By Arman Izadi
The Ledger is back with another profile of involved engineers! This week we sat down with Mitch Dumont, a U4 Electrical Engineering student who has been extensively involved within the EUS, holding many positions and coordinating events such as Frosh and E-Week.
Ledger: So what made you get involved in the EUS and how?
Mitch: I wasn’t involved at all in my high school or CEGEP so it really started when I came to McGill. Through Frosh and the PPO members that I saw at Frosh I got motivated to get involved. The speech that the PPO gave and the environment of Frosh did a good job of promoting the sense of community and family of involved individuals that all care about their student societies and peers, which was nothing like what I’d seen before, and really motivated me.
I’m glad I didn’t get elected [ECSESS President] because I wound up coordinating Frosh and moved on to EUS VP Internal after my Frosh experience as well as CEC sponsorship experience.
So, I ran for U1 Representative of ECSESS against someone else. Fortunately we were both selected which was fun. Being a rep isn’t the most glamorous position but it really taught me a lot. I met a lot of people who were doing a lot of amazing things and being in the position really motivated me to keep being involved. The next year I was a Frosh leader and when the semester started I ran and got VP External of ECSESS. After that, I ran for ECSESS President but didn’t get it. Not getting elected really opened my eyes to other positions that I was not really aware of because I was so focused on campaigning for ECSESS President. In the end, I’m glad I didn’t get elected because I wound up coordinating Frosh and moved on to EUS VP Internal after my Frosh experience as well as CEC sponsorship experience.
L: What was the best McGill experience you’ve had so far?
M: [In] 2016-2017, when I was VP Internal, all the events were pretty much the best experiences but if I had to narrow it down, I’d say the last nights of Frosh and E-Week where the coords have a chance to let loose and enjoy the fruition of all the effort put in planning and running it. There’s some tears shed, some drinks drank and overall a fantastic feeling to see the event you put in months of work for basically come to an end and everyone had fun.
L: What are some big changes you’d like to see in the EUS?
There wasn’t as much free time to be able to work on new projects and new events due to being dragged down by all those day to day tasks.
M: An idea that came from Queens is hiring more paid positions or even making new paid positions. The reason behind this being that as an executive, there’s a lot of time in the day to day that’s allocated to menial tasks that can easily be achieved with a staff member who’s sole responsibility is taking care of that particular thing. For example, as Internal, why should I be sorting out the storage room? A paid space manager who’s in charge of maintaining that space would prevent this buildup of maintenance needs. There wasn’t as much free time to be able to work on new projects and new events due to being dragged down by all those day to day tasks.
L: What is your biggest recommendation for someone who wants to get involved?
It’s important to keep an open mind and explore outside of your comfort zone. You might surprise yourself. Also, it’s important to not get discouraged from applying to other things just because you got rejected from one thing.
M: Start off as early as possible. Start small. What I mean by that is, smaller committees or positions, like departmental representative, are great opportunities to kind of get the feeling of what you want to get involved in without having too much liability or responsibility. If you are selected or elected for a big position that you end up not liking it, you get stuck there and end up being overwhelmed and lose track of your priorities. Your idea of involvement might change after a couple of rejections from positions you apply for but that’s fine! It’s important to keep an open mind and explore outside of your comfort zone. You might surprise yourself. Also, it’s important to not get discouraged from applying to other things just because you got rejected from one thing.
L: What was the biggest challenge you faced in any of your positions?
[I]t was really hard to focus on one thing at a time when you’re doing so many different parts of the portfolio and new events at once. It was harder still not to overestimate myself.
M: I’ve always wanted to do one thing at a time and do it well. When I held smaller positions this was easier since there was no real liability and there was people always around willing to help. But as Internal I really struggled to maintain that focus. People are familiar with the portfolio and come to you with expectations and new ideas, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and agree to new ideas and start a million things without following through and losing sight of what the Internal is really meant to do. Because of that, it was really hard to focus on one thing at a time when you’re doing so many different parts of the portfolio and new events at once. It was harder still not to overestimate myself. It would’ve been better if I was able to hone in on one or two substantial ideas and learn how to say “No I can’t take that on right now, I need to focus”.