Originally from Richmond, Virginia, U3 Pharmacology student David McCusty chose McGill to pursue his academic interests in pharmacology with a minor in linguistics. However, academics was not his only concern coming to McGill; McCusty has also worked at pub nights and participated in changing credit policies at McGill.
McCusty is exceptionally passionate about Bar des Arts (BDA), the weekly pub night hosted by the Arts Undergraduate Society, where he has volunteered almost every Thursday since his first semester.
“I think [BDA] has actually been the best thing about McGill for me,” McCusty said. “It’s how I’ve met probably most of the people I know outside of [residence]. We get free beer for staff too; but honestly, even if I had to pay for it, I would still go because I love the people who work there so much.”
Despite being in the Faculty of Science, McCusty worked as an Arts Frosh staff member in 2014. According to McCusty, he was able to connect with the Arts Frosh coordinators as a result of the relationships he has developed while working at BDA.
“I thought [Frosh] was better the second time around than as a froshie,” he explained. “It was nice to have people you know and also to meet new people [….] O-staff was a really good way to meet people from other faculties.”
McCusty is also one of the four moderators of the McGill Facebook page, Free & For Sale. The page is used by students to post classifieds. He became involved with Free & For Sale when Phoebe Yap, another moderator, posted in the page searching for help managing the group. Considering the Facebook page currently has upwards of 13,000 members, McCusty said he is often recognized around campus simply for his involvement and activity online.
“Apparently Free & For Sale made me a celebrity,” he said. “I’m the one who wrote the pinned post, so I think most people think I’m the only [moderator….] I actually have a friend who introduces me as the ‘Deity of Free & For Sale.’”
He also elaborated on the relevance of Free & For Sale for many students who might not have access to their own vehicle or are on a strict budget.
“I think it actually does serve a useful purpose,” McCusty said. “I’d much rather buy something from another student than IKEA. There is a massive volume of furniture [among other items] sold on Free & For Sale, so it is a good way to find things like that.”
McCusty was also instrumental in provoking a recent McGill policy change. As a result of a dual-enrolment program in high school, he entered McGill with 47 transfer credits. Consequently, the university’s old policy, which stipulated a maximum of 120 credits, prevented him from receiving credit for the courses necessary to complete his studies. However, his communications with McGill Advising proved worthwhile—he was able to instigate a change in the policy restricting the number of credits from outside of McGill..
“It’s now 120 credits completed at McGill, not 120 credits completed ever,” McCusty explained. “That’s by far the biggest thing I’ve actually changed here or have been influential in changing.”
McCusty also shared a personal story about a memorable evening he had in Venice while on a high school trip that metaphorically encapsulates his experience at McGill.
“Our teachers took our maps and they were like, ‘Find your way back to the hotel,’” he said. “Venice is all these criss-crossing streets that appear to go nowhere. You think you know where you’re going, then you run into a canal.”
In a sense, McCusty’s anecdote summarizes his McGill experience—no single-minded focus, no particular direction, but simply a general goal and plenty of fun along the way.
McGill Tribune: Harvey Specter or Frank Underwood?
David McCusty: Frank Underwood.
MT: What is your favourite thing about Montreal?
DM: When the snow melts.
MT: Toronto Maple Leafs or cold soup?
DM: Oh, cold soup.
MT: What’s your favourite exercise?
DM: Does leaving the gym count?
MT: If you could have one super power, what would it be?
DM: I really wish I could fly. It would be really cool.
MT: What’s the most played song on your iPod?
DM: Since Carnival, it’s definitely been Uptown Funk.
MT: If you were one celebrity, which one would you be?
DM: Lorde. I saw her at Osheaga and she was awesome.
MT: What’s your biggest pet-peeve?
DM: People who still haven’t figured out how to walk on icy sidewalks.