After two years of service in student government, Brandon Levin ’13 is looking to keep the ball rolling.
Levin, who is running for president of the Yale College Council, said his experience as YCC treasurer this year and chair of the Freshman College Council last year would be an asset if elected. His platform focuses on issues he has already worked on in YCC, and Levin said he understands the strengths and weaknesses of the organization after serving on its executive board.
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“The YCC has a tendency to say, ‘We’re going to meet 100 times and we will make reports and do surveys,’” he said. “It’s a lot more effective to set goals.”
As president, Levin said he would build on his work for the YCC over the past year. In a joint effort with Undergraduate Career Services, Levin helped create a residential college advisory system, in which a specially trained student liaison in each residential college helps other students navigate UCS.
However, UCS implemented a similar peer liaison program in 2003, but it was discontinued due to low student usage. Levin claims the 2003 program failed because UCS did not fully support it. With a new director in place at UCS — Allyson Moore, who just arrived this spring — Levin said he believes the new program will be a success.
“There’s a reason there’s a dean and a master for every college. It works. People love it,” Levin said. “I think the same thing could apply to a UCS representative.”
Levin said he also hopes to address mental health counseling at Yale. He pointed out several areas for improvement, including what he described as low funding and a lack of student awareness of existing mental health resources.
“Getting the first appointment is really easy, but a second appointment can take months,” Levin said, adding that he would advocate for increased funding and for adding a mental health component during sophomore orientation.
Along with mental health, dining hours have recently emerged as a popular issue among students. Citing a recent News survey in which 69 percent of the student body supported later dinner hours, Levin said he would like to see dining halls stay open later. Still, Levin said it is not feasible to keep all twelve dining halls open until 9 p.m. Instead, he advocates a rotation system, in which dining halls in the center of campus take turns staying open until 9 p.m. on weeknights. Commons would keep its late weeknight hours, he said.
“Coming from a place on the YCC board this year, I have a pretty good sense of what is possible and what isn’t possible,” says Levin. “And I think the most feasible way to have later hours would be to rotate.”
Since starting out in FCC, Levin said he became close with several of his fellow student representatives in FCC and YCC, adding that “one of the biggest reasons that we chose to do YCC was that we could all do YCC together.”
Levin’s roommate, Spencer Klavan ’13 recalled that despite being tired after a day of a capella rehearsals and YCC work, Levin personally thanked each attendee at a surprise birthday party his girlfriend and Klavan threw for him this year. Klavan described his friend as “genuine.”
Levin is also a Yale tour guide and a tenor in the Spizzwinks(?).