YCC President: Taber ’08 — Small issues, big impact

Rebecca Taber ’08 plans to focus on the little things. Though she envisions a pragmatic approach that tackles smaller issues on campus, she believes the YCC president can ultimately have a larger impact on Yale than in the past.

Taber wants to enhance the YCC by opening lines of communication between the student body and the YCC and also between the YCC and the administration. She is involved in a multitude of campus activities, which might explain her particular focus on strengthening ties with undergraduate groups. Aside from serving as Davenport College’s YCC representative, she dances with DanceWorks, helped found the Women’s Leadership Initiative and was most recently seen on stage in “Dead Man Walking.”

Taber said the YCC needs to reach out to the undergraduate community and keep a finger on the pulse of clusters of groups with similar interests. She plans to organize Yale’s diverse extracurriculars into like-minded groupings, such as publications and cultural groups, from which she hopes to appoint representatives who will then serve as liaisons to the YCC.

Taber also believes the YCC needs to improve its follow-through, a problem she has observed over the course of this year.

“It came to a point where figuring out a plan and discussing it was seen as the end point rather than the beginning,” the Davenport political science major said. “You can’t claim success on an issue until that change has been achieved.”

In addition to organizational changes, Taber plans to work towards eliminating the deadline for Credit/D/Fail conversion to grades, expanding the residential college seminar program through outreach to more potential instructors, and pursuing a late-night dining schedule for at least one residential college dining hall.

Taber said the broader New Haven community could also benefit from her YCC presidency. A public school tutor with the Tutoring In Elementary Schools program, she hopes to use underutilized space on campus to foster stronger relationships between Yalies and New Haven residents. Taber sees the empty houses that many New Haven children go home to as a problem and believes that Yale’s resources offer a solution.

“Yale has all these empty rooms,” she said. “I think it would be great if we had a partnership with Dwight Hall [so that] these students can take advantage of Yale’s facilities.”

For Taber, who grew up in Scarsdale, N.Y., the political process is a necessary obstacle that must be overcome in order to make realistic changes in the Yale community.

“I have seen this game before, where candidates promise to change the world,” she said. “It’s important to me not to make promises I can’t keep.”

Taber said she has been campaigning with three simple rules in mind: “Have fun, be honest and don’t be a tool.”

Taber would face a daunting schedule of classes and extracurricular activities in her senior year if she were elected, but she said she could handle the load well. Friends say that while she is constantly on the go, they have never seen her drop the ball.

Bill Fishel ’08, who worked with Taber on Freshman College Council and YCC this year, said Taber’s ability to juggle multiple commitments impresses him.

“Everyone who knows Rebecca kind of wonders when she sleeps,” he said. “All the time she’s so busy, and all of it goes off without a hitch.”

In high school, Taber’s mother Andrea said, Rebecca proved her resilience during her junior year, when she became seriously ill for three months. Against the advice of teachers and guidance counselors, Taber decided to complete the year with her friends, which meant an extraordinary workload during her recovery, Andrea Taber said.

“To this day, I don’t think her dad and I can figure out how she did it,” she said.

Asked about her biggest weakness, Taber thought for a moment before responding.

“I’m pretty much a perfectionist,” she said, adjusting a slightly off-kilter table at Au Bon Pain, “but it will only make me work harder.”

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