took some time for the guards to find clippers to cut through the chains. Eventually, all the women were cleared from the chamber, escorted outside and released – without arrest. By then the Speaker had adjourned the meeting of the House.

What was the legacy of the Abortion Caravan? As Wells tells it, the Caravan “put abortion on the table. It was the first time anybody had spoken about abortion in a public meeting… Nobody talked about it, and until you talk about stuff nothing changes.” But more broadly than just the issue of abortion, she views the event as “the first grassroots national women’s movement where anything public and big had ever happened” in Canada.

Woodsworth similarly characterizes the Abortion Caravan as a “breakthrough moment – a seminal moment” in Canada’s history where a group of citizens showed that “government could be held accountable.” It was bigger than the issue of abortion, she asserts – or even women’s rights; it influenced and gave strength to broader social movements for justice and equity.

While the Caravan made abortion a national conversation and created political space to talk about it more openly, it would not be until 1988 that the Supreme Court of Canada would fully legalize abortion. Woodsworth celebrates that decision, but laments that abortion remains unavailable in much of the North, in New Brunswick and other Eastern provinces, as well as hospitals run by the Catholic Church. She points out that there is still important work to be done to ensure that everyone in Canada who seeks an abortion can access the service.

5 Ways to Feel More Connected With UBC Campus

by Karen Chen

Do you ever feel that the idea of “fun” in student life is centered around partying, joining clubs, and constantly being surrounded by your school community? Movies advertise the extroverted lifestyle – big school dances, crazy ragers, insane pep rallies, and dozens of smiling faces.

The truth is, it can all be a little intimidating at times. Maybe you prefer a quiet night in or value one-on-ones with friends. The good news is that your university experience can be equally as fulfilling and fun as an introvert. Here are a series of things you can do on campus to feel connected and involved!

1. Grab a drink from Blue Chip & hit the turf

Take advantage of these sunny days with the refreshing summer drinks from Blue Chip! Sitting on the turf and chatting with a friend is a great way to create a meaningful connection and get to that deeper level of connection with a friend. If you are in the mood for solo activity, catching a nap or diving into a good book is a great way to spend the afternoon as well!

Some of the yummy Blue Chip summer drinks are butterfly lemonade, iced green mint tea, strawberry matcha latte, and cookie smoothie (where you can choose your favourite Blue Chip cookie to blend).

2. Visit the various gardens on campus

There are so many gorgeous gardens on campus! They serve as a wonderful place to read, journal, or do a little photo shoot with a friend. Here are some must-sees:

  • Nitobe Garden – you get free entry when you have your UBC card, this is a scenic place to relax and take pretty pictures!
  • UCLL Bench – listen to the relaxing water of this serene location right beside the rose garden 
  • The fence behind the Museum of Anthropology – this is the loveliest place to catch sunsets! Be sure to bring some bug spray. 
  • Botanical Garden – this is also free entry with a UBC card, and they also have a TreeWalk suspended bridge that is $9 for students! It is so gorgeous when the flowers are in bloom. 
  • Rose Garden – the classic destination, sometimes you can catch graduation or wedding happening!
  • Pacific Spirit Regional Park – a very refreshing and peaceful walk where you can find yourself immersed in nature and greenery. There are tons of trails to choose from of different lengths and sceneries!

3. Go museum-hopping and exploring around campus

Do you know how many hidden gems our campus has? I did not even realize we had this many museums until composing this list! Here they are, for a lovely solo educational day or sightseeing with a friend:

  • Museum of Anthropology (MOA) – the classic! Check out all the different interesting cultural exhibits in the building across the rose garden—free entry for UBC students. 
  • Beaty Biodiversity Museum – beyond the whale skeleton lay rows upon rows of various animal models and cool facts about them. See them in action here! Free entry for UBC students.
  • Hatch Art Gallery – this is in the Nest (2nd floor) and displays artwork from different students, switching out every couple of months. It’s also UBC’s only student-run exhibition space! Open weekdays from 12:00 – 4:00 PM.
  • Visit all the Indigenous art on campus – As you walk around, read up on the stories behind the Indigenous art on campus.
  • Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery – check out this interesting gallery with different featured exhibits. Free admission and tours are available and open on weekdays 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and on weekends 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM.
  • AHVA (Art History, Visual Art, & Theory) Gallery at the Audain Art Centre – this art gallery is located near the Ponderosa residences, hosting different artworks, lectures, and performances. Open on Tuesdays to Fridays from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM.

