2010-2011 Board Candidate Statements

Voting will take place from 11:59pm on Wednesday, 3/24 to 12pm on Saturday, 3/27. Check your email for an online ballot, or email lambda@law.harvard.edu if you haven’t received one.

Firm Liaison

Joe Vardner

As Firm Liaison, I will continue the work of reaching out to our allied firms.  However, I will also try and reach out to more firms that are recruiting at HLS.  As more smaller and medium-sized firms recruit more HLS graduates, I will add these firms to our donations efforts.  While they will not be able to significantly add to our funds, they may be able to give some revenue.  For our larger and more loyal donors, I will try and entice them to give more funds by offering to help plan networking events with them to increase their presence in Lambda and diversity recruiting.  Moreover, outside of donations, these events will help our members build their network and gain firm employment (if that is the member’s goal).

Regarding my experience and firm knowledge, several of my closest mentors are senior associates and partners.  They have offered great advice on how to appeal to firms before and believe they will be a great resource for advice here.  Also, my marketing experience in requesting donations for my undergrad fraternity has steeled my resolve in seeking funding.

Treasurer

Ez Cukor

I am running for treasurer because Lambda is a great organization. I believe Lambda fills important social and political/academic roles on campus, and want to help the organization run smoothly. I am organized enough to keep track of the budget, and will strive to manage it in a way that lets Lambda put on as many cool events as possible. That said, I am also not afraid to say “no” to expenditures if we can’t afford them. Vote for me, Ez Cukor, the E-Z choice for treasurer.

Social Chair

Jenny Fleury & Trey Stephens

We’re running for the Co-Social Chair positions, and we’re excited about the prospect of joining the new Lambda board.  Jenny is a 2L from Texas who has been actively involved in the Lambda social scene for over a year now, and she can’t wait to plan some parties.  She enjoys mixing Manhattans, dancing at Zuzu, and long walks in Ptown.  Trey is a 1L from Georgia, and he’s excited about the termination of his first year at Harvard, and he’s looking forward to increasing his involvement in the Lambda community.  He enjoys gin and tonics, frequenting Paradise (jk), and interviewing DJs for Outlaw.  Some of our goals for next year include increasing general membership involvement and attendance, facilitating inclusive weekly social events, and reaching out to other communities, both on and off-campus.  As far as we know, we’re still running unopposed, but vote for us anyway, because it makes us feel good.

Political Chair

Bobby Hodgson & Sam Levine

As co-Political Chairs, we would aggressively, zealously, and charmingly pursue Lambda’s educational and activist agenda.  That includes both high-interest events geared towards large audiences that will build on the success of this year’s DADT panel—we’re eager to secure some fantastic speakers to talk about DOMA, DADT, ENDA, etc.—and other educational opportunities that address more focused aspects of LGBTQ political life.  In addition, we’d be eager to partner with other HLS affinity and service groups to really exploit the fact that LGBT issues play a part in so many of their interests as well: such collaboration would allow us to cast a wider net, highlight the fact that LGBT rights affect everyone, and, of course, make our budget last longer.

Also, we expect that a large part of the Political Chairs’ job will be to solicit ideas and develop a sense of what the Lambda membership is interested in.  We hope to be accessible, friendly, and responsive—we won’t pester you, but we will try to make sure that Lambda promotes political events that appeal to you and reflect the diversity of the group.

Finally, we’d be particularly excited to get creative with a series of combined political-social events and more informal opportunities to discuss queer issues.  Ideas include potlucks, themed parties, and meals with a political or activist slant (either in conjunction with more formal panels or presentations, or as stand-alone events), as well as an expanded series of lunchtime Queerside Chats.

Sam is currently a 1L rep on the Lambda board, and Bobby has been working on the Conference Committee since last fall.

Danielle Purifoy & Hilary Thrasher

Hilary: I have enjoyed being a member of the Lambda community this year and participating as a 1L rep and in conference preparations. I am running for political co-chair because I would like to contribute towards a vibrant educational and activist atmosphere that is both informative and receptive to the wishes of the community. In addition to facilitating programming related to DADT and marriage equality, I would like to continue the tradition of holding events on a broad range of topical issues. Three areas that I would be especially excited to explore through Lambda events, and which might also be suitable for the conference, include immigration, LGBT youth, and employment. Since I believe one of the main goals of the political chairs is to reflect the interests of Lambda’s membership, I would also actively seek suggestions from members throughout the year as to the topics they would like to see covered (and create a programming committee if there is interest). Similarly, I would like to encourage an open and respectful discourse about the type and form of activism that Lambda engages in; while there will inevitably be a variety of views and need for compromises, I think that creating processes for respectful dialogue will allow all voices to be heard. Following the international conference this year, I would also like to keep international issues fully integrated into Lambda’s programming. In addition to holding events on explicitly international subjects, I think it would be instructive to take a comparative approach to domestic topics. (For example, a panel on employment discrimination could contrast ENDA with the UK’s Equality Bill.)

