This year, the Sophomore Class Council hopes to increase outreach to students while avoiding mistakes made in the past.
SCC President John Gonzalez ’14 said one of his main goals is to provide “some sort of legitimacy” for the council since many students consider it ineffective at providing support for its constituents. He said that while last year’s council succeeded in “jump-starting” new initiatives, such as informational dinners with directors of undergraduate studies to help students pick majors, some of the planned initiatives were not carried out: the sophomore formal dance and the game of “ELIminate” — during which students “assassinate” each other by shooting water guns — were both canceled.
Gonzalez said he hopes to increase SCC’s presence on campus by sending weekly newsletters, holding events earlier in the year and expanding the existing informational dinners for academic majors.
“I think the perception of SoCo is for the most part negative, so I want to try to make sure we provide activities and academic support,” Gonzales said. “We don’t want to look like we’re incompetent as a council.”
Last year, the popular game “ELIminate” came to an abrupt end after the Yale email account of one of the members, who was using the account to facilitate the game, was hacked. Gonzalez said SCC will attempt to revive the game this year by using third-party websites instead of email to communicate with players.
SCC vice president Caroline Smith ’14 said one of SCC’s biggest goals this year is to better connect with students and bring the sophomore class together early in the year. In addition to sending weekly emails this fall, the SCC sent out a survey earlier this fall to gauge student needs, made a video introducing the representatives to the class and created a Facebook page.
She said events such as the “SoCo State Fair” barbecue, which the council held on Cross Campus Saturday, are important ways to bring the sophomore class together early in the school year, adding that SCC plans to hold a class-wide dinner and sophomore formal dance in the spring.
“Sophomore year is very lost,” she said. “In freshman year, we’re all on Old Campus, but now we’re suddenly divided up [among different colleges] so there may not be that same kind of year unity that we had last year.”
Though the council is directing much of its efforts on planning social events, Gonzalez said he also hopes to provide services that help sophomores select academic majors.
Last year’s council introduced the dinners with directors of undergraduate studies, but Gonzalez said this fall’s dinners will cover a larger range of academic disciplines, including those in the science and engineering departments. Gonzalez added that the program, which he hopes will hold at least one to two events per week, has already hosted several dinners this semester.
He added that the council is considering a “lunch buddies program,” in which sophomores would be paired with upperclassmen in their prospective majors to ask questions over a meal.
Gonzalez said because planning events with SCC’s $3,000 budget is difficult, he plans to use alternative sources of revenue, such as lunch swipes, to cover the cost of food at events.
While only three of 10 sophomores interviewed said they think the SCC has had a significant influence on their lives so far, nine of 10 agreed that the council’s involvement in sophomore life is increasing, particularly because the newsletters regularly update them on the council’s work.
The next informational dinner will take place in the Hall of Graduate Studies Wednesday at 4 p.m. with faculty members in the History of Science and Medicine program.