This year, the Yale College Council gave us a peek into the enormous potential it has to affect change and improve students’ experiences. It passed resolutions that actually yielded results, initiated projects that benefit the undergraduates as a whole, and held events that brought the student body together.
But it can still do more.
If elected president, I will demonstrate the capability of the YCC, transforming it from a body with tremendous potential to one whose actions and accomplishments are readily apparent.
I have five ways to achieve this goal. These are the five reasons why I ask for your vote.
1. Dining reform. I promise to open the dining halls for “Camp Yale” this September, add to the number of existing Flex locations, allow two swipes any time during breakfast and lunch, and institute late-night dining.
Last week, many of you participated in the YCC/YaleStation survey on dining service. Having been a co-author of that survey, I will spend the summer working with Yale Dining Services to implement its recommendations.
2. Activities. I can promise a fall concert, for I am currently finalizing negotiations. Spring Fling will feature more rides and better entertainment because I will secure corporate sponsorship for the event. Also, following a tradition created by the YCC Activities Committee when I was its chairman, it will reflect the results of campuswide polling.
3. Policy reform. As exhibited this year, the YCC has the ability to successfully lobby for policy change at Yale. After writing the YCC resolution asking the University to respond to the Drug Free Student Aid Provision of the Higher Education Act of 1998, I related our concerns and ideas to top administrators, leading to the adoption of Yale’s new regulations regarding this issue.
Two important characteristics of this action show how the YCC can better serve the student body. First, the YCC did not work on this issue alone. We joined other student organizations, Student Legal Action Movement and the American Civil Liberties Union, in addressing this problem, and we benefited from each other’s resources. The YCC is the legitimate voice of the student body; it is also a means for campus groups to access the administration easily. If elected president, I will use the YCC’s abilities to aid all campus groups that seek our help in achieving their goals.
Second, the YCC did more than just pass a resolution. We followed through, and we must continue to do so. I know that a resolution alone does not sway the administration. Meetings, publicity and other coordinated actions must supplement the official business of the council, and as president, I will lead that effort.
4. The environment. Last semester, I wrote a resolution asking Yale to draft a comprehensive environmental policy. Such a plan will force the University to fulfill its ecological responsibility. The administration responded positively, and next year, I will continue to push for its completion.
5. YCC reform. The council must be responsive to the undergraduates, and individual members must be more accountable to their constituents. As president, I will reform the YCC to promote more productivity by, among other changes, strengthening the Student Group/YCC Representative liaison program and mandating representatives’ communication with their college councils and activities councils.
Of course, my platform is not limited to these ideas, and I hope that most of the YCC’s agenda next year will originate from outside the council. You should be telling us what we can do to make your time at Yale a little more enjoyable. As president, I am not the boss. You are.
Andrew Allison is a sophomore in Timothy Dwight College.