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Board11/Nominations

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Contents

Nominations to Run for the 2011 Board of Directors

According to the Bylaws, nominees for the Board of Directors must either be a current member of an FC chapter or currently serving on the Board.

Reminder, nominations close at Midnight PDT on April 10, 2011. See the rest of the calendar on the main Election page.

Timeline

Nominations are accepted through April 10. Between April 11 and April 17, candidates will answer questions from the community and participate in one live Q/A session.

Chapters will receive e-vote tokens by email on April 25th, and must cast their votes by May 7th. The results will be announced on May 9th.

How to nominate someone

  1. Contact that person.
  2. Edit this page and copy-paste the template below.
  3. Complete the information to reflect your nominee.

What to do if you are nominated

  1. Wait for your sponsor to add you to this page.
  2. Update the Bio and Statement sections below your name.

List of Nominees

(in alphabetical order, by last name)

Last Name, First Name, Chapter

  • Nominated by ...

Bio

Statement

Bezzina, Neville, Malta

  • Nominated by myself

Bio

I am a BA English grad from the University of Malta, where I wrote my thesis on serialsed blog/rss based web-fiction. At the moment I'm pursuing a DiploFoundation/ISOC sponsored postgrad course in Internet Governance, focusing mainly on issues of copyright and ISP liability on network content. My interest in social media, intellectual property issues as well as telecoms policy have led me to attend several conferences organised by the Malta Communications Authority and Comnet Foundation. Through my current job placement at ICT Malta I am currently also working on my research by visiting the working group at GO (one of the biggest ISP's in Malta) responsible for the nation's IPv6 switchover, and am setting up a virtual working group to contribute to the EuroDig event in May 2011 in Belgrade and hopefully this year's IGF in Kenya.


Statement

My main goal for the Malta chapter at the moment is to promote the R2RC coalition at the University of Malta through information campaigns and collaborations with established student organisations such as the MMSA. I would also like to see the Free Culture movement spread to the EU and am actively working with 3 other of my chapter members and other European chapters to make this possible.

I have a lot of experience managing student organisations both of local and international scope, having served as President and Vice President of DESA (the Department of English Student Association) and being currently on the executive board of JEF Malta (Young European Federalists) as well as a subcommittee member of AEGEE-Valletta and a member of their International Politics Working Group. I have also founded the Malta free culture chapter, which is generating a lot of interest on campus from all sections of the population (sciences, IT, law and humanities in particular) through our regular 'copynight/cc-salon' style events.

Fassina, Andrea, York

  • Nominated by Ben
  • Nomination accepted

Bio

I a master student in Electronic engineering with management at the University of York. My thesis is on integrating Wikipedia and YouTube for Connected TVs. I have started a Free Culture chapter in my university and I have already served one term on the Board. I have helped in the organization of SFC NYC and I am working to organize a SFC conference in Bruxelles. I like football, old Italian movies and going to the beach. My main goal at the moment is to make the European conference happen, by working alongside European chapters. I am interested in exploring the economic side of open software, network neutrality open course.

Statement

I want to raise awareness in the EU for Free Culture issues and promote the organization at an international level. The pragmatical approach is to organize a Free Culture conference in Europe. At York I have worked on spreading Free Culture issues, through radio shows and engaging academics by opening a discussion on Indect - an EU funded project aimed at building identities of people online, the events at which they participate and the relationships that they have in these events. My goal is to create a composite network of students where topics such as network neutrality, open course and the economics of open source can be discussed from different points of view. For this reason I am working in organizing the European conference by setting up roundtables where all stakeholders are present and can cooperate, learn and innovate in creating a better Internet.

Francois, Camille, Sciences Po

  • Nominated by Aditi Rajaram
  • Nomination accepted

Bio

I am a Master's Student in International Relations, enrolled in a dual degree between SciencesPo in Paris, France and in Columbia, NY where I study the various impacts of the Internet on International Affairs. I've been engaged with Free Culture issues since a couple of years and I discovered SFC after doing an internship at the Open Video Alliance. I became very enthusiastic about the movement and founded the French Chapter of SFC when I came back in Paris. Our French chapter is very interested on the public affairs and legal issues of Free Culture and on its cultural impacts. Even if I am trying to get the chapter more involved in the technical and free software side of free culture I have to admit that I really enjoy seeing that we all have a different take on what our Free Culture movement can create. It is an honor to have been nominated this year, and I gladly accept this nomination: I would love to put my energy and my vision at the service of our movement for a year.

Statement

I believe the strength of SFC lies is its amazing community, and I would love to see our movement grow even bigger this year. I think this implies to work on:

  • being more visible: this implies to work on our website but also to reach out to the online and offline media.
  • being very clear on the values that structure our community: I want to help structuring all the material we gathered, and to start a collaborative campaign to write and broadcast a new manifesto.
  • making it very easy to create new chapters: by providing help and assistance to those who want to, by giving them toolkits and guides with ideas of precise events and initiatives that they can undertake in their new chapters.

I would like to insist on three main challenges for our community this year:

  1. Getting Creative - We should encourage, structure and help all creative people that orbit around our movement. I think SFC should delve more into the artistic implications of our values.
  2. Getting Global - New chapters open all around the world, which implies new efforts of communication and coordination among them.
  3. Getting Influential - SFC should position itself as an incontrovertible voice on the issues we tackle: our challenge is to be more audible and to provide specific and structured propositions in the public debate while keeping our participatory and open philosophy for all members.

Gabriel, Pérez-Irizarry, University of Puerto Rico

  • Nominated by myself
  • Nomination accepted, duh ;)

Bio

I'm a computer engineering senior at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus. I've the chapter leader at UPRM since its founding on 2008. As chapter leader I've helped to organize dozens of activities at UPRM. I see Free Culture as a long term vision for a world where each individual is made free by having equal access to the tools of creation. So that anyone can build whatever he or she desires and whatever he or she desires. A world where we can express ourselves without artificial boundaries. A society that is run from the bottom up, a society who's main driving force is collaboration and community. I believe in everything open source, from fashion to furniture and from software to sodas. I dream of a world where everything is open source.

