It has come to the Dalhousie Student Union’s attention that Health Canada, the regulator for Canadian Blood Services, has still yet to reform outdated and irrelevant policies that prevent men who have had sex with other men from giving blood based solely on their sexual orientation and sexual history.
A group of Dalhousie social work students is working actively to raise awareness of this issue and campaign for reform through petitions and peaceful protest. The Dalhousie Student Union stands in support of these students’ efforts.
by Lindsay A. Dowling
As students of the millennial generation, we receive a great deal of criticism from our elders. We often hear that we drink too much, party too hard, lack experience and (my personal favorite) we’re too self-entitled…. Who do we think we are for questioning our society and challenging preconceived notions of how our world operates, how we treat each other and what our priorities as a human beings should be!? Why should we care that a large majority of the world’s population is underrepresented because they lack what should be basic human rights, rights such as access to education, equality and sustainable resources including food, housing and transportation? As millennials, we often hear that we are too naive, ambitious and inexperienced. But the reality is, that at one point in our lives, no matter what generation we are a part of, we have all questioned the world around us. It’s only with the relatively recent emergence of social media that we have actually had easy access to tools that allow us to connect with the global community. Social media has given many of us a voice that allows us to express our discontent with the political make up of all levels of government. Younger generations are now more informed about political structures and those who govern them. We are now in a position to make informed about political structures and those who govern them. We are now in a position to make informed recommendations and decisions on issues that impact us as individuals and our communities as a whole.
by Lindy Isner
On September 22nd, over 400 individuals representing more than 200 societies packed into the McInnes Room in the Student Union Building to learn all about how to be a society. From lecture sessions on Risk Management, Diversity and the Co-Curricular Record to an interactive networking lunch and some leadership training, Society Training was a fun an informative day for both societies at Dal and those of us at the DSU.
September is a busy month for societies and the DSU. Along with our annual Society Training day, the bi-annual DSU Society Fair is held just after Orientation Week as an opportunity for societies to showcase themselves and attract new members. This year, interest in societies has been at an all-time high! Over 120 societies registered for the fair with society tables spilling out into the corridors and the lobby of the SUB. This unprecedented response just goes to show how important societies are to student life at Dalhousie and the DSU!
And societies have always been the backbone of the DSU, holding a particularly important place in our history. In fact, the Dalhousie Gazette, Canada’s oldest student newspaper, played a paramount role in the early days of our union. On November 10th, 1869, the students of Dalhousie accepted ownership from its founding editors allowing the student government, then known as the University Students’ Council, to elect the editors of the paper, and manage its finances.
Today, the DSU still manages the Gazette’s finances. This practice has even extended to all levied and faculty societies at Dal today, meaning the fees you pay to your respective faculties and student-levied societies such as the Loaded Ladle and the Gazette (to name a few!), are administered through the DSU. With students in mind, we ensured and continue to ensure your fees are put to good use.
At Dalhousie we have over 250 societies – with that number growing every year! Along with the Gazette, some of our oldest societies are still active today. The first faculty society, the Dalhousie Medical Students Society, was formed in 1870 and paved the way for all faculties at Dalhousie to ratify societies that handle student faculty fees. In 1913, the Faculty of Medicine along with the faculties of Arts and Science, Law and Dentistry held 14 seats on the University Students’ Council, and over 100 years later, all Dalhousie faculty societies send members to represent their students’ voices on the DSU council!
But it’s not just faculty societies that have a prominent place in the history of student societies at Dalhousie University. On January 10th, 1879, the debating society, SODALES, was formed as the first general-interest society on campus. Still active today, SODALES is joined by over 150 other general interest societies ranging from arts and crafts societies, politically driven societies, athletic societies and even residence-based societies. That number continues to grow each and every year.
Societies continue to be an integral part of the Dalhousie Student Union. With the Vice President (Internal) and a dedicated Society Coordinator ready, willing and able to help any student wishing to start a society, run a society, apply for a grant, seek help ratifying their society and even advice on planning and executing events, student groups are in great hands. With many exciting initiatives planned for this, the DSU’s 150th Anniversary, we hope to make this the best year yet for societies at Dalhousie University!
Visit www.dsu.ca/societies today to find out how you can join a society, or even start your own (always encouraged)!
by Katelynn Northam
No doubt most readers were sufficiently swayed by my exceedingly convincing arguments over the last few days that it is extremely important to vote in the upcoming Halifax Regional Municipality General Election. Naturally I would love to believe that every last one of you will be out there on October 6th, eagerly waiting for the polls to open so you can participate in the wonderful social experiment that we call democracy. Given, however, that for the most part we exist in a less than ideal version of reality, I am very much aware of the fact that intent to vote and the actual turnout are very different things.
by Kat LaFortune
My time in Halifax has been filled with many firsts. Moving to Nova Scotia was the first time I’d moved away from home (I’m originally from Ottawa), first time being in grad school, first time living on my own, and first time really being involved in my school’s community. During my undergrad at Carleton University, I completely took for granted the vast number of opportunities available for me to get involved, make a difference, and have a ton of fun in the process. I had no idea that by getting involved with student politics, I would be exposed to so many interesting people, topics, and responsibilities. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to travel around Canada to speak with other student leaders about student issues, organize events that will impact grad students’ experiences, and be directly involved with policy-shaping and driving change. It’s an incredible experience and I would recommend getting involved at Dalhousie in any capacity to anyone.
I was listening to CBC’s show ?Q? recently, and one of the guests was Raj Patel. He was introduced as a writer, academic, and activist and is otherwise known for his criticism of the global food system. He recently wrote an article published in The Atlantic called “Abolish the Food Industry” and spent his interview trying to answer the question, should unhealthy food be regulated like alcohol and tobacco?
Jamie Arron, President
It seems to me that the basic structures of our government systems are bound to be quite drastically revamped within our lifetimes. Given the explosion of communication technologies and digital medias that have been born in the last 20 years, the traditional means of interaction between governments and citizens feels just a tad bit outdated to our generation.
Fam Jam Quad Party | O-week 2012
Ever hear the expression: “you only get one chance to make a first impression?” You have? Great! As cliché as it may sound, it’s true and exactly why we at the Dalhousie Student Union have been putting our blood, sweat and tears into planning kick-ass Orientation Weeks for incoming first-year students since 1927. You would think that a tradition dating back 85 years would’ve looked a lot different back then than it does today and in some respects you’d be right.
Guest blog by John Hutton, DSU Representative for the LGBTQ Community
It’s incredible to think about the changes that have happened to our society over the last 25 years. When Halifax’s first LGBTQ pride march took place in 1988, there were people that covered their faces with paper bags out of fear that they would be fired for their sexuality. People on the sidewalk hurled insults at the marchers, who were using strength in numbers to speak out against the homophobic violence and bigotry that were all too normal. Today in 2012, the pride march is a very different event than eighty nervous-but-vocal activists. Nearly thirty-thousand people attend the pride parade every year to see over one hundred colourful entries. Affiliation with a rainbow flag isn’t something that will get you fired, but something corporations use to boost sales. Even conservative politicians feel obligated to show their support for LGBTQ people by attending the parade. 25 years ago, it must have seemed so unlikely that society could have moved so far.