When asked why he would like to be President of the Yale College Council, Kahlil Greene ’21 said he wants to “keep up the momentum.”
Greene, the current YCC finance director, is running an establishment campaign. Unopposed on the ticket, Greene’s election will mark a first for Yale’s student government: When elected, he will be the first black president of the YCC. Announcing his candidacy on March 30, he vowed to follow in the footsteps of Saloni Rao ’20, the “best president” that the YCC has had in a long time, he told the News. He is running alongside vice presidential candidate Grace Kang ’21.
“Last year was a great year and Sal had a great management style that allowed us to stabilize the YCC and implement meaningful projects. But it was not perfect,” Greene said. “The YCC can especially improve in being more responsive to contemporary campus concerns. During my presidency, I want to increase our interactions with the campus community and improve the Yale experience in an equitable way.”
According to his campaign website, Greene plans to implement a “4×4 Policy Plan” that focuses on four aspects: the facilitation of meaningful interactions between Yale and New Haven; the fostering of a safer, healthier and more equitable campus culture; the enhancement of the quality of the University’s academics and facilities; and the improvement of the YCC’s capacity to cater to student demands. Greene and Kang, on their joint ticket, are proposing four specific proposals for each of these aspects.
Within his 4×4 Policy Plan, Greene’s priority is fostering a safer, healthier and more equitable campus culture. He said that the YCC’s role should be targeted toward sponsoring student groups and their various activities, where Yale’s student government has historically been lacking. According to Greene, the president of the YCC should be more engaged with the campus community and more “responsive” to campus issues, such as the lack of administrative support for the Program of Ethnicity, Race and Migration.
“This year’s YCC knows how to get things done, but it hasn’t been the voice of the undergraduate community,” he said. “What the students are thinking and doing is the final frontier that we need to hone in on.”
Greene said he and his running mate have largely complementary skill sets. He said that Kang — who is this year’s YCC policy director — has a “library of knowledge” about University and campus policy. Greene, on the other hand, knows more about funding given his current role as finance director.
“My role as the finance director has allowed me to have a variety of experience that no one else has,” he said. “I know how to operate the system and I want to help the YCC’s initiatives to grow and expand.”
Jackie Woldemariam ’21, who became friends with Greene during her first year at Yale, described Greene as a “motivated and dedicated” person who works hard to get things done.
“He is the type of person that is very good when it comes to cultural and social affinity groups,” she said. “I think he will be a president who is very attentive to students’ needs and will work with other student groups to bring about actual changes.”
Greene also currently serves as the treasurer of the Yale Black Men’s Union. Isaac Yearwood ’22, a member of the BMU, told the News that all of his interactions with Greene have been “inspiring, engaging and good humored” and described Greene as a role model. Yearwood added that it will be “awe-inspiring” to see a person of color in a position of influence.
Karen Li ’22, who worked with Greene in planning recent YCC projects — such as the New Haven Explorers program — said that she admired Greene for his leadership and dedication. She said that as the finance director, he knows a lot about the “ins and outs” of the system and added that he knows how to delegate tasks efficiently.
Unlike last year, when Rao was contending against four other candidates, Greene is the sole candidate for YCC president this year.
Kahlil recognized that, as an uncontested candidate, he may have to work harder to prove that he deserves his place. He encouraged the Yale community to hold him accountable like they would for any other candidate.
“Even though I don’t have contestants, I am determined to keep improving,” he said. “I believe I am qualified, and I am determined to prove to everyone my capabilities as the YCC president.”
Online voting will take place between April 11 and 12 on the Yale College Voting Booth portal.
Ayumi Sudo | firstname.lastname@example.org