After setting its agenda for the spring semester Sunday afternoon, the Yale College Council will continue to focus on campus events this semester, in addition to adding more policy goals to its program.
The YCC will work on long-term issues such as academic minors and better student relations with Undergraduate Career Services, Yale College Council President Jon Wu ’11 said, adding that representatives will continue to focus largely on creating campuswide events for the student body. This spring’s to-do list includes YCC standards like the Winter comedy show and Spring Fling, but Wu said the YCC will also put on a new fine arts festival and a “food week,” which will involve lectures and trips to the Yale Farm.
Wu said this academic year’s focus on events makes the 2009-’10 council unique. He said the decision last spring to merge the YCC and the Yale Student Activities Committee — which was intended to improve events offerings on campus — has allowed for campuswide events beyond the traditional Spring Fling and the Winter Show (which is typically held in the Fall but was delayed this year in order to secure a headliner.)
“In general the focus of the council changes from term to term,” Wu said. “Streamlining YCC and YSAC has been a main reason that we’ve been successful. [Events Director Mathilde Williams ’11] and I work seamlessly together.”
The YCC introduced three new events last semester: the Fall Festival, which featured global cuisine in a fair on Old Campus; the Fall Comedy Fest, which featured several on-campus and professional comedy groups; and the pep rally leading up to November’s Harvard-Yale game. Williams said having the “man-power” of the full 30-member YCC, as opposed to only 12 YSAC representatives, has made events planning more successful this year.
Michelle Glienke ’11, a Morse College YCC representative who also served on the council last year, said that while she recognizes the importance of advocating for academic issues, those processes can be long, and she has enjoyed planning this year’s campuswide events.
“We do stuff that we like,” she said. “We do stuff that we want to see done on campus.”
On the other side of the agenda, Wu said the council will continue to advocate for both academic minors and gender neutral housing this semester — both issues originally taken up by last year’s council. YCC representatives met last semester with members of the faculty to continue to lobby for academic minors, and Wu again met last week with Yale College Dean Mary Miller to discuss gender-neutral housing policy, though he said he could not comment on what was said at the meeting.
YCC members will also be exploring whether students can think of ways to improve Yale’s academics. Though Wu said the YCC does not currently have specific goals regarding this issue, possible projects could include improving the quality of discussion sections and increasing the number of quantitative reasoning and science credits for non-science majors.
Other pending YCC projects include working to improve the relationship between students and UCS, purchasing an ATM machine to be placed in Commons, increasing bus transportation to and from Payne Whitney Gym and the intramural fields, and improving Yale’s mental health services.
At Sunday’s meeting, Lauren Koster ’12, a YCC representative for Timothy Dwight College, said that both the council’s executive board and college representatives seemed refreshed and excited to tackle new tasks.
“There have been a lot of successful programs that have given us a boost,” Koster said. Glienke added that Wu’s leadership and enthusiasm have been especially important in “keeping the council going.”
Koster said she thinks the YCC could do more to encourage student feedback and awareness. But five students said they think the YCC has done well so far this year.
“I think they’re doing a good job informing the student body by e-mail,” Megan Lee ’11 said. Lee added that she thinks the YCC’s Bike Share Program, a program co-sponsored by the Yale Student Environmental Coalition allowing students to borrow bicycles from various campus locations, was a good idea.
The YCC will divide its members into seven project group to tackle the agenda.