The Pundits will offer commentary on the DSU Elections based on their unique personal experience with the DSU and its elections season.
The team has been assembled via an informal recruitment process jointly managed by existing pundits. If you weren’t asked to be part of it, please don’t be insulted. Yet. First, contact us asking to become part of the panel for next year. If we say no, THEN you can be insulted.
In the meantime, we are always open to guest commentary… and of course you cand send us any information you may have.
Profiles of the pundits follow.
Lisa first became involved with the DSU during her third year of undergrad (2004-2005) when she became the DSU Representative on Shirreff Hall Residence Council. The following year, she retained this position in a unanimous (though uncontested) election and became one of the Residence Community representatives on DSU Council.
Following her undergrad, while studying at Dalhousie Law School from 2006-2009, Lisa was on the DalOUT Executive, eventually rising to the position of President. For those three years, she was the LGBTQ Community Representative on DSU Council. In 2007, Lisa coordinated a successful referendum campaign resulting in a levy for DalOUT.
At last count, Lisa has held positions on upwards of nine DSU committees, often those dealing with constitutional revision. She also served as Chair of the Committee for Promotion of Diversity on Campus. Not one to let her non-student status get the best of her, Lisa served a two-year term on the DSU Board of Operations as an Alumni Member. She is currently completing an MA in English at the University of Saskatchewan.
A former election blogger on her own blog, Caring is Creepy, Jen is very excited to move her rants to punditry.ca along with so many old friends and fellow hacks.
Jen started her career in student politics on residence council for Eliza Ritchie Hall. After a stint as president there, she moved over to the DSU, first as an undergraduate senator and then as Vice President (Education). Since then, Jen has taken a “step back” from DSU politics…and by that she means she moved across the street to the law school and still relishes being in the trenches. An occasional guest chairperson for council, Jen has been ableto keep a finger on the pulse of the DSU.
Jen does not subscribe to the second wave feminist mantra that “the personal is political.” As a result, all of her opinions have to do with the candidates as political entities and not as human beings. Take her criticisms personally at your peril.
Janet’s first experience with the Student Union was at an Imagine DSU event. She was representing the Dalhousie Tea Drinkers’ Society, of which she is a founding executive and past president – by far, her greatest claim to fame at Dalhousie. She is currently a Board of Governors Representative on the DSU Council for 2009-2011 and is in her sixth year at Dalhousie, having completed a Mechanical Engineering degree and moved on to a Masters in Biomedical Engineering.
Janet’s DSU experience includes acting as the Sexton Campus Director for one and half terms. She has sat or currently sits on the Society Review Committee, Grants Committee, Sustainability Office Board, Sexton Campus Advisory Committee, and the Referendum Review Committee. On the board side, she also sits on the Student Experience and Academic Affairs and Research Committees.
Although extremely excited to be a pundit, it should be remembered that she’ll have to work with some of these people next year. If you want to know the real meaning behind what she’s written, increase her emotions threefold. Example: “I thought that that speech lacked validity,” read “I think that candidate is a lying scumbag” (lying scumbag = 3*[lacking validity]).
Victoria first got involved with the DSU when Mike Tipping told her to put her name in for Senator during an O Week leader party and she been on Council ever since (except the two years she fled the country). She now sits as the DAGS VP External Advocacy on Council and pretends not to care while sitting in the back but can’t help herself.
Victoria has been involved with numerous departmental and faculty level societies including DASSS and DAGS. She successfully co-captained Spread the Net @ Dal to a feature spot on the Rick Mercer Report; unfortunately his endorsement of her candidacy for VP Internal didn’t help. Instead she began her MA and got her LLB.
Feeling like her MA supervisor is moments away from kicking her out of school for not actually writing her thesis, Victoria has decided this is her last year at Dalhousie and having a bit of fun on punditry may well suit her before finishing her MA.
Much like one of her fellow pundits, Maggie was also first introduced to the DSU through her experience with running hot beverage-related events (Muggy Mondays) in her first year with SustainDal, a Dalhousie student society focused on encouraging and implementing sustainable practices on campus. Spending every Monday giving out free coffee and tea to travel mug users across from the information desk at the Student Union Building, she realized that it was most definitely the greatest job any university student could ask for. She applied for the job and worked on the DSU “front lines” for two years before running for Senate, and has been in this role for the past academic year.
Maggie is looking forward to being a pundit this year and hopefully providing a positive contribution to a fun and eventful election season! In the wise words of Lil’ Jon, “Let’s get bananas like a room full of apes.”
After finishing high school in Lunenburg, NS, Sandy entered Dalhousie University four years ago rather skeptical of student societies and what they could achieve. However, as a second year political science student, he joined the Dalhousie Undergraduate Political Science Society during the glorious tenure of former president Rob LeForte. Immediately convinced of the great potential of small societies to host great events (glory year for Poli Sci with US & Canadian Federal Elections), he ran to become the society’s treasurer. In that same year, Sandy took a borderline obsessive interest in Punditry, following Rob’s successful bid for in the DSU Elections. Resigning from the DUPSS executive in 3rd year to become treasurer of the Dalhousie Arts and Social Sciences Society, he spent a year learning the ins and outs of the DSU, it’s bigger societies and their committees. Sandy spent the last election campaign assisting with the election of the current VPI, and consequently glued to Punditry day and night. After failing in his bid for DSU VPFO in 2010, he stepped back to DUPSS and focused on some musical endeavours with former VPSL Kris Osmond. Unarguably the rookie of the Punditry team, he is anxious to continue to his foot stomping analysis of DSU Elections to come.
