I’m running for Yale College Council vice president.

To 90 percent of students, that means absolutely nothing. It’s easy to dismiss YCC elections as irrelevant and much ado about nothing.

It doesn’t have to be this way. I envision a YCC that will engage each and every student at Yale. I envision a strong, powerful advocacy body that will mobilize students and administrators alike in fighting for a better Yale. This is the YCC we deserve.

As a first generation, low-income student from rural Connecticut, I remember how lost I felt when I first set foot on campus. I felt like Yale did not care about students like me. From my initial frustration and despair, I resolved to focus on making Yale a more inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of who they are. So, I joined the Yale College Council, because I saw the good the YCC could do — whether it was fighting for mental health reform or financial aid reform.

We are at a pivotal point not only in Yale’s history, but in our country’s. An active and engaged YCC is vital now more than ever. With new residential colleges and a new dean of Yale College, Yale will be faced with new challenges. We will be forced to adapt and change as expansion occurs. With a president in the White House who enjoys less than 5 percent of support from Yale students, we need a YCC that will fight for the values we champion — equality, inclusion and diversity. We need the YCC to be on the front lines, fighting for every student at this crucial juncture. We need a YCC that will engage the student body directly and a YCC that will prioritize transparency and efficiency. We need a YCC that will take a stand on the issues we care about.

That is why I am running for YCC vice president: because the YCC needs to change.

I believe my experience makes me the best candidate for the position of vice president because I know how to enact real change by working through bureaucracy. As YCC Representative for Stiles, a member of several University committees, and deputy director of the Undergraduate Organizations Committee, I have devoted my time at Yale to empowering student voices and demanding a more accountable and responsive administration. I know every side of the YCC, from the Communications Team to the Council of Representatives to the UOC to University committees.

As your vice president, I will build a more efficient, accountable and engaging YCC that empowers student voices. I will focus on making our YCC a YCC for every Yalie, and not just the privileged few. YCC needs to be a truly representative body.

The YCC should directly engage all of us on projects, initiatives and new ideas. I will host college study breaks, weekly office hours, and convene monthly meetings with cultural center staff, peer liaisons and student groups. I will ensure the YCC physically shows up by holding YCC meetings in spaces across campus, including in cultural centers and throughout New Haven.

The YCC should also be transparent and accessible to all. I will publicize a calendar of the YCC’s meetings with administrators to give student groups an opportunity to submit questions and concerns we should bring to administrators. I will refocus the YCC’s policy project structure to outline more focused priorities. I will reform the YCC meeting agenda to engage representatives and create a welcoming space for dialogue and debate. I will utilize the YCC endowment to partner student groups and engage the YCC in service of the New Haven community.

YCC should empower student voices. As vice president, I will facilitate meetings between students, administrators and Yale Trustees. The YCC should promote discussion and change, not co-opt activism. I will create an advisory board to University Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews to provide student perspective on University policies. I will reform the recruitment process for student members of University committees to better reflect our diverse student body.

Working with the student body and administrators, we will make YCC a true campus partner. We will fight for the changes Yalies are passionate about. Together, let’s make this year count. And let’s make the YCC count. I know we can do this. We need to do this. And with your vote, we will.

Nick Girard is a sophomore in Ezra Stiles College. Contact him at nicholas.girard@yale.edu .