Name: Alex Hughes
Hometown: Victoria, BC
Major, Year: I am in the second year of a double major in International Development and Gender and Women’s Studies.
Why do you want this position?
In coming to Dalhousie, I had never experienced such a fearless, fiercely passionate group of young people who were unapologetic in their commitment to fighting injustice and creating honest change. I was immediately determined to become a part of this culture and have worked extremely hard over the past two years to immerse myself in these issues and fully embrace my desire for social change. Working with societies like Get REAL, re-founding the Gender and Women’s Studies Society, and taking on different executive positions on campus has exponentially built my confidence in my ability to lead and coordinate collective action. Seeing students unite in raising funds for the Sexual Assault Phone Line at DASSS Fall Ball, which I organized in my role as Vice President Internal of DASSS, was extremely rewarding and further validated my belief in the collective power of students. I want this position so I can continue to learn, grow, and unite students who may currently be disconnected from the DSU to inspire change they want to see. I want use this momentum to take my involvement to the next level.
This position includes facilitation of student union societies, how would you be an effective support for societies?
Among the many ideas I have regarding society support, I would work to resolve some of the inefficiencies surrounding society ratification/resource management. I see massive potential for more efficient society ratification and grant applications. Providing clearer explanations of what documents are needed on these respective web-forms, and seeing this processes move away from print would be a more sustainable system, lessen the frequency of misplaced documents, and speed up the turnaround time.
On a larger scale, I would like to support all societies to reach students on all of our campuses. One idea for this would be to create more student employment opportunities by using Tiger Patrol weekly to bring levied societies like the Loaded Ladle to Sexton and Carleton. To encourage societies to engage with important social issues, I would like to work with the VPFO to allocate a portion of the grants budget to “Innovation Grants” for societies that want to host events or create projects surrounding diversity, inclusivity and equity on campus.
Lastly, I would help societies better support their members by including an anti-oppression workshop in the requisite Primary Event Organizing training upon ratification to ensure all societies make a conscious effort to make all students feel safe and welcome.
What is the long-term goal you have for this position?
My long-term goal for this position is to increase the engagement of the general student population with the DSU, outside the “SUB bubble.” To realize this goal, the Executive must prioritize reaching all students collectively, and in their individual portfolios. I would like to reinvent the communication of the Union. I believe it is time to be innovative, and consider new mediums for engaging with students. This could look like creating bi-weekly, entertaining and informative videos highlighting the upcoming DSU events and campaigns, in addition to DSU Dispatch.
I also think we need to approach communications taking accessibility into account. I would like to create a simple but informative “Guide to Your DSU” printed in several languages represented on campus. This would aid new, international, and general students, clearly explaining the different services provided by the DSU and how they can access them (the Wellness Room, the Food Bank, Market, Levied Societies, grants, etc.).
Moreover, I would like to emphasize reaching all students by unifying the DSU across all campuses. I would like to host roundtable discussions with representatives from all campuses at the beginning of each term to create feasible goals and plans to create the change they need in order to feel represented and heard by the DSU.
What are three qualities that make you the best person for this role?
My dedication, innovation, and approachability make me the best candidate for the role of Vice-President Internal. Within my first few weeks at Dalhousie I had joined DASSS as First Year Rep, with the intention of becoming involved on campus issues, and gaining my voice in student politics. Since then, I have shown unwavering commitment to learning, growing and being a part of the DSU by sitting as an Executive on DASSS, sitting as Arts Rep on DSU Council, working as a Member Services Assistant in the Executive Offices, and sitting on multiple DSU committees.
I am extremely passionate about the work the DSU does, and I believe any qualified leader needs to be driven and dedicated to their work. I am not afraid to bring new ideas to the table. In order to facilitate the change we all want to see, we need to take risks, and take new approaches to solve issues.
Lastly, I love people! I am friendly, approachable and always willing to listen. I believe that in all exec roles, but particularly VPI students need to feel safe and welcomed to express their concerns, or learn more about the union. My office door would always be open!
What is your favorite thing about Dalhousie?
My favorite thing about Dalhousie is the students. I am continuously and consistently inspired by their dedication to self-improvement and reflection on how we can be doing better collectively to support marginalized groups. I love that our students are ever-willing to share and receive each other’s knowledge and perspectives, even in challenging circumstances. I am so proud to be a part of this population, and am so grateful to be surrounded by such inspired, knowledgeable, passionate, strong young people.