How did I get interested in Free Culture? Well, I got interested in Free Culture through free software, that was my red pill ;) As a consequence I got directly involved in Free Software development through various opportunities I've had over the years. I was lucky enough to get to work at the IBM Linux Technology Center, also I worked on the 2010 Google Summer of Code for the Sunlight Foundation and I've worked on various FOSS projects related to research at my campus. Also I've spoken about FOSS and Free Culture in different conferences in Puerto Rico, including Tecno-Caribe, one of the biggest in the Caribbean. My native tongue is Spanish but I'm fully fluent in English, and one day I want to learn Japanese.

Statement

I would like to see the organization becoming more global, specifically I want to help expand the Free Culture movement to Spanish speaking countries. I think Free Culture could find fertile ground in Latin America. Here in Puerto Rico this ideas have caught on up to a certain point. There is already a lot of big Free Software communities in Latin America and usually Free Software people are also Free Culture people. Also in Latin America we've seen interesting developments in remix culture such as Tecno brega. People who are into these kind of scenes are usually also interested in Free Culture.

Another I think I would like to work on is on increasing participation at the global organization. I think we need more volunteers at this level to increase the cooperation between chapters and to see the overall strength of the organization to grow. We need more man and women power to carry out the important tasks that we need to carry out in order to advance the Free Culture movement. Often times we have great ideas but we don't have the means of implementing those, I believe we have to change that.

Kamdar, Adi, Yale

  • Nominated by Aditi Rajaram

Bio

Adi is a rising senior at Yale University, majoring in History of Science, History of Medicine. He started the Free Culture chapter at Yale University his freshman year, and now he's a member of the current board of directors for Students for Free Culture. He's worked with the Open Video Alliance and has interned at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He's generally more interested in the legal aspects of the free culture movement, though he's done a fair amount of work advocating for open access at Yale.

Statement

Having been on the board for the past year, I have an understanding of where Students for Free Culture is, where it needs to go, and how to get there. There are some basic, structural changes that need to be made in order to make this group more of a group—various tasks we can take to help support chapters, to teach people about our movement, and to make staying in contact easier. Personally, I think we need to make our face as an organization as user friendly as possible: from a more superficial point of view, this means making our site MUCH more easily navigable, with links to statements and positions in layman terms; from a deeper point of view, we need to realize that the free culture movement cannot survive if it is simply imposing ways, be they FOSS or Creative Commons or whatever, upon people. The underlying reasons behind these often get lost in highly-technical advocacy or staunch/abrasive campaigns.

This shift can start by putting more emphasis on our blog (and getting it fixed!). We need to highlight examples of free culture in motion. Just because something doesn't use a "free" licenses doesn't mean it's not free culture. Just because someone uses Photoshop or Flash to create a work of art doesn't mean they don't support free culture. There are greater ideas at stake in this movement that can't afford to get lost in being nit-picky.

I would also like to focus on making Open Access / Open Educational Resource related tools, ranging from advocacy fliers and pamphlets, to mock letters, to overviews of the technology required behind these. Initiating campaigns for these important movements is tough—there are many barriers to entry—but small steps like these (e.g. "recipes") will go a long way in helping chapters out.

Leavitt, Alex, USC Annenberg

  • Nominated by Parker Phinney

Removed

I've decided to pull out of the election to focus on the local USC chapter for the next year and work closely with Kevin Driscoll, as well as the Core team as a volunteer, so I can gain more experience with SFC (having been away from the action for 2 years) and be a better candidate for the following year.

McDowell, Zach, UMass Amherst

  • Nominated by Parker Phinney
  • Nomination Accepted

Bio

I am a PhD student at UMass Amherst in the Department of Communication. I have been involved in many activist organizations over the years, from PETA to Planned Parenthood Outreach, to general organization of progressive students (I founded the Progressive Student Union at ASU as an undergrad). Additionally I recently founded the SFC chapter at UMass Amherst. I've been working for the last few years at OIT (the Office of Information Technology) helping professors utilize technology in the classroom - part of this, of course, focuses on helping them understand fair use and creative commons. I love teaching about these ideas - from my undergrads to other grads to faculty and staff. Its become such a passion that I'm currently writing my dissertation on some of the aspects of Free Culture (I like sharing).

Statement

I would love to help serve on the board for a few reasons. There seems to be a lot of opportunities that we could create with different projects to get SFC chapters engaging their campuses on an international level. One, for example, could be promoting FOSS Learning Management Systems (LMS) on campus - I was recently involved in testing LMS systems over the past year and a half and learned a lot about how to campaign for a FOSS alternative. Specific goals can help to get organizations moving and gaining steam to push the next one out. We could also coordinate together to set up a few of these projects and have them for chapters to choose from. I'd love to work on helping to design some campaigns "in a box" (meaning that we have all the stuff for them already ready) to distribute to interested groups, I can design flyers and logos and such.

Before returning to finish my PhD my last job was working as a Marketing Director for an Architecture company (and before that I had some other similar jobs for quite a few years) - so I've got a lot of experience regarding long term strategic growth paths. I promised I'd never go back to "that life" but sometimes skills can be applied for much better things. I think that currently it seems like you (we) wish to get more people involved in SFC, get chapters to get more active, and to attract those that don't yet know what we're doing. There are plenty of ways we can approach this.

Pavlosky, Nelson, New York Law School

  • Nominated by Jimmy Kaplowitz
  • Nomination accepted.

