Why run for events director during COVID-19? This has certainly been the most glaring question I have received since announcing my candidacy. Of course, the question is not completely unfounded. The fact of the matter is that the YCC events branch will be very different than what it once was. No longer will we have large gatherings in the Sterling Nave or spend late nights dancing in cowboy hats at Box 63. Instead, YCC events will adhere to the guidelines spelled out on the Yale COVID website that imposes strict, but absolutely necessary, limits on in-person events. Given the restrictions, it’s no surprise that I have received the same question over and over.
But my experience with the YCC has shown me that the events we put on are so much more than having people in a room together. Instead, over my past two years of serving as deputy director, I have found myself looking deeper and deeper into the role that events play for the Yale community. As a first year, much of my enthusiasm was in the work that goes into executing events for my fellow Yalies. There was something very fulfilling about setting up for an event hours before opening or helping bring student voices into the larger campus narrative. While I still find such things fulfilling, I have also come to see a deeper side to events planning.
Given the interactive but also often academically challenging environment that Yale presents, I truly believe that events serve as a much-needed outlet for students to enjoy themselves without guilt. I find that most Yale students often feel pressure to succeed in all that they do whether it is their academics, extracurriculars or personal lives. Through serving on the YCC events branch, I have seen how vital having something to simply look forward to and enjoy is to our college experiences.
Further, as I continued to serve on the YCC, I became more and more cognizant of the sheer importance of student voices. The fact of the matter is that the sole purpose of the Yale College Council as a whole is to listen to and benefit the student body. Given this, it is absolutely essential that the YCC events regularly reach out to individual students as well as student organizations to put on events better suited to the needs of Yale students. I believe this goal was met fairly well this past year, as Steven Orientale ’21 and I worked together to listen to student voices via direct conversations and communication. Our commitment to listening to student voices also helped us engage with student groups to promote and execute other events going on campus. For example, we were able to work with Yale Student Environmental Coalition and other YCC officers to put on the Climate Change Summit in the Sterling Nave.
This year I plan to use what I have learned to maintain the same spirit of community and openness of the YCC events branch as well as my innovation to help transition the branch into a COVID-safe environment. I now find myself in a slightly historic situation in which I must occupy the YCC events director position in a manner in which it has never been occupied before. That said, I am hopeful that YCC events this year can have a positive and meaningful impact on the community.
I plan on ensuring this through three main platform goals: student wellness, community bonding and New Haven relations. In regards to the first goal, student wellness is a matter I have always felt passionately about — but even more so now given the state of the world. Through this initiative, I hope to help execute mental wellness webinars as well as online exercise courses and mindfulness practices.
Community bonding will differ from student wellness as it will be targeted more towards bringing the community closer together. I believe the main challenge with this initiative rests on the fact that online applications such as Zoom are rarely considered when discussing fun and exciting events. That said, I plan on combating this stigma by encouraging students to step out of their comfort zones. I hope to hold events such as online open mics and virtual hobby workshops.
Lastly, I plan on maintaining the strong and long-established relationship between YCC events and local New Haven restaurants. This will be done through continuing our annual YCC events restaurant lotteries as well as trying to organize virtual cooking workshops with local cooks and remote or off-campus students.
All in all, although I am running unopposed, I encourage the student body to judge me as though I were not. At the end of the day, I believe that I am the right person for this position given not only my experience, but also my commitment to the student body.
CHLOE ADDA is a junior in Morse College. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.