Having served as the sole student voice alongside faculty members and administrators in various University-wide committees, Nick Girard ’19, who is running uncontested for YCC vice president, said he recognizes the importance of collaboration between administrators and students in generating meaningful change on campus.
As vice president, Girard said he would help lead the YCC to partner with student groups in order to make meaningful change at Yale.
“It’s about what the YCC can do with you. It’s the YCC coming to you: ‘Here’s what we can do together,’ not ‘what the YCC can do for you,’” Girard said. “I’m going to make the YCC relevant.”
Currently representing Ezra Stiles College on the Council, Girard, a history and political science major, holds weekly office hours to listen to students’ questions and concerns. He added that he plans to expand the YCC’s direct engagement with the student body by conducting monthly meetings with high-impact student groups on campus.
As a first-generation student from a low-income family in rural Connecticut, Girard recalled feeling lost when first setting foot on campus. His platform features many proposals that aim to make Yale more welcoming to all students, regardless of family background.
With the imminent opening of the two residential colleges and the appointment of a new Yale College dean, Girard said the YCC should clearly delineate its priorities, rather than giving equal weight to every project. To reduce internal bureaucracy and improve engagement with students, Girard said he would restructure the YCC’s weekly meeting agendas to include updates from meetings with University administrators and discussion about what is happening on campus.
Noting the historic lack of female candidates in this year’s YCC elections, Girard said he plans to cooperate with the Yale Women’s Center to encourage more female students to run for leadership positions in the fall.
Girard, the president of the College Democrats of Connecticut, is a part of the Yale Democrats coalition that helped push the Connecticut state legislature to establish affirmative consent as a threshold for sexual assault cases across colleges in the state. The experience made Girard realize the importance of advocacy from within and activism from without for effective changes.
Former President of Yale College Democrats Maxwell Ulin ’17, who led the coalition, said that during the campaign, Girard was one of the organization’s best legislative captains.
He added that Girard has been involved with state politics since high school and has built a good relationship with local representatives and state legislators.
“He has always cared about YCC and its management,” Ulin said. “He is tremendously knowledgeable about affairs going on in the administration and the YCC and has quite a legalistic mind.”
Steven Tian ’20, YCC representative for Silliman College and a friend of Girard’s, described him as an inclusive leader who believes in collaboration. He added that Girard has a way of connecting with people and making everyone feel included and welcomed.