Bio

Nelson Pavlosky is currently a 3rd year law student visiting at New York Law School. Nelson co-founded Students for Free Culture as well as its first chapter, Free Culture Swarthmore. He also co-founded Free Culture GMU, the new chapter at New York Law School, and helped run Free Culture 5C (the Claremont Colleges). He served on the original Board, and helped write the Bylaws that created the democratically elected Board. He has visited many SFC chapters around the United States, worked heavily on the SFC website, shipped endless care packages to chapters, and has attended or helped organize almost every SFC conference. He has interned at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and SPARC/ARL. In the distant past he co-founded a youth group for aspiring fireworks professionals called the Junior Pyrotechnics Association, and in the less distant past he co-founded OpenHatch.org.

Platform

To begin, I appreciate the opportunity to share my ideas with the SFC community. If elected, I will work closely with my fellow Board members to determine how to effectively use my experiences from the past to put forth proposals and develop practices that will make SFC stronger and more sustainable.

I promise that if I am elected I will execute on every plank of my platform, or at least document why I failed or abandoned that plank, so that those who come after me can learn from my mistakes. At the end of my term I will publish a document examining SFC's progress on each plank of my platform, so that you will know how we did and how we can do better :)

Without further ado, my platform!

  1. SFC should speak to the world as the voice of students on free culture issues. SFC should have a presence in the halls of government to make sure that our generation is not being ignored and that our issues are on the agenda. Public Knowledge and others have offered in the past to help SFC organize "Hill days" where we engage with / lobby politicians in DC, and I think it's high time we executed this proposal. I also believe that SFC should do publicity stunts and actively seek attention from the press/blogosphere/twitterverse, to get our agenda into the public eye. I would create a roadmap/timeline for a Hill day, and investigate methods for raising SFC's public profile.
  2. SFC should take clear stances on issues, or at least explain why it does not have a clear position. SFC should have a platform of goals that is pursuing in an obvious place on its website. Although we are a big tent organization and I do not want to exclude people, I believe that there are many issues where our organization has complete consensus, and we could take an position without excluding anyone. On issues where we do not have complete consensus amongst our membership, we should engage in research in order to resolve empirical questions (aren't we in academia?) and write papers and engage in debates over philosophical issues in hopes of resolving them or at least clarifying the disagreements. This will make it easier to explain to the world what SFC is/does/cares about, and will make it easier for SFC to take action on our issues. I would encourage collaborative drafting of policy proposals, circulating them until we develop a consensus, and then making plans to advance our policy goals.
  3. SFC needs a vision. "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the sea." I will be the first to admit that our early attempts to create inspirational texts, such as the Manifesto, were flawed. Nevertheless, it is not enough to have a list of policy proposals on our website, or a list of causes we support. What is needed is an overarching vision of the future that we want to build. We need to communicate why a free culture is important, why our movement matters. SFC's website currently fails at this task, where it and any future promotional materials we create need to succeed. If we do not inspire people then we will only be preaching to the converted, those who are already inspired. During my term I will write a series of blog posts capturing the thoughts of activists from the free culture movement on the meaning of free culture, and encourage others to do the same, in an effort to grope towards some concise inspirational documents. Once I feel that we have enough material to draw from I will condense these thoughts into texts that could fit onto a pamphlet or about page, with the help of the community.
  4. SFC should provide personal support to new chapters. Starting a new chapter is challenging, especially if there are initially only one or two people involved. I believe every new chapter should have a mentor from an established chapter to give them advice and make sure that they have all of the help and support they need. If a chapter dies, the mentor should be responsible for telling the Board what happened, in order to help us take steps to prevent similar chapter deaths in the future, if possible. I will personally mentor at least one new chapter, and organize a system for assigning a mentor to each new chapter.
  5. Students for Free Culture should have an employee to do tasks that are difficult/unrewarding for student volunteers, to ensure consistent operations through all points of the year (it can be challenging for students to engage around midterms/finals), and help provide continuity. SFC should raise enough money to hire a full-time employee, and it should acquire 501(c)3 tax-exempt status to make it easier to raise money. I would make this a high priority, publishing a roadmap/timeline with all of the necessary steps for 501(c)3 status / fundraising / hiring an employee, and keeping the organization updated on our progress in this matter with the public roadmap.
  6. Students for Free Culture should have virtual global meetings on a regular basis. In the past SFC has used conference calls and IRC chats to keep everyone up to date on the organization's activities, to plan global events and projects, to ensure that local chapters are getting the help and support that they need, and to strengthen community. I feel that meetings are necessary in order to get SFC members besides the Board involved in running the global organization, and I am conscious of the fact that many people have expressed a desire for the return of the regular meetings. Although I personally think that IRC is the ideal medium, I am extremely open to trying other methods of communication, and I would begin by experimenting with several methods in order to determine what the current "state of the art" is and what combination of communication methods would best suit SFC's needs today. (For example, the GroupMe group texting that Aditi and others used at SFCNYC showed promise, although it does not lend itself to the extensive discussion and dialogue that a meeting can encourage.) Whatever the medium, I feel that for group cohesion, SFC should have regular meetings that include as many members from around the world as possible, ideally once a week in order to maintain momentum and make it harder to forget that a meeting is occurring. I would take responsibility for ensuring that meetings happen regularly during my term, and, most importantly, develop mechanisms to make sure that meetings are an efficient use of everyone's time. I would also take steps to institutionalize these practices so that they continue after I am gone.
  7. SFC chapters should regularly distribute propaganda/goodies. I would immediately resume the practice of sending new chapters care packages containing swag from friendly organizations, and institutionalize it. This would be a perfect task for an employee, but until then perhaps we can get a large, stable chapter or cluster of chapters to get together once a semester and ship things. I would take responsibility for making sure care packages get shipped during my term and make sure there is a system in place to continue it by the time I leave office.
  8. SFC should have its own swag. I would make sure that SFC has a print run of professional quality pamphlets, flyers, stickers, buttons, t-shirts, etc. to include in our future care packages. (A mixture of donated items produced by professional graphic designers and student volunteers may be ideal.) I would ensure that the source files are all collected in an obvious place on our website to encourage their modification and the creation of future swag, and to allow people to print their own if the global org does not send them enough. I would encourage the development of a system for regularly producing SFC swag and sharing it.
  9. SFC should enact change at our schools. What is happening with the Open University Campaign? How can it be made more effective/visible? How can we make real improvements at our schools, and ultimately at every school around the world? I would experiment with concrete action items for improving our schools, initially on a small scale, but then, after sharing best practices we could continue to develop a plan for moving the Open University Campaign forward, or decisively abandon it.
  10. Our website should rock harder. I helped build it originally, I know it is not as user-friendly as it could be, and although Parker and others have made significant improvements, it still has a long way to go. I would regularly attend webteam meetings (I've been working with the webteam, but not regularly), encourage members to lend a hand (in creating content if website development is not their thing), and work to make it as easy for members to contribute to our website as possible. I would also investigate ways to increase our presence on social networks and experiment with ways to use other web-based tools to advance our mission.

