Brewing ideas to transform campus

When Elin Tayyar graduates from UBC in May, it will have taken him six years to complete a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Economics. That’s understandable, when you consider he’s also been hard at work transforming the university.

For the past three years, Tayyar has been involved in the Alma Mater Society (AMS), UBC’s student government—the last two years as Vice President Finance. Under his leadership, the AMS has eliminated a $287,000 yearly deficit and made changes that will ensure financial stability in the future.

“I saw the financial situation as a challenge,” says Tayyar. “I have a passion for long-term planning and sustainability.”

In turning things around, he’s pioneered a number of popular campus initiatives. Among his achievements: the student-run brewpub that will go into the new Student Union Building.

The idea came from a friend who noticed the growing beer culture on campus—the UBC Brewing Club has hundreds of members and meets once a week to brew. Tayyar and AMS colleagues conducted a feasibility study that came back positive.

”The new SUB offered us the opportunity,” he says. “It’s a bit of a risk for a student union to take this on but it’s exciting.”

Of all he’s done, Tayyar is most proud of setting up the AMS Sustainability Fund, where students can apply for funding for campus sustainability initiatives.

“I think it is important to value the community and collective achievements,” he says.

But that’s not all. Tayyar has been involved in bringing the water filling stations to campus. He also saved the AMS $1 million by renegotiating and restructuring the Student Health and Dental Plan, a plan that has previously seen several years of deficits. As a final project, Tayyar paved the way for the establishment of an arts endowment fund, which will support student art projects.

After graduation, Tayyar, who has also been a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity since coming to UBC, plans to develop a web portal to simplify and compare information about a range of developments on energy issues. Currently named Blue Terminal, the site is to focus on public policy, technological, and business developments in the energy sector.

But the graduate isn’t done with UBC yet. Next year, he’s hoping to take on a very different role, as a host of his own music show on CiTR.

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