John Risbergs ’17 hopes to balance the Yale College Council budget as well as he balances athletics and his school work.
Risbergs, running for YCC finance director, is a member of the varsity heavyweight crew team and is the president of the Yale Undergraduate Social Investment Team. Risbergs’ platform includes proposals to reallocate the YCC budget across events and student organizations, to remove admissions fees from YCC events, including Freshman Screw and P.S. I Crush You, and to improve the quality of these events.
In his campaign statement, Risbergs promises to sustain an efficient YCC budget that “maximizes enjoyment of student life and provides Yale students with what they want.”
Next year, the student activities fee will increase from $75 to $125, bringing it closer to the Ivy League average of $160. In the 2014–15 academic year, 423 students chose to waive the optional SAF. Next year, the University will cover the fee for those with a demonstrated financial need. These changes will increase the YCC annual budget from $240,000 to $330,000, said Risbergs.
Risbergs said he will put the increased YCC budget toward funding student organizations, club sports and student events. Risbergs sees this increase as essential for securing better performers at Spring Fling and keeping Yale students involved and engaged with the YCC.
Additionally, Risbergs proposes eliminating admissions fees to all YCC events.
“It’s an affordability thing. I’m personally on financial aid, and I know that $10 a ticket is an expense that people who are on full financial aid are not going to pay for,” Risbergs said.
Risbergs also said he plans to improve the transparency of the YCC budget. He noted that last year’s budget included $4,500 of “miscellaneous” spending, without an explanation of what this comprised.
“As a student of Yale College, I feel entitled to know where money from the activities fee is going,” he said.
Risbergs has decided not to campaign with posters and buttons; instead, he intends to donate $100, the maximum amount of money that candidates may spend on campaigning, to a charity. He said his supporters will vote on which charity will receive the $100. Risbergs said he made this decision because he thinks campaign posters are a wasteful allocation of money.
As a student athlete, Risbergs said he hopes to represent varsity athletes, both on the YCC and as a member of the Spring Fling committee, which he hopes to join.
Kamil Sadik ’16, who is on the crew team with Risbergs, said Risbergs’ affable leadership style and knowledge of finance will serve him well in the position of YCC finance director.
Risbergs is in Trumbull College and rowed for the U.S. team in the Junior World Championships in 2013.