Ultimately, perhaps the best reason you should elect me is because as co-founder, I love SFC like my child, and you cannot elect someone who will care more about its future than I do. I am willing to put in the time and labor necessary to give it a brighter future.

However, while I would be honored to formally serve this organization again, I would also be content to have other candidates adopt planks they found relevant from my platform and execute them without me. SFC is designed to provide opportunities for new voices -- in the past, I pushed hard to get the organization's name changed from FreeCulture.org to Students for Free Culture and limit it to a student organization, precisely because I wanted to ensure an age limit that would force leadership turnover. I feel it is important for there to be a place in the movement where young people can take positions of authority, to make sure that the movement has strong leadership in the years to come.

We are fortunate that such strong potential leaders as my fellow candidates exist in our community because, given the challenges we face, all of them will be necessary. However, in order to grow the movement and provide more of those opportunities, we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. I am a candidate because I want to use my insights, informed by my institutional memory, to provide the best data possible to the Board as it seeks to lead SFC into an extraordinarily successful year.

Phinney, Parker, Dartmouth

  • Nominated by Aditi Rajaram
  • Nomination accepted

Bio

Parker's a rising senior at Dartmouth, majoring in computer science. He's been involved with SFC for something like 6 years now, having founded a chapter at his high school at the beginning of his junior year (and one at Dartmouth immediately upon arriving there). He's finishing up his first year serving on the board. He's interned at OpenHatch.org and Creative Commons. Other than doing SFC stuff, he really likes writing code that makes life better.

Platform

I want to make the national SFC org a volunteer powerhouse! I want to make it stupidly easy for volunteers to get involved with stuff at the global level--greeting new chapters, running campaigns, helping with the conference, etc etc.

As part of this, I've moved all of the board's email chatter to an open mailing list and installed a todo-tracker system that almost works. But technology alone isn't going to make this happen. It's going to take a lot of human effort to build a lively volunteer base at the national level. This will include:

  • Putting a lot of time in to assembling great documentation on the wiki
  • Paying a lot of attention to how volunteers are feeling and doing a great job of making them feel really proud to be helping out
    • By doing things like thanking them on our microblog(s) and blog, sending them chocolate, and giving them official volunteer positions (complete with a photo and bio on our about page)

I really think that a lively volunteer base at the level of the global org is what SFC needs in order to take the next step in its growth as an organization.

Piccirillo, Danny, Hampshire

  • Nominated by Parker Phinney
  • Nomination accepted

Bio

Danny Piccirillo is a freshman at Hampshire College and is deeply interested in issues concerning the control and distribution of information, especially as it relates to free speech, art, and feminism. He has been involved with free culture and free software for years, mainly with promoting projects and local advocacy work. During high school he was heavily involved with Ubuntu, and raised over $2000 USD to fund his own project-- hosting a booth at the Anime Boston convention to showcase Ubuntu, free software, and free cultural works such as Elephant's Dream and the Morevna Project. He also compiled LibrePlanet's software freedom activism guide which could be expanded to apply to free culture in general. During 2010 he worked for the Free Software Foundation as a Summer intern, and he continues volunteering regularly. He also likes volunteering at conferences and has helped at Students for Free culture 2011, LibrePlanet 2010 & 2011, The Next Hope, Open video Conference, and National Conference for Media Reform.

Statement

I'd love to help serve on the board to address the biggest weakness I see in the movement: making free culture easy to understand and accessible. It seems that many important organizations like SFC, FSF, etc mostly reach out to people who are already interested and aware of the issues at hand (though they're getting much better!). I envision making changes that would make the website more welcoming for newcomers, providing more introductory information and streamlining the process of starting local/student chapters, as well as making promotional materials accessible for people to remix, translate, and share. I would also like to see SFC become a registered 501(c)3 organization, and would be willing to put time into making that happen. Lastly, SFC needs to organize itself such that it can be sustained by the core team and volunteer base, so that the board only has to do what it exists to do.

Rajaram, Aditi, NYU

  • Nominated by Adi Kamdar
  • Nomination accepted

Bio

I'm a graduating senior at NYU who's been a Free Culturer for almost four years now. I'm pretty friendly and outgoing, and in addition to currently being on the board I'm serving as president of Free Culture @ NYU. I'm also FC's rep on the Right to Research coalition, so I've been learning a lot about open access through that process. I'm studying political science and journalism/new media, and just finished a thesis on how regime type affects Internet access globally.

