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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.


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 18th, and must cast their votes by April 30. The results will be announced on May 1.

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 ...



Bezzina, Neville, Malta

  • Nominated by myself


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.


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) abd 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


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.


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



Gabriel, Pérez-Irizarry, University of Puerto Rico

  • Nominated by myself
  • Nomination accepted, duh ;)


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.


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


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.


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


Alex Leavitt is currently a research assistant to danah boyd at Microsoft Research. In Fall 2011, he will be a 1st-year PhD student in Communication at USC Annenberg. He was previously a member of BU Students for Free Culture and frequented the Harvard and MIT chapters. Additionally, he has worked on SFC initiatives, such as YouTomb and the Open Video Conference. Alex studies and has researched the Internet and media industries with MSR, the Convergence Culture Consortium (Comparative Media Studies, MIT), and the Web Ecology Project, and is a teaching assistant at Harvard Extension School (helping with the Berkman Center's "Internet & Society" class). Currently he is looking at "open-source culture" initiatives, particularly within the Japanese content industry, and has presented at various conferences on copyright, fair use, remix, and media audiences and production.


I want to help Students for Free Culture increase outreach to international organizations, alumni, and faculty to help establish a stronger network of experts working in related and relevant fields. Also, I wish to reach out to interested students at various universities who wish to get more involved in the organization: to help them establish a local chapter, if one does not exist, but particularly to have them help the core team to unify and make visible various chapters on a national level. I hope that these efforts will keep SFC as a relevant and noteworthy organization in the near future as we continue to engage with the global community interested in free culture.


McDowell, Zach, UMass Amherst

  • Nominated by Parker Phinney
  • Nomination Accepted


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).


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.


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


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 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


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 and Creative Commons. Other than doing SFC stuff, he really likes writing code that makes life better.


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


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.


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


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.


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:, 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.