Name: Jessica Dempsey
Position running: Vice President Internal
Dalhousie Gazette: Why are you running for vice-president internal?
Jessica Dempsey: This position fits my qualifications, since it’s more of a “doing” side of things than an academic side. I’m passionate about the students, and have followed student issues and council meetings closely for a long time.
DG: What do you plan to do if elected?
JD: My platform can be split into three things I want to focus on, and that I’m already paying attention to.
- Upgrades and improvements need to be made to the food bank.
- Student accessibility bursaries need to be restructured through the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU).
- Forming a Transgender Student Issues Committee on the DSU.
These are things that are very important to me, and knowing that these are priorities allows me to focus on them right away, while also being prepared for whatever issues would come my way if I am elected.
DG: How would you improve/maintain the relationship between societies and the union?
JD: We need to show the groups that are underrepresented or underfunded—and we need to help them. They wouldn’t be asking the union for money if they didn’t need it.
DG: Do you have any specific ideas you plan on implementing if your campaign is successful?
JD: Yes, I have one very specific idea that I came up with, which I am extremely passionate about: forming a Transgender Student Issues Committee on the DSU.
DG: VP internal is one position that’s been brought up in the executive restructuring conversation: how would you like to see the position improved?
JD: I think that we need to figure out the fundamental problem of communication, and we need to clarify it. I sat on the restructuring committee a few years ago, so I believe that the amount of DSU experience I have really shows. It’s this opening up of communication with the Sexton campus that I think needs to happen.
DG: VP internal is one of the executives most associated with Sexton campus; what do you plan to do to improve on the two campus’ relationship?
JD: I plan to be present on Sexton campus. By having things structured and having the three main points on my portfolio already done, that would allow me to allow more time for Sexton. For example, with the Transgender Issues Committee, we are working for preferred names to be used on class lists and university identification, as opposed to legal names. This use of preferred names can apply to international students as well, and there are a higher number of international students on Sexton campus. It’s really all about representing people.
DG: You’re the only VPI candidate to have run in an election before; what experiences have you brought from those past campaigns?
JD: I believe that I bring experience from a lot of different angles. This is my fourth time running in a DSU election, and my number one focus has always been student issues. My experience covers institutional knowledge as well as union knowledge. I’ve watched the council change, and I have always known that if you want to understand something then you need to be involved in it. I have always had a passion for the DSU, and I have used this passion to break down stereotypes and help bring people together. I have lots of experience with policy, the details of the elections and the constitution.
It’s about putting the time in. I have been involved for four to five years now, and that really shows. If I’m elected, I’m prepared. I have a lot of experience to bring.
It’s also really important to note that I have written platforms before, but that my platform this year is the best I’ve ever written: it is detailed and it shows transparency. I’ve gained the experience over past years that elections make you a better person, and that holding your integrity and values will always be more important than winning.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessDempsey4VPI