4. Sit on the swing chair in the Nest and people watch

Simple as this sounds, it can be a ton of fun! The Nest has a series of study spaces on the west side of the building, where it is a lot more hidden from the open space and has plenty of peace and quiet. The swing chair faces MacInnes Field, where people are playing sports, reading, snoozing, or grabbing coffee with their friends. 

Check out these other study spots in the Nest!

5. Exercise in a way that you enjoy

If going to the gym and hitting the weights is not your thing, no worries! There are many opportunities to exercise in ways that are fulfilling to you personally.

  • Runs around campus – we are lucky to be on such a spacious campus, take advantage of it by drafting different routes and going for runs! 
  • Wreck Beach stairs – At 500 steps each way, be sure to stay hydrated, and do not forget to enjoy the views and greenery!
  • Gym sessions at the ARC or the Birdcoop Fitness Centre – personally, I love the gym as a little bit of solo time away from everything. I just put in my headphones and get immersed in working towards a healthier version of myself. Going around noon usually ensures a gym that is not too packed!
  • Fitness classes – did you know that when you purchase a UBC gym membership, group fitness classes are automatically included? This has everything from pilates, spin, HIIT, and boot camps to yoga – something for everyone and their different comfort levels! It is a great deal as well, and a place to potentially meet people of the same interest! Check out the full schedule of fitness classes
  • University Golf Club – are you a golf fan? The driving range is an awesome way to practice your sport, and you can receive incredible deals with your UBC student card. 
  • Ice Skating at Thunderbird Arena – as a UBC student, you receive free or discounted admission to so many places! Take advantage of that by booking free skating sessions (skate rentals cost extra, but are still discounted for UBC students).
  • Swimming at the Aquatic Centre – use your UBC student card to book free swims at the Aquatic Centre (the late-night ones hit different).


I hope this list gives you a more comprehensive view of how to get more connected with the campus, and that you now have an activity in mind of what future activity to do. Have a wonderful rest of your summer!

How to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Tips with Erin Co and Karen Chen

Have you ever found yourself scrambling to complete all the items on that seemingly endless to-do list? Feeling like you are on a hamster wheel, fighting for alone time or time to spend with friends?

What you feel is completely valid, and we have all been there at one point or another. Today, Erin Co, the VP of External Affairs, shares her best tips for work-life balance with us!

Erin Co, 2022-23 AMS VP External Affairs

1. Always make time for your hobbies

Set aside time for your passion projects, even if it is just 10 minutes of your day. This could range anything from reading a book, going on a walk (cherish this sunny weather), or even shopping at Aritzia (Erin’s personal fave)!

These little things really add to your overall quality of life!

Karen’s thoughts: other easy and affordable ideas for hobbies include

  • Journaling (starting a bullet journal if you are feeling creative) 
  • Going to the gym/going for runs 
  • Baking and trying out new recipes 
  • Brushing up on your cooking skills 
  • Content creation – whether it is starting a YouTube channel, working on a book with friends
  • Going around the city and taking scenery photos
  • Exploring new hikes and trails
  • Hit up the thrift stores in the city and find unique pieces 
  • Learn to code and put together your own website 
  • Volunteer for a cause you are passionate about around the city

2. Have a social support system

Erin feels lucky to be surrounded by a fantastic group of people who support her. They are always there to remind her to take time for herself, which is something we all need to hear every now and then.

Erin also appreciates her student staff, who work around the clock to not only get things done but to get things done well for students.

Ultimately, your struggles are never really your own, and other people are happy to take on the burden with you as you are willing for them! That being said, do not be afraid to reach out for help or a little extra assistance if needed.

