Editor’s note: Similar questionnaires have been sent out to all DSU position candidates.
Position: Vice- President (Academic & External)
Candidate: Erica Seelemann
Why are you running for VPAE?
I’m running for VPAE because throughout my degree at Dalhousie I’ve had this uncomfortable feeling that Dalhousie is not on my side. I distinctly remember searching for a job on mycareer and coming across a posting that was offering to pay men 3$ more than women. Recently, I’ve heard some unsavoury stories about how women student representatives are treated at government meetings. I’m unwilling to standby and accept this unfairness. I’d rather put myself right in the middle where I can make the changes that need to be made. Obviously I can’t claim to bring an end to all the issues I plan on addressing; what I can do it promise to make tangible steps in the right direction.
What do you admire about the current DSU executives?
It’s no secret that there has been turbulence between not only the DSU executives and students, but also the DSU executives and the university. I don’t agree with many of the decisions the executives have made, but I do admire the resolve that they’ve demonstrated when faced with resistance.
What would you like to see DSU do differently?
I would like to see more transparency and professionalism within the DSU. I believe that the DSU could have worked more efficiently and created more positive change this year if they were forthcoming with the student body. Closed doors have caused distrust.
What do you think is the biggest issue on campus right now? Is this a part of your campaign?
The biggest issue Dalhousie campuses face is that they are disconnected and unrepresentative of our students and the Halifax community.
On campus, the vast majority of goods and services are provided by large and wasteful franchises. I would like our campuses to support Halifax’s local businesses by selling their goods. I have already reached out to several this campaigning period and many are interested in the initiative. Eating local is more sustainable. It also fosters a sense of community and support for students struggling with food insecurity that our large franchises have never demonstrated.
Secondly, Dalhousie’s students come from over 115 countries, but the only holiday the DSU celebrates is Christmas with a tree in the SUB! We need to represent our students. I would like to create a space for all minority groups to display and share parts of their culture that they would like to be more visible. I believe very defined and tangible actions will help us improve minority representation in the most effective way.
What’s your favourite spot on campus?
I’m a neuro-geek in the process of becoming a cardiovascular-geek. Whenever I go to the CHEB or Tupper building I make an effort to walk through the hallway connecting the buildings. For anyone who hasn’t been there, it’s a white hallway, but one side is entirely windows. The white wall has raised photos of blood cells that are stunning. It makes me feel like I’m in the middle of what I’m studying.