The YCC speaks

Yes, the YCC does matter.

Last week, the News outlined what it called the falling relevance of student government on campus (“Does the YCC matter?” April 7, 2017). Unfortunately, the editorial only recognized some of the reforms the YCC has championed.

Take last year’s LGBTQ task force report. Thanks to the efforts of its authors, the YCC was able to strengthen resources for a community that the administration had done little for in recent years. Our work made preferred names and pronouns easily changeable online. It opened mixed-gender rooming to sophomores, juniors and seniors. It expanded health coverage for transition-related expenses. It facilitated the creation of a support program for LGBTQ upperclassmen. And it successfully pushed for the Office of LGBTQ Resources to move to a larger space.

Such changes arose from just one of many initiatives YCC representatives advocate. In the past five years, the YCC has helped bring about an enlargement of Mental Health & Counseling staff, end-of-term email notifications of grades, more transparency in leaves of absence procedure, a cap to final exam weight and a reduction in the summer income contribution. These are but a few YCC-led reforms. They do not include the day-to-day services the YCC offers, such as convenient summer storage through Boomerang or access to electronic equipment through the UOC.

These changes did not happen overnight, but without the critical foundation of our work, they might not have occurred at all. Many recommendations we have pushed for over the past few months — from updating drug policy to creating a fifth multidisciplinary academic program — will probably not come to fruition for another year or two. Still, we believe our work has paved the way for future reforms.Although this year’s elections are not as contested as they have been in the past, they by no means reflect the level of work the YCC has done on your behalf. We hope, too, that more of our peers will run in future elections. We need more individuals who will fight to make the Yale experience as great as it can be.

Following in this rich tradition of undergraduate advocacy, we have strengthened pre-existing relationships with students and sought to build new ones. Most importantly, we believe we have improved students’ on-campus experience. That is something that the YCC will never stop working toward.

Peter Huang ’18, Christopher Bowman ’18 and Sydney Wade ’18 are president, vice president and chief of staff of the Yale College Council. Contact them at ycc@yale.edu