I write to endorse wholeheartedly Wells O’Byrne ’07 for Yale College Council president. As a YCC representative, Wells has achieved results. Based on a financial aid survey that over 800 students completed, Wells lobbied for a recalculation of the financial aid travel allowance, resulting in the increase of this allowance for nearly half of financial aid recipients and adding $162,000 to the University’s financial aid budget. Acting on the results of the Yale Dining Services survey in which 90 percent of 2,000 respondents indicated that expansion of the Yale Sustainable Food Project in their residential college was important to them, Wells immediately pushed for action: 2,400 students signed a petition calling for more YSFP offerings in non-Berkeley dining halls, and over 500 students responded to a survey concerning YSFP expansion. Wells directed the survey results to the Council of Masters and continues to communicate with the administration about this issue.
Wells has led the campaign for the larger University goal of environmental responsibility. His YCC resolution and op-ed influenced the University to adopt one of the most progressive energy conservation policies in the nation (“Expand YSFP to vastly improve student life,” 2/22). Following this, Wells coordinated student environmental leaders and the Office of Sustainability to implement the energy conservation policy, contributing to a 9.3 percent reduction of residential college energy consumption as of March 2006.
Wells has been instrumental in many YCC successes. He helped plan and served in the Student Ambassadors Program, which sent over 100 Yalies to 249 lower-income high-achieving high schools to advertise Yale’s financial aid programs. Prior to the implementation of the student activities fee, Wells initiated the movement to involve club sports athletes in the distribution of their funds. This fall he saw to the successful startup of that body, playing a key role in the architecture of the Club Sports Advisory Board.
As YCC president, Wells will continue to advocate for students’ interests. Building on his success with financial aid, Wells will lobby for a more realistic self-help contribution, work study opportunities in public service and an increase in the international student travel allowance. He will continue to work for better food in our dining halls through YSFP and other means. Wells has proven his dedication to the YCC and effecting change on campus. With a passion for serving Yale students, he has a clear vision of how to lead the YCC next year. I encourage you to vote Wells O’Byrne for YCC president.
Geraldine Gassam is a junior in Timothy Dwight College. She is a former YCC representative.