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Student impact

DSU President Madeleine Stinson focuses on accountability, sustainability and community building.

HER BACKSTORY: Born and raised near London, Ont., Stinson’s interest in Dalhousie was piqued when she discovered its strength in sustainability studies—something she continues to pursue now as a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Management majoring in Environment, Sustainability and Society. Stinson’s campaign for the dsu presidency earlier this year centred around three key priorities: executive accountability, organizational sustainability, and a better community. COVID-19 has forced Stinson and her team to rethink how to follow through on some of their promises, but she insists changes in the works now will ensure the dsu works better for students. “We are doing a complete review of all of our policies, which doesn’t happen often. We are changing a lot of procedures to make sure that it is accountable, it’s transparent, it’s ethical.”

“I think it’s really important that student leadership needs to be a little bit more vulnerable in how we act. At the end of the day, I’m a 20-year-old student—I’m not going to get it right all the time.”

HIGHLIGHTS: In high school, Stinson was an active member of a non-profit group that offers training for youth interested in building business leadership skills. She eventually moved into the role of president for the group’s regional chapter. The experience opened her eyes to her own future ambitions, but not in the way she expected. “I found business to be not compassionate enough for what I wanted to do. There just wasn’t enough room for compassion and community and contributing to society in the way I wanted to,” she says, helping explain her decision to expand her studies into environmental issues.

WHY I DO IT: “I never thought I would run for president. Despite what my past sounds like, I prefer to do my own thing. I don’t really love being the centre of attention. But I came to the point where I saw that the dsu wasn’t having a positive impact on all students,” she says. “I wasn’t in the position to enact the change that I wanted to see, so I said, ’Well, if I can’t get into the room now, I’ll run and then chair the conversation. I’ll be that person.’”