Pete Croughan ’12 is a FOOT leader, both on the trail and off.
An energetic Louisiana transplant with an infectious smile, Croughan signed up for the pre-orientation program’s notoriously difficult six-day White Mountains trek before his freshman year. At the trip’s start, he volunteered to carry one of the heaviest loads, and at the end of the day, despite bearing the weight up lengthy, 45-degree climbs, he said he was still smiling.
Now, he hopes to translate this energy to the Yale College Council presidency. Croughan has served as an unelected associate member of the YCC for the past year, which he said makes him a YCC outsider. Croughan said that by being less “entrenched” in the YCC, he will stay in touch with students — something he said he thinks the YCC has failed to do in the past.
“There’s this insular culture about it,” Croughan said. “A lot of people I’ve talked to don’t know, don’t care what the YCC does. … There are too many important issues that are not being addressed because the student body doesn’t feel the YCC is really representing them.”
Should he be elected president, Croughan would have to wade into the policy side of YCC after a year of focusing on events as the Spring Fling committee co-chair.
Croughan said his first task would be tearing down the barriers that separate the YCC from the rest of the student body. Croughan said he has friends in a wide network of campus organizations, from Delta Kappa Epsilon to a cappella groups, so he will have a head start in reaching out to a variety of students.
He said he will also expand the YCC’s use of surveys to gauge student opinion. He would like to send out a survey, for instance, allowing students to rank several dining hall staples to give Yale Dining a better sense of students’ preferences.
As co-chair of the Spring Fling Committee, Croughan said he has already worked to make the YCC programs more accessible. Committee members pored over countless YouTube videos — professional and amateur alike — to determine which acts would be the best, with what he said he considers great results.
But when Croughan moved from Spring Fling Committee meetings to YCC meetings, he said, the energy vanished.
“It was a different tone. It was kind of quiet,” Croughan said. “People weren’t necessarily comfortable having discussions, and there wasn’t the passion. There wasn’t the enthusiasm of the Spring Fling Committee.”
Though he named reshaping the YCC’s image as his top priority, Croughan’s platform also includes increasing student participation in the administration’s review of academics at Yale, planned for next fall, and reforming mental health services at Yale University Health Services.
Avi Gandhi ’10, who served as marketing chair on the Spring Fling Committee, described Croughan as an “Obama-esque” leader who has a unique ability to unify people and inspire them to work as hard as possible. Gandhi agreed that Croughan would help the YCC to remain in touch with the students.
For the past year, YCC Events Director Mathilde Williams ’11 said, the YCC’s focus has been much more on events than on policy. And since Croughan has primarily operated on the events side of the YCC, she said he will have to be sure to place extra emphasis on reforming policy so that he strikes the right balance.
Though Williams came to know Croughan first through the Spring Fling Committee, she has since worked with him on the Silliman Activities and Administrative Committee, to which she said he has brought that same special energy. (SAAC will soon host a crawfish boil — Croughan’s idea.)