Recent events reflect YCC’s growth

Although some students professed a continued lack of awareness of Yale College Council activities and others said they thought the council neglected certain issues, many students and YCC representatives said they think the council’s major accomplishments this year reflect the board’s growth and increased responsiveness to their constituents.

This year, the YCC completed several large-scale projects, the most notable including the pilot student activities fee program, the creation of the Committee for Campus Wide Activities, and the introduction of soap in student bathrooms on campus. In addition to these initiatives, the YCC arranged for high-profile artists Ludacris and Ben Folds to perform at this year’s Spring Fling, which was held on Tuesday.

YCC President Steven Syverud ’06 said he thinks these accomplishments demonstrate the council’s expansion in size and power.

“The consensus is that this was the YCC’s most productive year,” he said. “It’s a very different body, in breadth of scope and in actual size, than it was a year ago.”

Some of the YCC’s major fall accomplishments include finalizing budget expenditures for the new student activities fee, raising more than $30,000 for the Yale University Hurricane Relief Fund, organizing the first annual Freshman Day of Service, creating the Sophomore Class Council, and launching the Yale/New Haven Internship program.

YCC projects during the spring included the introduction of Guntherpalooza, the Fool’s Ball and the Gatsby formal, as well as the passage of several resolutions, including a resolution to divest from Sudan.

Syverud said the YCC was able to procure improvements in areas that were long talked about but rarely acted on, including the Sexual Assault Grievance Board and the transparency of Yale University Health Services.

YCC Treasurer and President-elect Emery Choi ’07 said that although it is difficult to pick out the most far-reaching of the accomplishments, he thinks the student activities fee pilot program was the most prominent achievement this year.

“It gave us a lot of money that we didn’t have before and benefited the undergraduate community,” he said. “I hope it paid off for events like the Spring Fling.”

Many students said they thought the YCC has been generally more dynamic than in the past.

“How good YCC is each year really depends on the people, and the members have been very enthusiastic this year,” Glenton Davis ’07 said. “Looking back on my freshman year, the student activities now are much more accessible and fun.”

Davis said he thinks the YCC has tried to elicit more participation from students in planning various events.

“They’re getting much better at planning, timing good activities during the school year so that students will be able to do these activities but also hang out with their friends,” he said.

Daniel De Boer ’07 also said he is generally happy with the YCC’s work this year.

“All in all, they did a great job as a student government body,” he said. “Certainly there seem to have been lots of problems with elections, fundraising violations and squabbling among members that sometimes gets out of hand, but the job they did was fantastic.”

But some students said they do not believe they have been significantly affected by the YCC.

“I haven’t been paying too much attention to what the YCC has been doing this year,” Eugene Ashton-Gonzalez ’07 said. “But it seems like they’re using their funding well.”

Yale College Democrats President Brendan Gants ’08 said he thinks there were some issues the YCC should have focused on more this year.

“I personally would like to see them take a more active approach to working on sexual assault issues,” he said.

De Boer also said that although he thinks that the student activities fee was “great for the general Yale population,” it could be improved further next year.

“But the only thing that I would change about [the students activities fee] is making the way events are determined more transparent,” he said. “The process should be more open, so we can all see what other possibilities there are with the money.”

Jon McClain ’06 said he personally opted out of the students activities fee this year but probably would have considered the option more closely if he had recognized that YCC would “really step up” this year.

“The groups who had been in charge the past few years hadn’t demonstrated to me that they would be accountable with my money,” he said. “But this year, they have impressed me with their accomplishments, and I would have thought twice about opting out of the fee had I known what they would do with the money.”

Choi said the council hopes to step up efforts to reform financial aid and reach out to student organizations next year.

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