Aadit Vyas ’20 announced his candidacy for 2018–19 Yale College Council President in an unorthodox manner with a remake music video of Drake’s new hit song — “God’s Plan” — featuring Vyas busting moves alongside other Yale students.
Instead of passing out dollar bills to strangers, as Drake does in God’s Plan, Vyas hands students strips of paper spelling out some of his policy proposals, which include extending dining hall hours, introducing late-night Durfee swipes and instituting a printing stipend. In between clips of him dancing, the presidential hopeful also sheds light on his past experience with the YCC and stresses that his policy proposals are both feasible and achievable.
“I love dancing. This is the more personal side of me,” Vyas told the News. “It just felt natural, and I feel like that would be a better way of introducing myself to people.”
Vyas is running against Christopher Moeckel ’20, Saloni Rao ’20, Shunhe Wang ’20 and Azaria King ’20 for the position of YCC president.
While Vyas’ campaign video focuses on what he described as “visible” issues, his policy plans cover a broad range of topics including housing, academics, dining, YCC reforms, mental health and University services. Among his proposed initiatives are off-campus dining hall swipes that students can avail at local restaurants, support for organizations like Mind Matters to improve discourse around mental health on campus and an increase in STEM fellowships.
In particular, Vyas stressed that as president he would prioritize making the YCC more transparent, specifically by focusing on “clear communication, whether it’s emailing the student body at some regular interval or publishing a report on the website, working with the [News] to shed light on important issues.”
Vyas said his “breadth and depth of experience” sets him apart from the other YCC presidential candidates.
“The president needs to not only handle the policy side but also be able to empower organizations to pull off events,” Vyas said. “Part of the experience in the events side makes me well positioned to either connect students and organizations with the right people, the right resources, give them the right mentorship to bring their ideas into fruition, and having that breadth of experience I feel makes me uniquely positioned to lead YCC.”
Having grown up in rural Florida, Vyas added, he has not always been as particularly politically engaged. But that, he said, has changed since he arrived at Yale, which he described as a “political pressure cooker.”
In his first year on campus, Vyas joined the YCC Events Committee and served as president of the First-Year Class Council, where he played a leading role in organizing the First-Year Olympics and First-Year Formal. He later served as vice president of the Sophomore Class Council and has served as a YCC representative this past year. Vyas also served on last year’s campaign team of current YCC president Matt Guido ’19.
Aside from his work in student government, Vyas, a computer science major, co-founded the Yale Helix Group – an organization that connects students interested in health care and computer science with members of the health care community to promote the use of cutting-edge technology in medical practice. He also actively conducts research at a data-science lab on campus and serves as a Pierson Intra-Mural secretary.
Vyas said he hopes to convey to student voters that the YCC presidency is not a matter of “title chasing” to him but rather a pursuit of one of his many “unorthodox” passions.
Shawn Luciani ’20, who currently serves on the YCC council of representative and associates, said he supports Vyas’ campaign for president and described him as an “extremely kind, dedicated and talented leader.”
And Kahlil Greene ’21, a friend of Vyas who worked on his campaign video, said he endorses Vyas based on his experience and “highly magnetic and welcoming” personality.
“When I was an incoming student last year, I told him that I was interested in Student Government and he took time out of his summer to talk to me about what it was like being in [First-year College Council],” Greene said. “He is a kind hearted person with all of the qualifications to be a great leader.”
Vyas said if he is not elected president, he still plans to be involved with the YCC through the events committee and that he would consider spearheading specific policy plans.
Regarding his plans after Yale, Vyas said that while he would love to participate in politics in the future, he wants to balance that desire with a prospective future in STEM.
“Surgeon general,” he admits, “would be dope.”
Carly Wanna | firstname.lastname@example.org