Tip: The AMS offers Peer Support (operating September to April) where you can book a support session or even volunteer to help out! This is a free service for students, whenever you need a little extra support. For a list of resources available during the summer, check out this page on SASC’s website.

3. Setting boundaries with work

A trick Erin likes to employ in her personal life is to mark emails sent during the weekend or past office hours as unread if it is not pressing. Her rule of thumb is as long as nothing is burning down or strictly urgent, she will check it out to stay informed, but attend to it the next work day.

She even did this in her academic life, when if she had a midterm or a paper coming up, that took priority in her life. After the urgent matter was done, she would allocate time to reply to things, work on other assignments, and tend to everything else.

Karen’s thoughts: some other practices I do in my daily life include

  • Doing a batch reply for texts and notifications every couple of hours so I am not occupied on my phone all throughout the day 
  • Stop responding to emails after a certain time and on weekends – especially working in a job whose nature is sporadic or needs you to be on the clock all the time 
  • Allocate time to do certain things – whether it is hangouts, work projects, going to the gym, practically everything! If it is not down on the Notion calendar, it is likely to slip my mind – so I put everything in as soon as it is planned!


We hope you have a productive summer, but also remember to take time to rest! 

Open Letter to UBC on student concerns about returning to campus

Dear UBC Executives and the Board of Governors,

On behalf of the Alma Mater Society (AMS) of UBC, we are writing in regards to the health, safety, and well-being of the UBC Community as we return to campus this fall. On July 21st, 2021, the AMS Council unanimously passed a motion to call on the University of British Columbia to do more to ensure the safety and security of members of the UBC Community by mandating vaccinations in student residences and mandating masks in lecture halls.

According to the AMS Return to Campus Survey, to which 7933 UBC students (enrolled and incoming) responded, there is significant discomfort around the current messaging and measures being taken by the university. There is no doubt that the university is aligned with the Public Health Office (PHO). There is also no doubt that it is unacceptable for UBC, an institution that prides itself as a leader across the country, to only be doing the bare minimum in ensuring the safety and security of its students, staff, and faculty.

The student union, representing all 56,000+ undergraduate and graduate students, strongly believes that the University must do more than the bare minimum to ensure that we have a safe return to campus and that students feel comfortable attending UBC. The Alma Mater Society calls on the administration and the Board of Governors to address the concerns brought forth by the community through clear and comprehensive communication, mandating masks in lecture halls, and requiring vaccinations in student residences at UBC.

82% of students (with the knowledge that there are no mandatory vaccinations in Canada) would be in support of a policy to mandate vaccinations in student residences. As raised by us in previous correspondence, there is an increasing number of universities in North America that have mandated at least one dose of vaccination to be on campus, as well as, to reside in student residences (with exemptions). It is disappointing to see UBC fall behind as other Canadian institutions take the lead in this arena and implement extra measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their respective communities. UBC has shown exemplary leadership in the past by mandating masks on campus before the PHO mandate in 2020, and it is difficult to understand why the University is hesitant to show the kind of leadership that’s desired and needed by the community now. 60% of students have concerns about being exposed to COVID-19 in classrooms and lecture halls. With thousands of students coming back to campus who will be seated in packed lecture halls alongside hundreds of students, we ask that the University implement measures in those high-risk areas. This could be through a mask mandate in lecture halls, or other measures that the University deems will truly address the concerns of the UBC community.

UBC students are looking to their University’s leadership to go beyond the bare minimum by taking the extra measures of mandating vaccinations in student residences, mandating masks in lecture halls, and clearly addressing community concerns to ensure the place students call home feels safe enough to be their home. The reverberant message of the students we represent can no longer be ignored or dismissed by the University as it has been so far – this is an opportunity to demonstrate to students that the University’s leadership is genuine in their efforts to listen to and work for students.


Cole Evans
President, Alma Mater Society

Eshana Bhangu
VP Academic and University Affairs, Alma Mater Society