Statement

Having served on the board for this past year and being a primary organizer for the conference that just happened (NYC, hollah!) I have a pretty good idea of where the board is at right now, where the organization's at, and what needs to happen next. I'm currently focusing on trying to draw newcomers into the fold (see: http://free-culture.tumblr.com), and I believe that even if you use not-FLOSS software you can still believe in SFC ideals. I tried to meet as many people as possible at this past conference, because I am also really focused on making SFC a community, not just a bunch of people who care about the same thing, and I'm trying to draw girls into the fold as well by hopefully balancing the technical side of FC ideals with the creative/humanities side. Other than the conference, I've organized a bunch of smaller events at NYU and have solid experience with organizing events, press outreach (journalism training!), and building a community.

I'm really hoping to see SFC open up to newcomers in the upcoming year, and the Tumblr was one way of implementing that. Concretely, I am hoping to find a way to increase participation on FC-Discuss and have it be less male dominated, and build out easy events for chapters to host.

List of Questions

  • If you were to accomplish one concrete goal in your year on the SFC board, what would it be?
  • Given the limited resources and time available, what is something you would not focus on?
  • Explain your views on the role of the annual SFC conference and how you see it evolving as a board member?
  • How would you institutionalize advances during your year on the board?
  • What is your view on the role of the Wheeler Declaration in the future of SFC? (http://wiki.freeculture.org/Open_University_Campaign#The_Wheeler_Declaration)

Phinney, Parker, Dartmouth

If you were to accomplish one concrete goal in your year on the SFC board, what would it be?

MOAR VOLUNTEER POWAH! I've been involved with SFC for ~5 years now, and I really think that as an organization we're at the cusp of bumping things up to the next level. Right now we're a ragtag group of students that gets excited and energized around certain issues and around conference time, but we fall quiet at other times (going to go take finals, brb). I think that the "next level" for SFC involves establishing a more solid base for activity, which could mean a full or part-time employee, a more solid body of funding, or both or neither.

But these long-term goals keep getting sidelined by immediate concerns (oh crap, the wordpress install is broken /again/). We need a solid base of volunteers at the global level to keep things running smoothly and to lend a hand with things like conference planning, liaising with new chapters, planning and coordinating campaigns, etc. And this isn't just people completing tasks--we'll need some people to step up and take leadership roles as well (huge thanks to Alec Story for taking on the role of web team leader!). Having a solid group of activists working at the global organization will free up some space for the longer-term thinking and action that can take SFC to the next level.

Given the limited resources and time available, what is something you would not focus on?

I think I won't focus on international issues and international outreach. There are a bajillion really important and interesting things going on at the global level, and I'm embarrassingly uninformed about most of them. This past year I've handed all of that stuff off to Andrea (also on the board this past year), and he did a great job of connecting with activists in Europe and beyond.

Additionally, I'd like to spend fewer hours per week doing web team work. Working with computers is my day job--I want to work more with people. But we really really need more person-hours on the web team. Please email webteam@freeculture.org if you want to lend a hand!

Explain your views on the role of the annual SFC conference and how you see it evolving as a board member?

I think this last conference went well and I think we've made great steps this year towards making the whole conference planning process more sustainable.

How would you institutionalize advances during your year on the board?

Again, it's all about getting more hands on deck at the level of the global organization. How? We need to make this easy and rewarding. We need stellar documentation on how all of our processes work currently (from web team stuff to new chapter coordination to conference planning, etc). We need regular check-ins where people can say things like "I feel burnt out, can someone lend me a hand with this stuff?" or "I'm here and want to help but I'm not sure what to do," or even "I tried to do this but I couldn't figure out how and the documentation sucks and PARKER YOU BROKE THE WORDPRESS INSTALL AGAIN OMG ADSFKHASDIFASN"

Okay, I'm gunna go fix the wordpress install now.

What is your view on the role of the Wheeler Declaration in the future of SFC?

That's a toughie. I've always been a huge advocate of Wheeler. It's the driving force of my activism at Dartmouth, which has been focused on making Dartmouth more of an Open University (and not very focused on spreading the word about issues to students, for example). When I started some discussion on the discuss list about "activism recipes" (which spawned [this wiki stuff http://wiki.freeculture.org/Help_Groups/Departments_CC_License_Lecture_Videos]), I had Wheeler in mind. Nonetheless, some people just don't get excited about Wheeler. Some chapters get excited about Free Culture issues that go beyond their schools. Ultimately, our chapters are independent entities, and they should do what they're excited about doing.

McDowell, Zach, UMass Amherst

If you were to accomplish one concrete goal in your year on the SFC board, what would it be?

