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HomeNewsCandidate Profile: Josh Gummett

Candidate Profile: Josh Gummett

Name: Josh Gummett

Program: Fourth-year mathematics

G: Why are you running for the VPI position?

Gummett: I’ve had a great experience with the DSU, and really gotten a lot from Dalhousie and the DSU through my years. Helping out with ‘Brains for Change’ and TEDxHalifax both drastically changed how I viewed myself as a person. Especially ‘Art of Hosting’ as well was a huge, huge game changer for me, how I viewed myself, how I viewed the world, and how I interact with it. And because of that, I feel that I’ve learned the skills to give the same experience to other students. And because I want to give back to the school and the DSU that gave so much to me.

G: What do you think the role of the VPI is?

Gummett: The VPI, in my understanding, is the chief communications officer of the DSU. So it deals with communication between the students, societies and the executive. And, of course, works with all the societies, helps with ratification, and deals with grants and funding for the societies.

G: Do you have any specific policies you plan on implementing if your campaign is successful?

Gummett: There are a few projects I’d like to work on. The DSU handbook is a great resource: they get 30 to 40 thousand dollars depending on the year, which is a huge amount of money. In this day and age, people are getting more technologically hands-on. People want technology, and people are trying to be greener. So I want to work on getting an app made. We have an entire computer science department: I feel like having an app—with a spot for societies, a spot for Soapbox, a spot for DSU goings-on, messages from the DSU and Dal—hopefully encompassing all of the messages we get from Dal. Personally, I get at least five emails every week. We could streamline this into one app—maybe one email—so that we’re not getting bombarded.

So the first one is communication. The other one is societies. I do not feel society training is run very well. I plan on stretching society training into a week-long event, with certain parts mandatory. The health and safety part would be mandatory, and we would do it three times in the week so that we can accommodate more people. And then there are some that would be mandatory only for new societies, such as writing a constitution. Having a week-long thing, and of course getting the message out quicker, would be great.

G: What makes you the best candidate for the position?

Gummett: I think I’ve learned a lot in the DSU. I’ve learned to be extremely organized. I know people have this sneaking suspicion that guys are dirty, and have rooms full of clothing on the floor. My room is very organized, I have colour-coded binders for my school work. I like to be very organized, and with that I am also very reliable. If someone needs something done, and I say I’m going to do it—I will get it done. And I’m very passionate about the DSU; it’s helped me so much. I really want to give back to it.

I feel like I’m a really good communicator. I get really excited very easily. I was told at my job a while back that I’m a bit like a puppy, I was like ‘Oh my gosh we can do this, this, and this!’—it’s something that I’ve learned about myself, so it’s something I’m growing with. I know I can get overexcited.

G: There have been a number of proposals this year to hold plebiscites or referenda asking students whether they ought to be able to opt out of all levied societies, and the DSU. Do you have any stance on these questions?

Gummett: I feel that this is a short-sighted idea. Students, in general, are not well off. I can see the beautiful idea ‘Oh my gosh I can save $9 a semester.’ That’s three beers. The problem with that is that is either A) we won’t be able to tell who opted out, so they will still be able to use the resources that other students paid for. Or B), if we keep students from using those resources, I don’t think it’s fair either. There might be a time in their life where they might need the services.

And I don’t think students realize how much the DSU does for them on the side of advocacy, or even organizing events. Even when I was a leader for orientation week, I did not realize that the people who planned and gave up their entire summer for orientation week were a committee. I thought they just got it from Dal, the multi-billion dollar organization. Not a lot of people know what the DSU does. And that is something I do want to change if elected. I want students to know what the DSU does and how they can help.

G: There has been a new elections system put in place for faculty level societies. Do you support the change?

Gummett: I think it’s a very good idea. There’s the stereotypical student we all hear about who’s too lazy to get out of his dorm and go to class. And I feel like if the election is online, there’s no excuse not to vote. We had a mere 12 per cent of students voting last year. That’s silly.

I feel like students should realize how important these representatives are; they represent your interests.

G: Neither the budget nor the annual report has been made available online this year. Is that something that ought be made available to students?

Gummett: Along with communication, another thing I think is very important is transparency. If the students don’t know where their money is going, that’s not fair to them. They are putting their money into the DSU, they trust us with it, and if we don’t tell them where it’s going I don’t think that is proper.

I’m guessing that if you wanted to find the information out you probably could. But it shouldn’t be something that you have to go searching for—especially with the DSU asking for a $4 increase. Which sounds like a lot, but they haven’t raised their student fees in 20 years. Another thing I think is important is that we should count for inflation in student fees.

G: Anything else you’d like to add?

Gummett: I’m very excited. There are great candidates. I hope that it turns out well for everyone, and that we get the best possible executive for next year.

Watch one of Gummett’s campaign videos:

Also running for VP (Internal) is Ramz Aziz.

Calum Agnew
Calum Agnew
Calum was a News Editor of the Gazette for Volume 146 and served as Assistant News Editor for Volume 145.
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