UOFC Chair: Candidate Profiles

Bhandari ’09 brings inside, outside perspective to table

Name: Suyog Bhandari

College: Jonathan Edwards

Class Year: 2009

Hometown: Pokhara, Nepal

Major: Physics

Suyog Bhandari ’09, currently a member of both the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee and the Committee for Campus-wide Activities, said his experience on both sides of the funding process would benefit him as chair of the UOFC.

“I have inside and outside perspective of how funding works,” he said.

Bhandari, who has been endorsed by the UOFC, has helped organize and fund numerous campus-wide events, like the South Asian cultural show Roshni and Night at the Kasbah, and is currently working on the second incarnation of last year’s “Gatsby” party.

Besides his work on organizations that give out campus funds, Bhandari has applied for money as a member of the South Asian Society and the Jonathan Edwards College Council, and as vice captain of the Yale Cricket Team.

Bhandari said that if he were elected, he would raise the maximum amount of money each student group can receive from the UOFC and set aside more money for special events.

“Usually, groups apply for events that cost $5,000 and we fund it,” Bhandari said. “But I want them to apply for events that cost any amount and we will try to fund it.”

Bhandari said he plans to start a system of online transfers of money to organizers’ bank accounts, which would speed the distribution of UOFC funds. He also wants to make the UOFC a middleman for undergraduate organizations to solicit support from other sources.

“I think a chair needs to have experience, to have been on the board,” Bhandari said. “But someone who also has a perspective on the outside.”

—Ian Walker

Sehgal wants to up funding limit

Name: Vidum Sehgal

Residential College: Stiles

Class Year: 2010

Hometown: Delhi, India, and Dubai, UAE

Major: Undeclared

Vidum Sehgal ’10, currently the media liaison for the UOFC, promises to increase the funding limit to $700 per organization per semester from the current $600 if he is elected to chair the UOFC.

As a result of sustained increases in the UOFC’s budgetary allocation, Sehgal said, such an increase is entirely possible.

“I’m keen on delivering tangible results,” he said.

Seghal’s platform also includes plans for a comprehensive Undergraduate Organizations Guide, which would provide student groups with information about everything from tax formalities to where to rent DJs. He also seeks to expand the new Capital Equipment program, from which undergraduates can rent audio and video equipment for events for free.

Besides the UOFC, Sehgal is involved in the South Asian Society, the International Students Organization, Marketing at Yale, the Yale Political Union and Yale Tour Guides. His appreciation for these and other student groups drives his commitment to the UOFC, he said.

“Part of the reason I came to Yale is because the American education system offers great extracurricular life,” Seghal said. “I think the UOFC is so important so that students have resources to passionately pursue their interests.”

—Meg Evans

Tan would simplify funding procedure

Name: Joshua Tan

Residential College: Saybrook

Class Year: 2009

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Major: Humanities and Ethics, Politics & Economics

With one year of experience on the UOFC behind him, Joshua Tan ’09 hopes to be elected to chair the committee next year.

“It’s a really great platform to improve the function of Yale student organizations,” Tan said. “I’m interested in helping organizations succeed.”

His platform includes efforts to simplify the funding process for undergraduate organizations, including the possible dismantling of the Committee for Campus-Wide Activities.

“We’re doing a lot of what the CCA should be doing,” Tan said. “We should just combine the two.”

The CCA was created in 2005 following the implementation of a $50 student activities fee.

During his tenure on the UOFC, Tan served as the main director of the Night at the Kasbah, which won the UOFC’s $5,000 funding prize. The February event attracted 1,500 students seeking a taste of Middle Eastern culture. He said the experience has taught him about how better to help leaders of student groups organize and coordinate.

Tan hopes to continue to develop the UOFC Web site, as well as further strengthen the committee by recruiting more experienced members.

Tan is the business manager of Marketing at Yale and the Web director of Global 21.

—Meg Evans

Twarek emphasizes individual students

Name: Bryan Twarek

College: Saybrook

Year: 2010

Hometown: Kansas City, MO

Major: Undeclared

UOFC chair candidate Bryan Twarek ’10 is running with the principle goal of empowering individual students as opposed to large, established organizations.

Instead of funding expensive parties, he said, he wants to be more flexible in the types of endeavors the UOFC supports by accepting applications year-round, rather than focusing on a single competition for one event.

“We don’t necessarily need to fund one $5,000 event per year,” he said. “We can consider any number of proposals for varying amounts of money at any time. This places the emphasis back on the students, where it should be.”

Twarek also aims to remove some of the bureaucracy of the UOFC by making it easier for groups to have their applications considered, even if they make procedural errors. In addiiton, some groups should be able to receive more than the current annual cap of $1,200 for any one organization, he said.

A new Web site, “office hours” and a meeting for potential applicants would streamline the application process, he said.

Twarek has spearheaded the UOFC Capital Equipment project with current UOFC chair Hassan Siddiq ’08. The program, which began this spring, aims to provide organizations with free access to equipment such as microphones, speakers, projectors, and water coolers — items usually rented at high rates from local institutions.

Twarek is on the Saybrook College Council and the Dwight Hall Board of Directors, and works as a Saybrook master’s aide.

—Barrett Williams

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