  • I would like to help create a series of projects with concrete goals that chapters can choose to work on, solidifying and unifying the direction of SFC. This can be an ongoing project but specifically I'd like to help organize SFC chapters to promote the use of FOSS at an institutional level at their campuses. Many campuses are making the shift now for many reasons, and this is an opportune time to leverage student involvement to get more campuses on open platforms.
  • From the Wheeler Declaration, we could immediately start to employ projects that support this, thus pushing our agenda forward in a focused manner. I'll briefly outline some of the potential projects that we can get SFC chapters involved in utilizing the first three points from the Wheeler Declaration:
  1. The research the university produces is open access. - Although it would be great to force campuses to have all research be open access, the first step is to encourage open access scholarship from the ground up. I can see a main goal of a project for this to hold meetings with the campus librarians to hold workshops on open access publishing. Secondly, through these workshops and meetings the campus should not only encourage open access publishing through promotion but make it incredibly easy to do so (for example when I published my MA thesis years ago ASU charged double for CC licensing versus standard copyright, and offered no information for us - this is a common theme). The next step is to encourage graduate students and tenured faculty to publish their theses and dissertations open access. Unfortunately at the moment it will be difficult to encourage pre-tenured faculty to publish open-access because due to the current climate (which we hope to change), open access journals are not considered very helpful for tenure review.
  2. The course materials are open educational resources. - This is a huge legal battle that many Universities are afraid to take on. They are afraid not only of the potential of lost revenue, but the general thoughts of professors regarding their lectures as intellectual property. It is my hope that we can start to gather information to the ins and outs of how places like MIT have been able to push this forward. However, in the meantime we can talk to professors about opening up their courses (by utilizing a community-accessible system for distribution of course materials and possibly recording and broadcasting lectures).
  3. The university embraces free software and open standards. - Over the last year I have been involved in the evaluation and testing of multiple Learning Management Systems (LMS) to replace UMass' LMS "SPARK", which is an install of Blackboard Vista / WebCT. Along the way I have picked up a lot of experience in how these selection processes work, what the key points about FOSS LMS alternatives are effective in alleviating concerns are, and essentially how to make Blackboard look terrible in comparison with Moodle or Sakai.
    • First it is important to understand who is part of the selection committee or, if your University isn't undergoing a shift (Blackboard is stopping their support of Vista 8 / WebCT in 2013 so a lot of campuses are needing to switch) who supports it - is it departmental, campus-wide through a main IT department, or what. If you are at a small campus and/or your campus already supports multiple LMSes, you're in even better luck as the battle isn't as hard. At a place like UMass where there is only one LMS and it is a huge campus and everything is centralized, it can be much more difficult.
    • Secondly, and this is something I hope we can all develop, we need to create documents highlighting the key advantages of FOSS over commercial LMSes. We need to dispel some of the myths about FOSS LMSes (like they are clunky, ugly, insecure, or that "free" means that they are cheaper). One of the main arguments that I found very effective regarding "free" as in freedom versus "free beer" is that we can explain that the cost of the software is in the maintenance, which allows for us to keep the money in the community - although Moodle doesn't have any licensing fees, you still should be spending roughly the same amount of money on human resources. Rather than sending the money to some huge corp, the campus can support the community. Campuses like that. I have lots more - I can share the entire process that UMass underwent in our selection of Moodle and how we were successful.

Given the limited resources and time available, what is something you would not focus on?

Anything that doesn't have to do with the above goal. I think that our efforts are best utilized at this moment to create a better framework so that we have a more stable vision.

Explain your views on the role of the annual SFC conference and how you see it evolving as a board member?

Conferences are always great places to share ideas, pass along information, and strengthen networks. However, with activist conferences the trouble is channelling the energy from the conference to continue in between these conferences. As I mentioned above, creating a series of projects with concrete goals that we can channel this energy into will help to channel the energy generated by the conference into results throughout the year.

How would you institutionalize advances during your year on the board?

As above, my goal is to help devise specific projects with concrete goals so that we can start to map out empirical data that can be utilized to suggest our level of success. Building up a trove of these projects (with supporting documents, lessons learned, etcetera) can help us mobilize SFC chapters, empowering them to enact real change. Making this a core practice isn't about dividing lines between what people are specifically interested in, but coming up with a way to channel those energies into a plan that can reach specific goals.

What is your view on the role of the Wheeler Declaration in the future of SFC?

I think the Wheeler Declaration can, at least at first, help to form the focus of these projects that I mentioned, specifically the one that I currently (and immediately) wish to help mobilize - helping campuses embrace FOSS LMSes, like Moodle and Sakai. I am also happy to immediately start to help mobilize a campaign for open-access publishing as well, as I believe this is a core project that, if enacted on an institutional level, can help transform the campus to be more tuned into some of the other issues regarding Free Culture.

Bezzina, Neville, Malta

If you were to accomplish one concrete goal in your year on the SFC board, what would it be?

I want to work at giving the organisation a definite identity and structure: my concrete goal is to define the organisational structure of SFC and through a flagship project or alliance with another NGO/organisation give the group a name, a brand, and an active (specific) focus for which to stand for.

I think that it's time to take SFC to the next level and before we can focus on external issues we need a clear understanding of the organisation's structure itself – and more importantly, who the other people working on the same issues around the world are!

By the end of my tenure on the board I wish that Students for Free Culture can be clearly understood in terms of its aims (WHAT do we do?) and how it achieves them. Every single member should understand the broader mission and position of SFC in the global context. We should be able to answer the following questions in more or less a similar manner: What are we? Are we the student version of the Pirate Party? Do we support people like Anonymous and Wikileaks? Are we a lobby/activist group or an educational one trying to raise awareness? A researcher group or ethical hackers?

I would suggest achieving this through the following steps:

1.Making Students for Free Culture more accessible to outsiders and potential members

Our online hub (freeculture.org) should include a clear & comprehensive About Us section that goes beyond listing active members but will instead require the generation of content for these essential sections:

a. Our organisation's history & aims

b. Group structures and how the function – Board + Conference (AGM) + Chapters + Working Groups + Members

c. A globally-recognised statute/operations procedure

d. Workplan for 2011-2012 as decided by the group's highest organ

e. Policies / Position Papers

f. the Free Culture movement

...and calls for action in an interactive manner on centralised online presence where the focus will always be on 'community sharing'

2.Generate an understanding of the breadth and makeup of our membership and volunteer base. This can be achieved through a simple & easy registration procedure (chapters could be the bottlenecks that handle the process) that will allow both old & new members assess what kind of momentum we're achieving. For instance: are we a group of a 100 students or 10K? This member's database will need to be kept updated as well as be accessible for members who seek to collaborate with others on specific ideas.

3.Make the organisation leaner and more organised: working groups on specific topics should be set up where local chapters collaborate on particular aspects/issues (example: copyright trolls OR Internet blocking) and thus share the division of labour. I believe this approach will a) make the organisation more effective and the immediate and medium term aims more defined b) achieve tangible results.


4.Increase the impact of SFC through targeted campaigns such as aggregate petitions on important issues such as ACTA, content generation on social networks, blogs and mailing lists as well as a monthly global e-newsletter sent to subscribers (target audience not necessarily committed activists) as well as focused Public Relations efforts both online and offline, as well as position papers (with proposals) on topical IP/telecoms issues that are finalized through working with leading artists and academics and whose summarised contents aggressively marketed.


