Around 30 students attended the Yale College Council’s first candidate information session on Wednesday evening, marking the beginning of the YCC’s 2018–19 election season.
Candidates will be running to fill the YCC’s officer positions, which include president, vice president, events director, Sophomore Class Council president and Junior Class Council president. The elections will also decide the composition of the Council of Representatives, which is composed of two members from each residential college.
“YCC is a really great way to make a positive impact on Yale’s community,” said Silliman Council representative David Glaess ’19, addressing the potential candidates. “We find bigger issues at Yale, study them and research them. We then write policy reports that go to administrators. A couple months or years down the line, something real comes of that.”
Wednesday’s information session will be followed by a pre-campaign period during which interested candidates can begin to form a team, create a platform and establish a social media presence, if they so choose. The formal campaigning period will begin on April 5, and will conclude on April 12, when voting will open.
The Council Elections Commission, composed of five members, enforces election procedure and rules and oversees the elections. Chaired by the current YCC Vice President Nick Girard ’19, the council consists of three juniors and two seniors, chosen by a nomination process.
“The rest of the members are selected through talking to student group leaders, reaching out to residential college presidents, soliciting nominations,” Girard told the News. “It’s a requirement for being on the council that they are neutral and not supporting a candidate, but we also like to pick from upperclassmen who wouldn’t necessarily know some of the younger sophomores or first years running for positions.”
The YCC hopes that more students will run for leadership positions this year, as only two candidates ran for president last year and the elections for vice president and events director were uncontested.
Girard said the YCC has made a major recruitment push over the past year to remedy this problem.
“We’ve tried to do a lot of the work generally over this year, in terms of, trying to make a lot of policy accomplishments that I think will interest people in running for YCC — from the Domestic Summer Award to ASL to Credit/D/Fail,” Girard said. “We’ve tried to make a lot of policy changes that people are able to really see and tangibly take part in. I hope that does engage people.”
The Domestic Summer Award, which the YCC helped create last fall, is a $4,000 award given to students who have unpaid internships at nonprofit organizations nongovernmental organizations and government agencies, or participate in arts apprenticeships. In October 2017, the YCC suggested that Yale offer undergraduates the opportunity to take American Sign Language courses for credit. And this spring, the organization worked with university administrators to extend the Credit/D/Fail period to the middle of the term, and give students the option to switch to Credit/D/Fail at any time during the first eight weeks of the semester.
Students attending the information session emphasized their desire to make a positive impact on the Yale community when explaining their interest in running for YCC positions.
“I’m running for sophomore class president because I seek to make a positive difference at Yale,” Megan Sardis ’21 said. “I hope to encourage inclusiveness, diversity and increased involvement in the New Haven community.”
Aadit Vyas ’20 said he plans to run for office to improve the Yale experience for all students and build on the work of students who have served on the YCC in past years.
The Yale College Council was established in 1972.
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