Danielle: My goals for Lambda for next year include working on greater inter-group association and activism, particularly with other campus affinity groups, continued community outreach specifically with LGBT youth in the greater Boston area, and providing educational and interactive/creative programming for the campus and larger community.

To engage other campus affinity groups, I suggest continuing co-sponsorships of various campus events, in addition to forging closer partnerships with groups by finding intersectional community outreach activities in which we can participate together.  For example, I currently work with BLSA at the Metro Youth Center, which incarcerates youth ages 13-18.  Many of the young women I work with identify as LGBT and need mentorship and safe spaces for discussions of various issues.  I think that working in conjunction with BLSA on this project next year would be a major boost to the Center’s programming.

In addition to Hilary’s goal of providing continued programming through panel discussions on various topical issues, I’d like to begin a tradition of providing some interactive/creative campus events that connect to the larger panel discussions.  I believe that we have a lot of underutilized creative talents among Lambda members and the HLS community, and I think that employing those talents would be a refreshing and effective way to engage allies (and opponents) in more in depth discussions and activism on issues affecting the LBGT community here and abroad.

Finally, to determine what LGBT issues to address next year, I believe that we should identify which topics are of interest to our Lambda members, and include them in our panels and our annual conference.

President

Craig Convissar & Diana Tomezsko

My name is Craig Convissar, and together with Diana Tomezsko, I am running for president of HLS Lambda.  For those of you who don’t know me – I’ve spent the past year as one of Lambda’s co-political chairs.  In that capacity, I’ve put together a number of programs dealing with issues that are important to the LGBT community, including DADT, Same Sex Marriage, and lawyering for LGBT clients.  I’ve also helped facilitate advocacy, by organizing protests of military recruitment on campus and by acting as a conduit to Dean Minow in arranging for her to sign on to a letter asking members of Congress to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  I’ve been an active and involved member of Lambda, and I’m ready to step into more of a leadership role next year.  Now a moment for Diana to introduce herself…

I am Diana Tomezsko, and I am running for co-president of HLS Lambda with Craig.  I am dedicated to the LBGT community and have looked to incorporate that dedication into my daily life at HLS.  This past year, I was a 1L representative for Lambda, attending board meetings and assisting other board members as well as working on projects such as Lambda apparel, now available for order on the Lambda website, and an upcoming LGBT family planning panel.  I have leadership experience as field captain and match secretary of my college rugby team, and I am eager to take on that degree of responsibility with Lambda.

We believe that Lambda took a huge step in the right direction this past year, and we hope that we can help the community continue to grow in a positive way.  Anyone who witnessed last year’s board in action can easily see how much Stephen and Erika have done to help change the culture of the organization, and our top priority would be to keep pushing towards this goal.  We shouldn’t ever be content that the community is open or welcoming “enough.”  Thus, our top priority as leaders of Lambda and the faces of the organization would be to build on the work that has already been done to make the community a happy one.  Whether by engaging new students and asking familiar ones to become more active members, or working with the social chairs to make sure we’re serving the needs of the entire constituency, we think getting the message out that Lambda is here for all LGBT people is a hugely important task.

To that end, we also believe it is important to raise Lambda’s profile on campus by partnering up with other organizations on events more regularly.  Craig has made an effort to do so this year, and so far he has collaborated on events with the WLA, the Legal Aid Bureau, the HLS Legal Services Center, the Federalist Society and JLSA.  We think that this effort applies to working on partnerships with other Harvard communities and law schools as well.  Craig has experience collaborating with students at our peer law schools, and Diana is currently working on a joint panel with the Medical School.  We think that by increasing the breadth or our programming, we can draw in more supporters and emphasize the diversity of our community.

Ideally, we’d also like to see more Lambda members engaged in advocacy work – whether it be organizing demonstrations or volunteering for GLAD – we think this type of work is an area where we’re lacking a bit.  We definitely do a lot of talking about the issues – it’d be great to put this all into action more often.

Lambda is an extremely important community to so many people – as an affinity group that spans different races, religions, etc…it’s important that we remain vibrant and active.  As co-presidents, we’d work hard to make sure that we create programming, both social and political/educational, that helps us do just that.  We’d continue to focus our efforts on making the community welcoming to all students and helping our fellow board members remain happy and engaged.

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