Sal&Heidi for YCC

The Yale College Council’s fall election season started off with a mandatory information session for interested candidates last Tuesday. Several positions are open, including seats on the YCC’s newly-rebranded senate, all those on the First-Year Class Council, Sophomore Class Council and Junior Class Council, and positions on all five of the YCC’s committees.

Sal Rao ’20, YCC president, expressed excitement about the upcoming elections, saying there was a high turnout at the informational meeting.

“We gave a presentation on just how to get involved, whether it be through running for an elected position, through joining a committee,” Rao explained. “We had about 100 people there, which is better turnout than we’ve had in any previous years. So I’m very, very excited about that.”

There are nine open spots for elected representatives for the Senate, 28 seats on FCC, and a flexible number of positions on the SoCo, JCC and the YCC’s five Committees — business, communications, events, Spring Fling and undergraduate organizations funding.

YCC Vice President Heidi Dong ’20 told the News that 18 candidates are running for the senate this year. She noted that the level of competitiveness is similar to that of previous years.

“While the numbers of candidates and open spots fluctuate from year to year, I think part of the consideration is how many open spots there are,” Dong explained. “Last fall, there were 15 seats open, which led to I think a similar level of competitiveness, although there were more candidates in total.”

This year, there is a new election policy for the Sophomore and Junior Class councils. In the past, both were composed of elected positions — usually one or two students from each residential college. Starting this fall, though, the YCC is switching to an application process. Interested candidates for each council must fill out an online application, answering questions pertaining to their interest in serving on the council, ideas, class year and extracurricular load.

While this is the first year in which the new policy will apply, the constitutional amendment changing the process was made by last year’s YCC.

“The elections for SoCo and JCC did not attract many candidates, and usually the bulk of the members of the class councils joined as associate members rather than run in elections,” explained Nick Girard ’19, last year’s YCC vice president. “Given this, the general success of both the YCC committee applications and the Senior Class Council being application based, the YCC Council of Representatives approved a constitutional amendment to move SoCo and JCC to applications and retain FCC as elected.”

Rao added that since an “election is a barrier of entry for a lot people,” moving to an application process could also help attract more interest.

Heather Foster ’21, president of this year’s SoCo, said there was no set number of council members SoCo was looking for, but, she added, “the more the merrier!”

“I’d love to have members from every college, but at the end of the day, having more members means we’re able to put on more, bigger, better events,” Foster said.

FCC, however, remains a council of elected members. Girard explained that the YCC’s decision not to switch FCC from an election to an application process had to do with the relatively high interest among first-year students.

Girard also noted that the FCC is the only forum for first-year elected representatives, unless their college has an empty YCC Senate seat.

“Prior FCC chairs were particularly insistent on keeping it elected,” Girard said. “It provides first years an opportunity to be engaged and meet their class through campaigning. Unless their college has an open YCC Council seat, now Senate seat, there was no elected representation of the first-year class. Sophomores and above generally decide to run for YCC proper, meaning that SoCo and JCC often have less interest.”

Approximately 200 students have also applied for positions on the YCC’s five committees.

According to YCC Events Director Caleigh Propes ’20, the Spring Fling Committee and Events Committee are seeking approximately 20 members each. YCC Student Organizations Director Addison Jakubowicz ’20 said she was looking for about ten students for the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee. YCC Communications Director Brienna Carter ’21 is looking for about four students, in addition to a few photographers, for the Communications Committee.

“We didn’t want to put a hard upper limit on any of the Committee capacities because we wanted to ensure that we are able to engage with each and every applicant who was qualified and interested in hopping on board with the YCC,” Rao explained.

The campaigning period for candidates began Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. and continues until the start of the voting period at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday.

Aakshi Chaba | aakshi.chaba@yale.edu