Trial sophomore committee aims for class unity

With the creation of a sophomore class committee last week, ’08ers seeking class unity may have a new forum for their ideas.

Members of the new Yale College Council committee, which is in a trial phase, said it will focus on organizing class events and discussing sophomore-specific issues. Representatives from last year’s Freshman Class Council created the committee — which does not have a formal selection process and currently has 22 members — since they did not want to see the FCC’s budget surplus go to waste.

The committee aims to use this extra money to host events that will bring the class together, such as a dance, date auction, field day and community service activities.

“It’s a transition between freshman year when you’re cradled academically and socially, and junior year when you’re more secure in your place at Yale,” said Stephanie Wright ’08, a sophomore who plans to be active in the committee.

Council President Steven Syverud ’06 said he questioned the long-term feasibility of the committee and would not want to make the committee a permanent YCC fixture just yet. The YCC will evaluate the committee’s success, the possibility of creating a similar committee for next year’s junior class, and the potential for elections like those for the FCC at a meeting in April, he said.

“The question was never whether the sophomore class would be well-served, but if the commitment would be carried over into other years,” Syverud said.

The committee has already begun exploring the possibility of having additional sophomore-only seminars similar to those offered only to freshmen. This issue, as well as others the Sophomore Committee is discussing — including academic advising and study abroad — is already under the jurisdiction of other YCC committees.

Despite this apparent redundancy, organizers say they are unconcerned.

“We’re going to work together and not get in each other’s way,” committee member Dylan Stern ’08 said. “Two heads are better than one.”

The committee may also overlap with residential college councils which provide a more local forum for addressing sophomore concerns, but with the added broader constituency of juniors and seniors.

The similarities between the FCC and the Sophomore Class Committee have led some sophomores to question its relevance.

“It makes sense to have an FCC since they’re new here and the smaller setting is better for them,” Diana Schawlowski ’08 said. “I don’t really think [the sophomore committee] necessary.”

Matt Lee ’08 said he was not convinced that a committee in the YCC would be a proper forum for any concerns.

“I know the FCC had nothing to do with my freshman experience,” Lee said. “I have my doubts that the SCC will change anything about my sophomore experience.”

Alice Tai ’08 dismissed the idea that members of her class had unique concerns.

“What are sophomore issues?” Tai said. “In terms of advising, I don’t feel there’s a lack of it.”

But other sophomores supported dialogue in any form.

“I think the more people talking about issues, the better,” Brent Godfrey ’08 said.

The committee will be holding internal elections Thursday to create an executive board. Only sophomores who have gone to at least two meetings will be allowed to vote, Stern said.

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