Mike Smit is a long-time political hack. His DSU involvement includes 4 years as a councillor, time on every DSU committee, 4 years as an A-level society executive, and a total of 6 years as a common sight in the halls of the DSU offices. He brought the first successful, widely-used online voting system to Dalhousie in 2002, and still manages iVoteOnline.com, which provides online voting software to 7 student groups at 4 universities. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Dalhousie before leaving in 2006 to pursue his PhD at the University of Alberta. Now Dr. Mike Smit, he works at York University as a PDF.
He has closely followed every DSU Election since 2000, served as a close advisor on technology and policy to the elections committee from 2002-2005, and took his commentary online via MikeSmit.com in 2005. After his site became a locus of information and commentary about DSU elections and DSU candidates, he decided to give others a similar soapbox via punditry.ca. He manages the 1′s and 0′s that the site runs on.
Eric has been involved with the DSU in various capacities, serving on Council (excluding brief stints to come up for air) since Fall 2006. A veteran of DSU elections, Eric ran the last three: a loss for Senate in 2007, a win in the same race in 2008, and a loss for President in 2009. His claim to faim is managing to successfully ward off the upstart campaign of one Gregory Debogorski for a second place Presidential finish. After three years of being ravaged by Mike Smit and his cronies, Eric has decided that if you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well join ‘em.
Currently, Eric is in the second year of his Master of Public Administration in the Faculty of Management, after having spend his undergrad doing stints in Computer Science, Arts and Social Sciences and even the University of King’s College (don’t tell anyone!). As such, he likes to think he brings a relatively broad crossection of perspectives of the university to Punditry.ca. In addition to his experience with the DSU Constitution, Society Policy, external lobbying groups and recruitment, Eric is the current President of the Dalhousie Association of Graduate Students. As such, he’s eager to see how the candidates incorporate graduate students into their platform.
Mike served as DSU Vice President (Education) in 2006-07 and President in 2007-08, a time now commonly known as the union’s “golden era.”
During his term as President, Mike focused on increasing student inclusion and interaction across all disciplines, student groups and campuses (even Yarmouth). He also led the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations for two of its most successful years and worked to bring tuition reductions and more and better financial assistance to university students across the province.
Mike pulled off a rare DSU election hat trick, winning his two executive campaigns and then managing the successful referendum to create and fund the Halifax Student Alliance.
He has now returned to his home state of Maine where he works as a communications specialist and political columnist.
Mike is also humble, unassuming, and wrote his own biography for this site.
Pundits of DSU Elections Past
Ann Elizabeth Beringer
Ann has the unique perspective of being a former DSU outsider, DSU insider, DSU employee and DSU observer. She launched her DSU career in 2005 when she was coerced into becoming CRO for the DSU General Election by several people who would go on to become great friends and student-politics mentors. Previously, she was involved in D-Level and resident societies. After serving as CRO, she continued her involvement by sitting on DSU Council as the International Students Representative as well as chairing the Arts and Social Sciences Society. During her time on DSU Council she was on several key committees including Grants, Society Policy and Constitution and Policy. After a failed bid at becoming the 2006-2007 DSU VP Education, she worked for the student advocacy service for a summer (Ann tells me she “looks forward someday to telling people that the only candidacy I ever lost was in university to future US President and fellow pundit Mike Tipping”). Ann stepped out of the student union spotlight that fall, starting a new degree in Informatics and devoting her time to the Computer Science Society. She occasionally finds herself a “consultant”, telling people what NOT to do, whenever campaign season comes around.
Mark is the current VP Education for the DSU. He joined the DSU executive team last year after an uphill battle against the no-vote for his position, which is to say – he ran unopposed. He is in the fourth year of an Environmental Science and Marine Biology degree at Dal. He has spent most of his free time while at Dal doing environmental and educational advocacy both inside and outside of the university. As a current DSU executive, Mark will be offering unbiased but highly critical commentary on all of the candidates in this race.
Zhindra started her involvement with the DSU as an exec on the Dalhousie Undergraduate Engineering Society in her second year. In her 3rd year she moved down to Sexton and proceeded to be a loud voice and a huge pain in the butt to the DSU exec at the time. She began writing for the Sextant, ultimately she was the treasurer for two year. She also wrote reports on things like T-Room redesign. In 2 years on the Sexton Engineering Society Zhindra was a strong voice in engineering student affairs. Zhindra has also been involved in bringing light to issues like security on campus, facilities problems, and DSU/Sexton relations. Zhindra was a member of the DSU elections committee in the 2009 year and over the following summer she was appointed Sexton Campus Director. In her short time on council she sat on the DSUSO board, Grants committee, was chair of the nominating committee and of course has been deputy chair of the Sexton Campus Advisory Committee.