DSU Presidential Candidate: Maddie Stinson

Position: DSU President 

Candidate: Maddie Stinson 

With files from Lane Harrison. This interview was edited for length and style. 

In this image: Maddie Stinson.
Photo by Lane Harrison

Why are you running for this position?  

I decided to run because this year was a real eye-opener for me on how much the DSU really impacts the student experience. I want to make sure that every student who interacts with the DSU get something positive out of that, and that we are doing our most as a union, to make students feel supported and celebrated and create spaces to connect… because there’s just so much going on in the world in our lives. even going to school is so hard that I think students deserve a place to, to come together and like embrace one another.  

I want to see that happen, because I don’t think that people feel the DSU can be a part of that community. I think the DSU is seen as like, this thing that we have, it’s an other, it’s not an us. And I want to make sure it can be part of the student experience in a good way. 

What do you admire about the current DSU executive? 

I read through the old interviews, so I knew this was going to be a question… I’ve been very vocal about disagreements I have with the current executive, but at the same time, this year’s executive has shown that, whether I like it or not, they stick to their guns and they are zealous advocates for their, their campaigns and their causes. And, I also really appreciate the social justice angle they’ve taken with this year. They’ve done some really, really good work in terms of, you know, making the DSU a bit more inclusive, because traditionally it hasn’t been.  

But it’s a hard job. Yeah. And I think there are student organizations on campus where the President’s don’t make it through the full year and you know, you’re running a union for 20,000 students and even if it didn’t go as planned, you still did it. 

What would you like to see the DSU do differently? 

I would like to see the DSU be reminded that it is supposed to be a service for students. And that, I think we lose sight of some of those logistical and operational necessities and things are, are falling through the seams and they don’t need to be if we took a little bit of an analytical approach with some things, I think we could really, you know, optimize our resources to better help students. So I’d like to see us just remember that in essence it is some sort of a business as well, a not for profit. And I mean I’m biased because I’m a business student and I see everything as business I think. 

You’ve had a front row seat to some of the main issues that the DSU have had to deal with this year. How would you approach some of those issues?  

That is interesting, to like, think about what I would do if I had to deal with me. It wouldn’t be easy, ’cause I’ve been pretty, pretty consistently annoying. But I think the biggest thing in situations where, you know, your constituents are upset. They don’t agree with your choices or your decisions is to, one: be willing to listen to them and validate their concerns because I didn’t feel that this year, two:  be accountable for your decisions, man willing to take responsibility when you mess up.  

Should I win? I’m not gonna promise anyone a perfect term. There’s no way, I’m 20 years old. It’s not gonna be perfect. But if I mess up, you know, students are going to know. And I’m going to accept that and apologize and move on. Yeah. Because I think we need to we need to move forward and not be stuck in everything that’s happened this year. I think if we were just a little willing, a little more willing as executives to, to accept the vulnerability in that position, Students wouldn’t feel so isolated from the union, and like the executives aren’t students, or peers or friends… because I think we should be. 

What do you think is the biggest issue on the campus right now? 

On campus? So many. But I think first and foremost is its campuses, and everyone on campus’s willingness to – this is gonna sound really weird – but a willingness to admit that we’re vulnerable as people because I think, you know, obviously everyone has a reputation to uphold the DSU, Dalhousie, you know, all of our students who are here trying to make a name for themselves, but I think if we’re all a little bit more comfortable in the awkwardness of our lives, we’d all be able to connect a lot more. And that would create a much more inclusive space.  

If we were all just a little bit more open with one another, like I think we would find that we’re so unique, but we’re also all so similar. And that, the things that we see that divide us and divide society and like, they’re there. But we can work together on these things.

What are you watching on Netflix right now? 

I just watched The Dawn Wall with my roommates. It’s about a guy who climbs El Capitan in Yosemite and he’s a crazy athlete, super inspirational. It makes you just want to like, move to a national park and live there forever. But I don’t have a lot of time for Netflix right now. I wish I did. 

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