Chao ’10 aims to expand, publicize

Name: Michael Chao

Residential college: Pierson

Class year: 2010

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Major: Undeclared

Michael Chao ’10, who has been involved in the Pierson College Council as co-chair of its Student Life Committee and was a member of its Student Activities Committee this year, said his commitment to student government and his perceptiveness to students’ needs would serve him well as Yale Student Activities Committee chair.

Chao said he hopes to make some structural changes to YSAC, including expanding it from its current size of 13 members to 24, combining it with the Committee for Campus-wide Activities to help bolster communication between the two organizations, and increasing its transparency by keeping students informed about its financial decisions.

“YSAC tends to be an entity that nobody knows much about,” he said. “And yet we have the largest budget of any student group on campus. We need to let students know where this money is going.”

Chao said he also hopes to increase the number of events YSAC puts on annually, which he said would be easier if the group were expanded.

One plan, Chao said, is to hold regular open-mic nights featuring Yale singers and bands with a view to helping “student performers get more exposure.”

“We’ve done a good job of adding new activities this year, while keeping our budget even lower than in previous years,” he said. “But there’s plenty of room for improvement.”

—Ambika Bhushan

Hsieh to focus on feedback

Name: Thomas Hsieh

Residential college: Jonathan Edwards

Class Year: 2008

Hometown: Bethesda, Maryland

Major: Biomedical engineering, psychology

Thomas Hsieh ’08, who served on the Yale Student Activities Committee as the Jonathan Edwards representative, said that if elected, he will continue working to ensure that next year — his final year at Yale — will be “the best it can be.”

Hsieh comes into the election having been part of the JE SAC and the social chair for the Zeta Psi fraternity, which he said has given him experience at planning events on a variety of scales. Hsieh is also a production and design editor for the News.

“I want to make a big difference in improving the social life at Yale,” he said.

He would like to help draw a wider range of students to YSAC events. Activities like this year’s “Mr. Yale” competition — which Hsieh produced — were successful because they involved all 12 residential colleges in friendly competition, an approach he hopes to apply to more events, he said.

One of Hsieh’s plans is to hold a Social Cup — an “IM-like system” that would give the residential colleges the chance to put on different competitive events.

He also wants to improve channels of feedback from students by administering more students polls aimed at identifying the activities that draw the most interest.

Hsieh stressed that his years in student government differentiate him from the others in the race.

“I bring with me three years of experience,” he said. “No other candidate has that.”

—Ambika Bhushan

Landeta plans charity events

Name: Katrina Landeta

Residential college: Branford

Class year: 2010

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Major: Undeclared

Katrina Landeta ’10, the Branford representative on the Freshman Class Council and chair of its Activities Committee last semester, said her “passion for student government and enthusiasm for planning events” would translate well into a position as YSAC Chair.

Landeta, who is also involved as an executive board member on Kasama, the Filipino club at Yale, said her leadership experiences on campus have given her a feel for planning events on a schoolwide scale. This semester, she said, her efforts are invested in planning the upcoming Freshman Olympics and the first-ever Freshman Showcase, a talent show that she hopes will end the year “with a bang.”

She said her primary goals in running for chair are to strengthen YSAC’s current role on campus and to extend the scope of its events.

“YSAC events should not only entertain Yalies, but have a philanthropic purpose,” she said.

Landenta said she hopes to collaborate with community service clubs on campus to plan more charity events. She said she also plans to organize more off-campus activities that give Yalies the chance to interact with the New Haven community.

Another plan, she said, is to create a student activities resource database, a centralized, online resource for student groups on campus — a feature that she said would ease the process of planning activities and improve their quality.

“My leadership style is good for a job like this,” she said. “I don’t believe in a top-down approach. I work with people along the way.”

—Ambika Bhushan