Marks’ focus is CCA, outreach to students

Name: Harrison Marks

College: Timothy Dwight

Year: 2010

Hometown: Bedford, N.Y.

Major: Undeclared

Although he jokingly describes Ultimate Frisbee IMs as his “favorite thing in the entire world,” Harrison Marks ’10 is very serious when he says student government is his primary focus at Yale.

Marks, one of three candidates running for Yale College Council treasurer, experienced firsthand the workings of the Freshman College Council and the YCC during his freshman year. As treasurer, he said, he hopes to make Yale more accessible to students — an ambitious goal by his own admission, but one that he says can be accomplished by focusing on small improvements to specific facets of the YCC’s operations.

One part of the YCC ripe for overhaul is the Committee for Campus-wide Activities, Marks said. He said student organizations are not sufficiently aware of the funds available to them through the CCA, and he questioned whether the timing of the CCA’s distribution of funds — too late in the school year, he said — made the best use of YCC resources.

To remedy this problem, Marks hopes to create a “CCA Outreach Committee” that would encourage organizations to apply for funding.

Marks said he also wants to solicit input from the student body as to where the YCC budget should be spent. He said the YCC currently determines its budget based on a fixed idea that students want the bulk of the money to be spent on Spring Fling and a winter show, but that he wanted to make sure the budget was aligned with student preferences.

Marks served as the chair of the FCC last semester and represented Timothy Dwight on the YCC this semester.

— Caitlin Roman

Nguyen wants to link groups

Name: Carrie Nguyen

College: Ezra Stiles

Year: 2009

Hometown: San Jose, Calif.

Major: Undeclared

Treasurer candidate Carrie Nguyen ’09 envisions a Yale College Council that links campus organizations together, helping students communicate effectively to promote inter-group cooperation. To accomplish this, Nguyen proposes to strategically centralize the YCC and overhaul its Web site.

Nguyen, a former Freshman College Council chair, current member of the Yale Student Activities Committee and co-chair of this year’s Spring Fling and Last Comic Standing, said her experience with Yale student government will allow her to execute the ambitious outreach plans she has for the YCC right away.

“My mission would be to transform the YCC into a link between all campus groups,” Nguyen said. “I know a lot of candidates are promising concrete things like increasing financial aid, and these are very appealing issues. But my platform is based around setting goals that are practical that I can achieve in the next year.”

Making the YCC’s expenditures more transparent to students is a key objective, Nguyen said, noting that many students did not know they could opt out of the Student Activities Fee. To this end, she said, she hopes to add to the YCC Web site weekly budget updates and centralized information about groups that provide funding for student activities. She said that to help reach out to students, she would create a YCC marketing chair position.

In addition to her involvement with FCC and YCC, Nguyen has served on the board of the Vietnamese Students Association and on the Ezra Stiles College Council.

— Caitlin Roman

Wu ’09 aims to extend role

Name: Jonathan Wu

College: Pierson

Year: 2009

Hometown: Great Neck, NY

Major: Philosophy and Psychology

Jonathan Wu ’09, a former treasurer of his high school’s student government, said the treasurer’s role should not be limited to accurate record-keeping, but should extend to decision-making about where funds are spent.

“I’m definitely comfortable with balancing a checkbook,” he said. “The treasurer position should be more based on the ideas the candidate has for that money.”

While students may not be passionate about financial records, there are some important issues that the treasurer does have sway over, Wu said.

“People do care about the issues we’re working on,” he said. “Students care about mandatory laundry detergent, dining hall reform and our discount program in the Ninth Square.”

Of all these issues, Wu said, dining reform is one of his major priorities.

“There’s so little flexibility,” he said. “You’re basically forced into losing a couple meals each week, because very few students go to Calhoun or Morse for early breakfasts on the weekends.”

Wu is also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, Yale Cycling and FOOT, both as a trip leader and as amember of its Diversity Corps.

— James Smithy