If the phrase “student government” makes you think of weekly bake sales and fruitless issue advocacy, the Yale College Council will change your mind. Recognized as the voice of the undergraduate population, the YCC addresses everything from improvements to the everyday lives of Yale students to large issues that gain national attention. Oh, and we also throw the biggest parties of the year, including Spring Fling and Winter Ball. Put simply, there is something for everyone on the YCC.
To illustrate the diversity of interests and possibilities available on the YCC, I will summarize our recent action. First, to those students who hope to change the world while at Yale, I say the Yale College Council is an excellent place to start. Working with a number of student activist groups, we have affected tremendous change at Yale, in New Haven and beyond. In just the past two years, we have successfully lobbied the administration on a number of issues, including recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a University holiday, improving voter registration education for freshmen, drafting a comprehensive environmental policy, and reimbursing students for financial aid lost under the Drug-Free Student Aid Provision of the Higher Education Act. Recognizing Yale’s status as a leader, we regard change on campus to be the first step toward change nationwide.
A diverse body, the YCC is not comprised solely of activists. For those people who enjoy helping their fellow students or planning events, the YCC has a lot to offer. As mentioned earlier, we plan Spring Fling, the huge end-of-the-year party on Old Campus. Ben Harper performed in 2001, and this year, Guster entertained. Other recent concerts sponsored by the YCC have featured such acts as Counting Crows, Wyclef Jean, and The Roots. This fall, we will bring yet another performer to campus, and in January, we will stage the annual Winter Ball, the college-wide formal.
In terms of constituent services, the YCC is working on a host of improvements to campus life, such as organizing a weekly minibus to the local supermarket, creating a thorough online course critique, improving health services, and designing a Web site to meet all students’ needs, which can be found at www.yalestation.org. We also will continue our efforts to improve dining services by, among other means, restructuring meal plans and adding more local restaurants at which one may use Flex Dollars.
Our membership is composed of two elected representatives from each of the 12 residential colleges. These representatives can be from any class within the college, including freshmen. You need not be elected to serve on the YCC, however. We have a number of “associates,” students who regularly attend meetings and have all the privileges of representatives, except the right to vote on resolutions, our official issue statements. Every member can contribute ideas, opinions and direction to the council. Our meetings are also open to the public, and we welcome anyone’s participation. Along with the Freshman Class Council, we are the liaisons to the administration, and we require students’ input to fulfill that responsibility.
Potential members should be prepared to devote some time to the YCC, but they also should be prepared to have an exciting, rewarding experience. If you want more information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew Allison is a junior in Timothy Dwight College and president-elect of the Yale College Council.