Courtesy of Steven Orientale
Hailing from the small suburban village of Briarcliff Manor, New York, Yale College Council Events Director candidate Steven Orientale ’21 says he appreciates the importance of building a tight-knit community that one can rely on in tough times.
Orientale said that he is running to be the next Events Director because he believes that he can build a better community within the YCC by mending what he calls the “institutional divide” between Events and the policy-making branches of the YCC.
During his first year at Yale, Orientale served as Vice President of the Jonathan Edwards College Council and now serves as its President. He also represents JE as a YCC Senator. His platform, called the “Ins and Outs of Events,” emphasizes accountability from the various Events subcommittees and aims to create a more unified Yale community.
“I will focus on unifying Events with the rest of the YCC in order to best follow through with the YCC’s mission to better the experience of the student body,” Orientale said. “In addition, I really enjoyed working with the JECC and planning all of the events that I have thus far, as well as working on policy through the YCC. Being the next Events Director would allow me to combine these two areas.”
If elected, Orientale will serve as the head of the Events and Spring Fling Committees and will work closely with the individual class councils to plan events for specific classes.
The Events Committee plans and executes a wide variety of YCC activities on campus like the Hoedown at Box63 and a number of study breaks. The Spring Fling Committee focuses solely on the large annual spring concert for Yale students. The Director also manages events that the YCC co-sponsors with other groups and helps plan YCC-only events.
As a leader in the JECC over these last couple of years, Orientale has planned college events such as mentorship nights, big-little sib activities and events for the Yale-Harvard game. After one year of working on the JECC, Orientale decided last year that he wanted to become more involved with Yale’s entire undergraduate community. So, he ran for and won a seat on the YCC Senate representing JE.
As a YCC Senator this year, Orientale has been involved in analyzing the impact of creating academic minors in Yale College. His other large initiative is the newly-announced Lunch with Faculty program, which gives undergraduates the opportunity to connect with a professor outside of the classroom. Orientale added that as Events Director, he would like to work on creating more “policy-related events” such as Lunch with Faculty — events that are currently chiefly run through the Senate branch of the YCC, but could be “easily integrated into Events.”
If elected, the global affairs and neuroscience major will focus on the internal accountability of YCC Events, especially regarding its use of funding — which chiefly comes from the $125 Student Activities fee that is automatically added to undergraduates’ bills unless they opt out. The Events Committee came under fire last year after the News reported that they used funds from the fee to buy Patagonia sweaters for the entire committee. Orientale said that the student body deserves more transparency in regards to how Events utilizes the money raised from the fee. He is proposing that Events provide budget overviews to students, increase the number of student surveys and publish non-confidential meeting minutes.
Another aspect of his agenda concerns the types of events he wants to organize. Orientale wants to forge closer ties with other student groups on campus and host events with them. Other proposals include introducing a lottery prize system to encourage students to attend sporting events and hosting a series of performances by local New Haven artists, DJs and comedians on campus. His main goal is to create events where different student groups can connect with one another.
“Student government has really been my major extracurricular commitment,” Orientale told the News. “I really have focused my energy on these two activities, YCC and JECC, because I truly believe that both organizations have the ability to impact large communities in great ways.”
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