As the Junior Class Committee prepares to throw a “21st Birthday Party” for its constituents on Friday, student representatives are struggling to carve out a niche that makes them relevant to the junior class but doesn’t intrude on the responsibilities of their brethren in the constellation of student-government organizations.
The Yale College Council formed the JCC in October with the mission of targeting junior-specific issues and encouraging class solidarity, mainly by organizing class-wide social events like Friday’s Birthday event, the Committee’s first official large party of the year.
But while student representatives and juniors interviewed said they have been pleased with the array of JCC events so far, there is disagreement among Committee members regarding the future focus of JCC activities, with some arguing the Committee should focus on supporting career and internship advising as well as entertainment.
Fewer than six months ago, the YCC founded the JCC because members of the junior class believed there needed to be a committee to address junior-specific issues, current JCC member and YCC liaison Ryan Russell ’09 said.
“This is a good way to bring our class together this year, seeing as how a lot of juniors moved off campus this year,” he explained.
Russell said he expects the JCC will continue to function as a student activities committee, with a focus on social events.
But JCC member Meghan Murphy ’09 said she would like to see the organization incorporate more than just social planning.
“As a member of the Sophomore Class Council, last year we had a major advising night for sophomores,” Murphy said. “For next year, I’d like to see the JCC team up with [Undergraduate Career Services] to help with career advising.”
But YCC Vice President Emily Schofield ’09 said the Council already serves as a liaison between students and the administration, and the JCC’s role should primarily be to throw events. In order to serve as an effective advocate in discussions with the administration, the YCC needs to speak with a single voice on students’ behalf, she said.
“A duplication of YCC doesn’t make any sense — that is why JCC was founded as a social organization,” Schofield said.
The JCC has been successful in occupying that niche, she said.
“They have had a lot of events this year, and those wouldn’t have been possible without the JCC,” Schofield said.
YCC President Rebecca Taber ’08 said the YCC continues to work closely with the JCC, which provides the Council with updates on its activities at almost every meeting.
Other, unofficial events that the JCC has organized this year include tailgates before athletic events and January’s Beer Olympics, which were held in the basement of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. Each residential-college team was charged $50 for the Olympics.
Chris Rhodes ’09, who has attended some of the JCC affairs and plans to attend the Birthday Party, said he enjoyed the Beer Olympics but thinks the popularity of JCC events may have been limited by the prevalence of alcohol.
“Partying is an important part of college,” he said. “I can understand how someone who doesn’t drink would want a party that isn’t alcohol-related. It seems like all the events are, though.”
Joyce Tagal ’09 said she is familiar with the JCC but has never been to a JCC-sponsored event.
“I don’t think it’s for a lack of reaching out,” she said. “I’m just not the kind of person who goes to their events.”
Schofield said she is unsure how many people are aware that the JCC is responsible for organizing its various events, but she said she thinks most juniors appreciate the parties.
“The success of the JCC is not measured by their name recognition, but it’s measured in what kind of events they can pull off,” she said. “As long as juniors go to a fun event, that’s what matters.”
Russell said the 21st Birthday Party, which is being co-organized by Yale Party for a Cause, aims to raise $2,500 for Relay for Life. Between 300 and 400 juniors are expected to attend, Murphy said.
Other events JCC has in the works include a beach trip during reading week.