The dedication of members of Yale’s student government organizations must at least outweigh their love of “Temptation Island.”
This is because many residential college councils as well as the Yale College Council — a group representing the entire undergraduate student body — held their weekly meetings on Wednesday nights, during prime time.
Yale students participate in student government on a variety of levels. While councils in each of the 12 residential colleges work to plan social events and solve problems for their residential colleges, the YCC and Freshman Class Council look at broader issues that affect Yale as a whole.
Each of the colleges has its own council, which meets in that college’s common room one night each week. The meetings are led by elected students, but all members of the college are welcome. Free pizza attracts large numbers to the meetings, which often serve as a mid-week social hour.
“I just sort-of started going because I liked the free pizza,” said Andrew Towne ’04, who was elected Silliman College Council President in December.
While food helps draw people to the meetings, many stay to work on issues specific to their college, such as allotting money to things such as dances, study breaks and T-shirts.
A number of students said they felt that they had a louder voice when speaking directly with their college’s master and dean than if they tried to talk with University-wide administrators.
Those who are more concerned with problems that relate to Yale as a whole, rather than just their residential colleges, are often drawn to the Yale College Council. This organization is composed of two students of any year from each residential college.
Usually, the YCC coordinates two major events: the Winter Ball and Spring Fling, Yale’s annual spring concert. This year, YCC was responsible for getting Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals to play at the concert.
In addition to organizing social events, YCC also acts as a student voice for policy change. This year, it passed dozens of resolutions encouraging certain policies to the administration. One resolution many YCC members pointed to was a resolution stating that Yale needs to reform its financial aid policies in order to stay competitive in the Ivy League.
“I think one of the reasons I really like YCC is that it gives you the opportunity to meet a really wide range of people,” said Yael Zeira ’03, who will serve as YCC Treasurer this year. “And hopefully, you can make some changes that really affect their lives.”
Some freshman chose to get involved in the FCC, which tackles issues that specifically affect freshmen, such as the key system on Old Campus and a lack of soap and hand dryers in dorm bathrooms.
Also, the FCC was responsible for organizing the Freshman Screw, an ’80s dance and the Freshman Olympics.
Some FCC members were a little disappointed with the lack of administrative contact the FCC had.
“Although I truly enjoy the FCC, I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for in terms of public service within that body,” Alexis Hoag ’04 said. “So I ran for the representative position for the YCC in January.”
Despite any complaints they may have had, most who were involved in student government were left with a positive experience.
“We united the Freshman Class and created entertaining work distractions,” Hoag said.