The Yale College Council has unveiled several new initiatives with the start of the new academic year, including student handbooks and an update of the Yale safety app LiveSafe.
The first-year handbook provides guidelines to new students on issues ranging from transportation to packing to pre-registration to campus safety. The first-year handbook, co-authored by Task Force Director Nick Zevallos ’19 and Academics Director Saloni Rao ’20, was sent out to all first-years over the summer. Additionally, in an email to all undergraduate students Tuesday night, the YCC sent a handbook on finding, applying for and getting promotions at on-campus student jobs. Both projects were carried over from the previous YCC administration.
Xiaoxi Gao ’21 said the handbook was a helpful resource.
“I would say that the most helpful part was the list of important dates,” Gao said. “It was in a simple format that had all the most important dates in one place.”
Zevallos and Rao began writing the first-year handbook in the spring. Rao said that although similar reports from the past -informed their guide, such as the Davenport First-Year Counselor Handbook and one by the Asian American Cultural Center first-year guide team, the YCC one differs from its predecessors in its “length and organization.” Rao noted that while the YCC handbook was only 11 pages long, other handbooks can reach 100 pages or more.
According to YCC President Matt Guido ’19, the student jobs handbook, a collaboration between the YCC and the Yale College Dean’s Office, was created in response to student concerns about on-campus job search. The handbook contains detailed information about resumes, interviews, methods of payment and asking for raises.
The YCC also introduced an update to the LiveSafe mobile app, which connects students, faculty and staff to Yale Police, to allow students to report sexual misconduct via text. YCC Chief of Staff Devyn Rigsby ’19 said many students and administrators had requested the feature in the past.
YCC Vice President Nick Girard ’19 said that while the board spent the summer focusing on their goals and visions for their upcoming projects during the year, some ongoing task forces and projects from the previous council will continue to develop, including the Undergraduate Learning Assistance Program, the Student Athlete Task Force and the Task Force on Disability Resources.
The proposal to extend the deadline to change a course mode to Credit/D/Fail by an additional two weeks is at the final stage and is awaiting approval from the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing, which will meet in October, Rigsby said.
New members of the YCC are also planning other initiatives, such as the inaugural YCC Women’s Forum, which will feature speakers and workshops about how to navigate being a woman in a leadership role.
Rigsby, who chairs the forum and is the highest-ranking female in the YCC, said she is concerned about the lack of women in YCC leadership and hopes to inspire more women to take up leadership positions.
Rigsby added that the YCC intends to meet the challenges associated with the additional number of students enrolled in Yale College this year. Those challenges include managing seminar enrollment and advising programs for first-years and sophomores.
“This year is going to be different from any year YCC has ever seen,” Girard said. “We’ll have more seats open due to the new colleges … I think we’ll have an interesting council with more first-years, a lot of [whom] are excited about the YCC and to be a part of this time in Yale’s history.”
Brittany Smith | firstname.lastname@example.org | @YDNBSmith