Five students will vie for Yale College Council president in this year’s election, making for a significantly more competitive race than last year, the YCC announced on Thursday.

Aadit Vyas ’20, Azaria King ’20, Christopher Moeckel ’20, Saloni Rao ’20 and Shunhe Wang ’20 will all be running for the position of president. In addition, three students are running for vice president and one for events director — the two other YCC officer positions. By contrast, only two candidates ran for YCC president last year, and both the vice president and events director races were uncontested. This year’s candidate pool is also significantly more diverse, with five women running for office positions, compared with zero last year.

“We are absolutely thrilled to see a large and diverse interest in YCC positions, particularly in YCC officer positions,” said Nick Girard ’19, the current YCC vice president. “This year, our membership has worked hard to produce real results for the student body. There is always progress to be made and more to be done to improve YCC, and we are so excited to see that a new group of candidates has stepped up to carry forward that work.”

Voting in the YCC elections will begin on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. and will continue until 9 p.m. on Friday night. The candidates for vice president are Casey Ramsey ’20, Heidi Dong ’20 and Remy Dhingra ’20. Caleigh Propes ’20 is running for events director.

Because of the low number of candidates in last year’s elections, the YCC has intensified its recruiting efforts over the last year, focusing on creating campuswide policy changes to generate more interest in the student council. These changes included a new, more flexible Credit/D/Fail policy, the introduction of American Sign Language classes for Yale College students and the creation of the Domestic Summer Award — a $4,000 grant awarded to students on financial aid for art apprenticeships as well as unpaid internships at nonprofit organizations, NGOs and government agencies in the United States.

The approach appears to have succeeded, with three men and two women running for YCC president this year, compared to the two men — current YCC President Matt Guido ’19 and defeated candidate Adam Michalowski ’19 — who ran last year.

Moeckel, a candidate for president, told the News that he is running for the position because “Yale students deserve a better college council.” Moeckel stressed that the YCC “should be a vehicle for change.”

Rao, who is also running for president, emphasized her desire to improve the YCC.

“I’m running for this position because I believe that the YCC has the ability to grow into a more representative, powerful and effective organization,” Rao told the News. “I plan on using my years of YCC experience to couple concrete goals with the extensive internal YCC reform necessary to achieve them.”

In an interview with the News, Guido highlighted the diversity of the candidate pool this year, making note of the five female candidates running for the officer positions.

“I also think that there’s a lot of diversity among our candidates,” Guido told the News. “This is something that we sometimes don’t have, and YCC has often times struggled to have female candidates in top positions, and this year we have a number of them.”

King, a candidate for president, cited her desire to increase diversity on the council as one of the reasons she originally joined the organization, for which she serves asstudent outreach director. King said she decided to run for YCC president to address issues of diversity “head-on.”

Vyas and Wang, the two other candidates for president, did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.

Ramsey, a candidate for YCC vice president, said he is running to increase the representation of students of color and low-income students on the council.

“So essentially I’m running to make sure that first-generation, low-income students and students of color get representation in YCC, either through my experiences as a first-generation, low-income student or representatives from the cultural centers,” Ramsey told the News. “Access to mental health resources is also a top priority for me.”

Dong, who is also running for vice president, said that while she has enjoyed her work with the YCC — she is currently YCC university services director — she believes the organization should be better, and wants to use what she learned to “better connect with the student body and better advocate for change.”

Dhingra, the other candidate for vice president, did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Aakshi Chaba |