Ryan Chiao

A newly formed body — made up of residential college council presidents and Yale College Council members — met with Yale College Dean Marvin Chun on Sept. 11 to establish the College Council Association, a group formed to promote collaboration between residential college student leaders.

The group, which met with Chun over dinner, spoke about issues ranging from college council budgets to the increasing number of students moving off campus. Originally conceived by Benjamin Franklin College Council President Spencer Hagaman ’21 and Pauli Murray College Council Secretary Michelle Tong ’21, CCA is designed to centralize communication across college councils. It will also help college councils share best practices with other colleges.

“We invited the presidents of all the college councils [to the meeting] to discuss improvements that a lot of college councils want to see,” said Karena Zhao ’21 — a Production & Design Editor for the News — this year’s inaugural YCC Residential College Director and Pierson College Council president.

While CCA is not directly controlled by the YCC, the latter will continue to help the former by facilitating contact with Yale administration, such as coordinating events like the one with Chun. Still, for the remainder of the year the CCA will remain largely independent.

According to Hagaman, the most important feature of the CCA is that it is a “nonpartisan” organization. Its members have no voting power and do not decide on YCC policy. Instead, he explained that it will emulate the existence of the United States’ National Governors Association, a group that convenes U.S. governors and is notably nonpartisan.

YCC Vice President Grace Kang ’21, who was present at the dinner with Chun, added that the CCA provides a space for residential college leaders to share experiences and ideas.

“Yale is really unique in that it has these unique microcosms within the University,” she said. “But there’s not a lot of cross-communication between the individual groups, and we’re hoping that this could be the first step in establishing this relationship between the residential colleges.”

YCC President Kahlil Greene ’21 told the News that the CCA would be particularly helpful in discussing issues like residential college budgets. He said that many college councils are unable to pinpoint their exact budget before planning events.

“This is exactly an example [of] why we need to have things like CCA so that residential colleges can compare with each other to see what is unique to them and how to fix problems they might have,” Kang said.

While the first meeting of CCA is not until early October, Hagaman expressed his excitement for the prospect of future collaboration. Greene said that one potential program that can be implemented in all colleges is BFCC’s project to provide meals for students during Camp Yale, a time when the dining halls are closed to upperclassmen. Hagaman added that extending this initiative to other colleges is “definitely a possibility,” noting that, for low-income students, the lack of dining halls is “especially” difficult.

“It’s going to be entirely student run,” Zhao said. “We want to see communication on a student level, like how to plan events [and] how to improve collaboration. We want to improve residential college life.”

Zhao pointed out that although the CCA will serve more as an “advisory board” than an event-planning committee, it will provide a space for residential college councils to brainstorm policy changes they would like to see and encourage action from the administration.

“I think [there will be] better policy collaboration,” Hagaman said, “which will result in better quality of life for students across campus.”

Yale has 14 residential colleges.

Contact Alayna Lee at alayna.lee@yale.edu and Anna Gumberg and anna.gumberg@yale.edu