Twenty-four new Yale College Council representatives, chosen by students in each of the 12 residential colleges in elections that ended last night, will take their places on the Council when the YCC holds its first meeting of the year on Sunday.
In the same elections, each college selected one representative to serve on the Yale Student Activities Committee, and members of the class of 2011 picked two students from each college to serve on the Freshmen Class Council. This year marked the first time that elections for all 24 YCC positions were held simultaneously at the beginning of the academic year. The board voted last fall to abandon its system of staggered year-long terms in which half of the Council was elected in the spring and half in the fall.
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YCC Vice President Emily Schofield ’09, who was in charge of organizing the elections, said she was pleased with the large candidate pool and the high number of Yalies who voted yesterday and Wednesday.
“We were thrilled with this election because it really was an unprecedented number of candidates,” she said. “We had almost 150 people running for 60 positions, which is really very competitive and a lot more than we’ve seen in past years.”
Last fall, 97 students ran for a total of 53 student government positions.
The new YCC members will meet with the Executive Board today for an orientation meeting, Schofield said. Both the YCC and the FCC will hold their first meetings on Sunday night.
Newly elected Jonathan Edwards College representative Jasper Wang ’10 said he decided to run for the Council after serving on the FCC last year and becoming frustrated with the poor communication among the various organizations under the YCC umbrella, including YSAC and the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee. The YCC’s bureaucracy, which often prevents it from achieving tangible results in the improvement of student life, has earned it a less-than-stellar reputation over the years, he said.
“We [on the FCC] would call with an idea or send an individual and just not receive the type of feedback that we wanted,” Wang said of the organization’s relationship with the YCC. “This year, with the restructuring of the YCC … I feel it can be much more effective.”
Instead of two weekly meetings devoted largely to debating resolutions related to undergraduate life, this year’s YCC will meet as a full Council only on Sundays. The Executive Board will use Wednesday nights, previously reserved for full Council meetings, to meet individually with project teams in order to discuss progress and offer support and advice to the representatives working on particular issues.
Ryan Russell ’09, who will represent Calhoun College on the Council this year, said his positive experience on the Sophomore Class Council last year prompted him to run for the YCC. Among his objectives on the YCC will be pushing for the creation of a Junior Class Council, Russell said.
“Considering that we already have freshman, sophomore and senior councils, the next logical step would be a JCC,” he said. “We could figure out junior-specific issues, and it would be more people getting involved with student government, which would be a good thing.”
The SCC was created in 2005 by a group of students who wanted a forum for the discussion of issues of particular importance to sophomores, but it has drawn criticism in recent years from some members of the YCC — including former Secretary Zach Marks ’09 — who thought it unnecessarily contributed to an “alphabet soup” of student government groups.
Russell, who ran unsuccessfully for YCC Vice President in last spring’s elections, said he has not ruled out seeking a spot on the Executive Board at the end of this year, but he is hesitant about going through the “long, arduous process” of running again.
One FCC race, in Jonathan Edwards College, is headed for a run-off election today because two candidates received the same number of votes. Voting in that election will run from 9 a.m. today until 9 p.m.
A total of 3,529 students voted for YCC representatives this week, and 1,707 students cast votes in the YSAC contests.