Remy Dhingra ’20, a candidate for 2018–19 Yale College Council vice president, is confident that, if elected, she will be able to streamline important YCC functions and tackle issues of student interest head-on.
Like her running mate, presidential hopeful Christopher Moeckel ’20, Dhingra does not have any previous experience on the YCC. But the aspiring vice president considers this a boon rather than a disadvantage.
“A lot of the other candidates have been embedded in the structure of the YCC for a long time, and that can create limitations,” Dhingra told the News. “Chris and I would be coming in not used to the kind of extensive, data-gathering, tedious, working on policy reports. We come in a lot more proactive than that … having a fresh mindset, fresh eyes in the leadership position.”
Dhingra’s opponents in the race for vice president are Casey Ramsey ’20 and Heidi Dong ’20.
A sophomore in Ezra Stiles college, Dhingra said that as vice president she would prioritize internal YCC reforms. In addition to ensuring that the minutes from all council meeting are consistently published online, Dhingra said she hopes to amend the YCC constitution to include one senator per college on the council of representatives, rather than the current two. Such a policy, Dhingra added, would make the council more efficient and generate more contested races for positions.
Additionally, Dhingra stressed that the YCC should spend less time generating policy reports and more time advocating for and making sure it enacts a handful of recommendations.
“I think that the main issue with the YCC is that it spreads itself too thin,” Dhingra said. “Candidates try to run on such a broad range of policies and so many policies that when they actually try to implement them, it doesn’t work. YCC website has a list of over ten policy reports that have been worked on this year or are still currently being worked on. I think that’s far too much to be effective.”
Beyond internal YCC reforms, Dhingra is advocating for a novel approach to reducing the student income contribution. The plan, which she devised with Moeckel, is to lobby the University administration for a month and, if there is no response, to incorporate a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and start independently raising funds that would go toward reducing the student effort by $500 per year. Dhingra said that she and Moeckel have spoken to “some donors” who have expressed interest in the plan.
Dhingra said she will also push to make mental health emergencies a valid reason for receiving a dean’s excuse. To do so, she plans to collaborate with the Yale Layer — an undergraduate publication dedicated to issues of mental health and student well-being — mental health educators and counselors and deans.
Dhingra’s other proposals include a semesterly $20 printing stipend for students and improved dining hall coffee. Should she become YCC vice president, Dhingra said, she would investigate whether it is the specific brand of coffee used in dining halls or the way in which the coffee is being brewed that is driving students to off-campus coffee shops.
Although Dhingra has not played a role within the YCC before, she has taken on a number of other leadership positions during her time at Yale. For the past year, she has been a member of the Development Committee for Camp Kesem, a camp program committed to supporting children whose parents have cancer. Last fall, Dhingra said, she raised $3,000 over the course of 24 hours for camp activities. Since the beginning of her first year at Yale, Dhingra has been a tour guide at the Yale Art Gallery — a role she said has taught her a lot about how to work with people from a variety of different backgrounds.
As a high school student, Dhingra said she worked with school administrators, sponsors and social media teams to organize two TEDx conferences — local gatherings where live TED-like talks and videos previously recorded at TED conferences are shared with the community.
“I got a lot of leadership experiences from organizing those conferences, but I think no matter what position you’re in, it’s really important to know how to be a member of a team and listen to other people and their experiences and knowledge they have,” Dhingra said.
Rachel Dow ’20 who oversees Camp Kesem Yale’s Development Committee, said she could attest to Dhingra’s commitment and readiness to take on additional responsibilities, adding that Dhingra is personable, friendly and easy to communicate with.
Julianna Lai | firstname.lastname@example.org