Given the limited resources and time available, what is something you would not focus on?

Legal issues such as patents (such as the standardise EU patent rules) and the Indigenous knowledge/ medicine IPR issues. In general, I do not see an ability for SFC to work on legal issues as of yet, although it may evolve into a one stop shop for students concerned about their rights where IP/copyright is involved.

Explain your views on the role of the annual SFC conference and how you see it evolving as a board member?

I will take my JEF/AEGEE experience into consideration and look at how those established global organisations shape their international events.

Ideally, the conference will always relate to a globally voted theme since Free Culture is a vast area. It can be part of a twofold process that will convene each year, with the conference acting as the first part: a thematic seminar where members get the opportunity to a) learn about the chosen topic b) understand and collaborate on these issues and c) network with other students/professionals.

The conference shall continue to be an 'unconference' and encourage participatory sharing and discussion culture rather than a series of lectures, and shall be truly international in scope: it can take place anywhere in the world where SFC chapters exist (location would be chosen via democratic online voting systems)

It should also increasingly work with business, educators, politicians, and civil society as well as getting all the aggregate content produced during the days online to be shared, remixed and accessed by all. To conclude, I think that the conference should have a stable fund to enable students to travel and also to have a remote-participation component, where those who can not be there physically are able to use free software and online technologies to participate on a personal and local level.

The conference shall be open to all and its conclusion shall lead into the Annual General Meeting for chapter members, leaders, Board, and working groups where the SFC agenda for the following year is decided. This will require the writing of a global statute written and proposed by the elected board, as the annual general meeting would take the role of the highest organ in the organisation. It would convene following the yearly conference and would regulate/monitor the WG's, chapters and Board as well as receive updates about their work.


How would you institutionalize advances during your year on the board?

We need a common statute and statement of mission: actual goals and structures to follow, as well as policies and beliefs that are defined. We need to focus on communities of artists / scientists/ technologists who use 'free culture' methodologies in flagship projects to showcase free culture in action.

The next board will need to go beyond the advocacy/ raising awareness aspects and work with polticians, artists/creators, users, scientists at policy level in specific regions. I would also like to see more lobbying with actual results for copyright reform by organising media campaign on collaborative/sharing/remix culture. Finally, I want to see a stronger focus on members themselves, with SFC reaching out to non-converted people beyond the free culture pool and focusing on content building/sharing of best practices.


What is your view on the role of the Wheeler Declaration in the future of SFC?

I believe that the Wheeler declaration is essential as SFC shall remain at its core, a student organisation. I think that it should be adopted into the global statute I mentioned earlier, and that each local chapter will be encourage to make the Declaration as their starting aim. Alternatively, the Declaration can be seen as a starting base for a Working Group on Open Education that can see several chapters working together and sharing tools to achieve the stated aims.

Pérez Irizarry, Gabriel, University of Puerto Rico

If you were to accomplish one concrete goal in your year on the SFC board, what would it be?

I would make SFC more accessible and attractive to activists in Spanish speaking countries, specifically in Latin America. I would achieve this by doing the following:

  • Making the main freeculture.org available in Spanish.
  • Making the documentation for making new chapters available in Spanish.
  • Work with the web team to build infrastructure for new activists who don't speak English. Such as creating new mailing lists for the Spanish speaking community.
  • Reaching out to Universities in Spanish speaking countries to try to spark interest in Free Culture and on starting new chapters. I would try to focus on reaching out to students who are already participated in activism related to Free Culture such as Free Software development and Wikipedia writing.
  • Getting people from Spanish speaking countries involved in SFC at the global organization level.

Given the limited resources and time available, what is something you would not focus on?

I wouldn't focus too much on working on the conference. I don't have the experience nor the knowledge required. Also the conference is a very heavy weight task that takes a lot of time. Organizing the conference takes a lot of time and energy that can't afford if I want to accomplish the goal I'm proposing. That said, I would definitely be glad to help the organizers of the conference if they needed my help. I just can't commit my self entirely to the task of organizing the conference.

Explain your views on the role of the annual SFC conference and how you see it evolving as a board member?

I think that the conference is probably one of the best things, if not the best, that SFC is doing. I think that it is really good at bringing attention to Free Culture issues at the universities where they are held. Tons of people come to the conference day and the speakers are usually extremely good and high caliber. Also the quality of the discussions and the conferences is incredible. I think that the conference brings about a lot of energy, enthusiasm and inspiration. I really love going to the conference and participating in the unconference day :) I think that it would be awesome if we could get more funding so that more members could come. Also I think that eventually as SFC becomes more global we should have various conferences a year, one for each region.

How would you institutionalize advances during your year on the board?

I would try to help make work flows more formal by documenting them. Also I would work on making solid work plans and try to improve accountability. This is purely volunteer work and nobody should be bossing around anybody but we should try to give each other a few nods here and there ;) Also if somebody can't take on something we should try to get more help for them or somebody else should step up to take on the task.

What is your view on the role of the Wheeler Declaration in the future of SFC?

I think that it is a good objective for us to have. If we wish to bring about Free Culture to the world we should start with our most immediate community, our Universities. And the document in my view gives a good but not perfect view of how a Free Culture University would look like. But also I think that it shouldn't be a strict focus of all chapters. I think that chapters should see it as a guiding principle but they should be free to work on it as they wish. For example at the UPRM chapter we've focused more on the Free Software side of things since our school is focused on science and engineering.

Kamdar, Adi, Yale

If you were to accomplish one concrete goal in your year on the SFC board, what would it be?

One of the issues I kept coming across when serving on the board last year is finding a unifying message behind our group. The free cultural sphere is so broad with so many varying viewpoints that it's hard to know what we actually stand for. I'm not saying we should make position statements, but I think we need to adjust the website to have clearer information about the nature of the free culture movement, what various issues are, what various actions people can take are, and how to get involved.

