Around this time last year, we were in the middle of making a very important decision — to run, or not to run for the Yale College Council? There were plenty of reasons not to run — fear of managing a campus-wide campaign, fear of putting ourselves out there, fear of being known as “the people who lost” the election, fear of being unable to deliver on our promises, fear of another year of an ineffective YCC. Failure is a scary thing.
So, why did we end up running? We ran because we asked ourselves a simple question — What could we bring to the table? It is not presumptuous to wholeheartedly believe in your own qualifications, drive, grit and work ethic. In deciding whether or not to run for the YCC, we invite you to ask yourselves this same question.
If you think you can do some good in the role, then you owe it to yourself and the entire student body, to run.
If and when you decide to run, we want to key you into a couple of perks of the job. For one, it is immensely gratifying on a personal level. You, too, could spend your Friday night checking in hundreds of first years at the First-Year Formal (and snag some finger food in the process). You, too, could be entrusted with carting a massive box of tampons from Silliman to Pierson. You, too, could be charged with changing your cover photo for the 10th time to advertise yet another YCC project.
But in all seriousness, the work really does pay off. Whether it’s eating a chicken tender in the Slifka Center at 8:30 p.m. and knowing that you helped make late-night dining available to busy students or sitting across the table from Dean Marvin Chun to advocate for issues that Yalies care about, the long hours are worth it. After all, the work you are doing for your extracurricular has the chance to impact not just your own experience, but the experiences of thousands of students — including future Yalies that have yet to call this campus home.
For years, the YCC was regarded as a mere resume booster, a place where future politicians could hone their networking skills. We were distrusted by students and administrators alike, perpetuating our status as a “boys’ club.”
We wanted to change all of that. And we strongly believe that we did. It is our hope that in this past year, we have given students reason to trust us and to believe in our capacity to make actionable change.
In the past year, the YCC has worked with residential colleges to introduce free menstrual products for students. We advocated for improvements to Dean’s Excuses for athletes and those facing mental health issues. We launched a new shuttle line, partnered with companies to offer students discounted Lyft rides and free bike sharing memberships, pushed for more confidential Plan B distribution at Yale Health, kick started a task force to manage voter registration for the 2018 fall elections, and created programs such as the New Haven Interns and New Haven Explorers programs to take tangible steps towards bettering the New Haven-Yale relationship. We have worked every single day to make this campus a better place, but this work cannot continue without you.
We’re calling on the student body to run for the YCC. Without a representative student body, we are unable to bring different perspectives to our work. While not impossible, it is certainly more difficult to advocate for something that you have never experienced. Without YCC members who are majoring in STEM fields, the issue of STEM mentorship and unpaid research might go under the radar. Without YCC members involved in athletics, we might not have understood the stress caused by returning late from a game and having a test the next morning. Without YCC members who care about the experience of menstruation, there might not be free tampons in residential college bathrooms.
What other perspectives are we missing? What you can bring to the table?
At the end of the day, the YCC is just another student organization. Without its musicians, the Yale Symphony Orchestra wouldn’t be able to make music. Without its players, the basketball team wouldn’t be able to win games. And without committed, driven and dedicated students, the Yale College Council won’t be able to fully serve this campus — improving it for years to come.
Too often, people believe that one person isn’t enough to make meaningful change. But the truth is entirely the opposite — change happens because someone has an idea that they’re willing to act on. We need people who have a vision and are willing to do whatever it takes to bring that vision to life. We need you at the table.
Saloni Rao is a junior in Davenport College and the president of the Yale College Council. Heidi Dong is a junior in Morse College and the vice president of the Yale College Council. Join the Yale College Council for an Elections Info Session on Wednesday, March 27 at 8 PM in LC 102. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.