Name: Steven Syverud
Residential college: Branford
Class year: 2006
Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.
The only candidate for YCC president who currently serves on the YCC executive board, Steven Syverud ’06 rattled off a lengthy list of small-scale goals to benefit student life that he believes he can accomplish: the addition of late-night dining hall hours, reduced textbook prices and movie nights on campus, to name a few.
Syverud, the council’s acting secretary, said he will only make promises that he can achieve.
“I don’t believe in promising something just for campaigning,” he said. “I have learned how the YCC can use what little power it has to actually change things.”
Other promises include a better advising arrangement for freshmen, a revamping of the course evaluations process and the implementation of the long-discussed sophomore seminars.
Over the past year, Syverud said he has made strides in various aspects of the community.
“I know that YCC can do student services well, and I have a lot of experience working on student services,” Syverud said. “But that shouldn’t be the limit.”
Syverud is perhaps best known for his work on the financial aid resolution, which he wrote at the beginning of this year. The resolution was unanimously passed and many of its recommendations — including the elimination of the family contribution for low-income students, an increase in funding for student summer internships and an effort to make financial aid information more available to incoming students — have become University policy.
He also has brought together the YCC and the Admissions Office in an effort called the Yale Ambassadors program to recruit low-income students. About 100 Yale students will travel to various low-income areas next Thanksgiving in the recruitment effort.
In addition to his work on financial aid reform, Syverud has been involved in the community in other areas. He started the YCC shuttle service to Bradley Airport and led an overhaul of campus bus service. He also founded the Freshman Day of Service, a new event taking place on Sept. 10 in which freshmen will work on various community service projects and also get a walking tour of New Haven. Syverud also wrote the resolution on responses to sexual assault that he said convinced the Dean’s Office to finally take action pertaining to the issue.
“You can’t elect someone to run for YCC unless they’ve actually done something with the YCC,” said Roger Low ’07, Syverud’s campaign manager and a Yale Daily News staff columnist. “His degree of commitment is really impressive.”
Syverud, a former Yale Daily News staff reporter, has served on the YCC for two and a half years and is captain of the Branford “C” Hoops team.
His supporters consistently mention his many accomplishments and genial demeanor.
“I’m just amazed at all the stuff he’s done for YCC, and I’m impressed with his work for financial aid reform,” Stephen Kappa ’07 said. “And in addition, he’s just an incredibly sincere person.”
Critics of Syverud’s campaign point to his personality more than to his policies as a weakness.
“Steven is probably a little too timid, and a little too focused on one or two issues that he’s passionate about to really make a lot of things better for students,” said R. David Edelman ’07, another presidential candidate. “I don’t think Steven’s a motivator. I think he’s a great representative, but I don’t think he’s presidential material.”
But Ward 1 aldermanic candidate Rebecca Livengood ’07 spoke out in support of Syverud.
“He has a strong relationship with the undergraduate community,” she said. “He’s really open to working with different kinds of people.”
Syverud served as chair of the Freshman Class Council and ran for president last year, but finished second to Andrew Cedar ’06 in a five-way race.