We just got an email from an eighth grader who was supposed to argue an in-class debate on the 'free culture' side of some topic. She browsed our site and sent us a confused email, unsure of what the movement was or where we stood. This shouldn't happen. We need clear, concise descriptions of this movement, our ideals, and—to use a term I don't really like—talking points for activists and interested parties. Being amorphous both helps and hurts the movement, and I strongly think that this is one area where the ambiguity is harmful.

I would like to focus on making the movement accessible. I've talked about this before, but I think it's important: I'm not a programmer or a FLOSS fanatic; I make art but I wouldn't say that's my 'thing'; nor am I a lawyer. But I still care a lot about this movement, and I would argue that a good many people who should care about the free culture movement don't fall into the above categories. I think this accessibility resolution can come about a few ways: one is, like I stated above, to make the website clearer; another is to highlight real examples of free culture, making sure to be fairly liberal in that definition. Populating our blog with more posts about more cool things like this is a must. When people realize that the movement and the issues surround them in their daily lives, only then will they be motivated enough to jump on board.

Given the limited resources and time available, what is something you would not focus on?

I think I would not focus on presenting a face of the organization that says EVERYBODY-MUST-USE-FREE-SOFTWARE-ALL-THE-TIME or CREATIVE-COMMONS-NON-COMMERCIAL-LICENSES-ARE-BAD. I truly don't believe that these are important tenets of the Students for Free Culture movement, though they may be important in their own right. If you're making remixes using Photoshop or Final Cut Pro, great! If you understand the ridiculousness of copyright but aren't comfortable slapping a CC-BY on your work, that's fine! CC-BY-NC is a good step! There are bigger ideological battles that seem to get tripped up in nitpickiness.

Explain your views on the role of the annual SFC conference and how you see it evolving as a board member?

The annual SFC conference has transformed to become essentially Students for Free Culture's biggest contribution. It's a gathering of awesome people who are excited about these issues, but (from first-hand experience) the folks organizing it are usually pooped afterwards, and the momentum tends to die down. Free Culture shouldn't be a yearly event.

I think the next conference—and I feel very strongly about this, especially after organizing the last one and talking to alums—should be a smaller, more introspective one. It should be a conference that let's us replant our feet as an organization and make sure we're on solid ground. We should review our bylaws, our constitutions, our rules, our stances, our propaganda, our websites, our tools, our dogma—and really figure out what we, as a student group, are supposed to do. Should we focus on big issues? Should we focus on building up chapters? What resources and time are needed to be spent and where? These are the questions that I think we need to answer at the next conference.

How would you institutionalize advances during your year on the board?

I think we're relying too much on folks like the Web Team to fix our problems. I think one way to institutionalize advances is to use tools that make it easy for more people to get involved and don't require constant ridiculous upkeep. Maybe this doesn't exist and my head is up in the clouds, but... I've used blogs and wikis and other tools that don't seem to be down every other day. When more people can get involved, and when it's clear that everybody's voice is important and everybody is empowered, the advances I'm advocating will see the light much more easily. Anyone will be able to blog about a cool event or free cultural work. Anyone will be able to edit pages or add pictures here or sign this person up to that mailing list. Parker and other Web Team folk made awesome first steps this year, especially with making recipes. This helps a lot, but they would help even more if they could be found easily or if the wiki were navigable.

What is your view on the role of the Wheeler Declaration in the future of SFC?

The Wheeler Declaration, if anything, is a nice tool to refer back to. I think Wheeler can be a nice framework when it comes to telling chapters how they can get involved at their schools—whether it's open educational issues, or school patents, or whatever. That being said, I don't think we should limit ourselves to the points of the Wheeler Declaration. People are interested in a bunch of other free culture-related issues—and that's great. If people feel lost and need an idea about how to jump in, Wheeler is a great list to turn to.

Rajaram, Aditi, NYU

If you were to accomplish one concrete goal in your year on the SFC board, what would it be?

I want to get people who are mildly interested or only sort of interested more passionate about SFC and not alienate those who are not technies/die hards. I'm trying to do this by making sure we present an approachable, friendly face to the world, and I'm okay with using tools that are not FLOSS, etc, if it means drawing new people into the fold. This is really, really important because without new people, the organization a) risks dying and b) risks being too politically charged and polarized, and I don't want to see that happen.

Given the limited resources and time available, what is something you would not focus on?

I think there are some really, really wonderful examples of FL/OSS software, but also situations where we choose to use such software that end up being unwieldy and time consuming. The web team already has so much on their plate, and I would advocate a shift to software that is easier to maintain, even if that means some proprietary code.

Explain your views on the role of the annual SFC conference and how you see it evolving as a board member?

I loved the conference this year, and it was a labor of love for me. I'd like to see it become a better way for people to connect and have people interact with the conference in a way that makes them leave feeling a) excited about SFC (see above) and b) gives them actionable tasks that they can take with them and implement on their local chapters. To a certain extent, we have recipes that encourage/advance (b), but breaking down actionable steps and handing out kits, or packages, to make that easy for local chapters is something I'd love to see happen.

How would you institutionalize advances during your year on the board?

It seems as if a lot of the onus, right now, is on having technical skills - a lot of the work we do requires the web team to do it for us. I'd love to move to either hosted services or somethings that lets the web team step away from the work they do. I'd also like to very clearly document everything the board does (something the current board is working on already) so that the organization runs more smoothly.

What is your view on the role of the Wheeler Declaration in the future of SFC?

The Wheeler Declaration is a nice framework for the future of SFC; it gives us great talking points and goals. Beyond that, however, it may be time to revisit the Wheeler Declaration and see what's working and what isn't (for example, Open University doesn't seem to have much steam) and focus on the things that are working (and try and fix what isn't).