Courtesy of Diba Ghaed

This interview is a part of a five-part series on the Yale College Council candidates running for schoolwide office for the next academic year. The interview, with events director candidate Diba Ghaed ’24, was conducted via email because the candidate was unavailable for a phone interview. Ghaed is currently the YCC’s deputy director of the events committee and running for events director unopposed. Her responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

Why are you running?

The College Council Events Committee has become an integral part of my life at Yale, since I joined it at the beginning of my first year. It has been wonderful working with other hardworking, passionate and caring people to plan and execute events that bring joy to the student body. It will be an absolute honor to be able to lead such an organization. After losing nearly two years of in-person events due to the pandemic, the upcoming school year should be more than just a return to normal. There is an immense student desire to experience Yale as it used to be, and I hope to use this as a catalyst to improve the YCC Events Branch in every aspect. My platform focuses on five key areas — student voice, cross-organizational collaboration, investing in New Haven, practical events and collaboration within the Events Branch — in an effort to ensure a more productive Events Branch and facilitate a return of YCC Events that is better than ever.

What issue matters most to you?

It is vital for YCC to increase inclusivity through the prioritization of cross-organizational collaboration and by investing more into New Haven. Considering that our operating budget is significantly larger than that of other student groups, YCC should provide financial and logistical support to the many diverse interests at Yale through partnering with Cultural Centers and Houses, the Athletic Department and other organizations. In bringing together multiple organizations, the Events Branch can host exciting events that have student support. I hope to meet with a spectrum of organizations at Yale in order to best understand the desires of a broad student body.

Our support should also extend into New Haven. The Events Branch must use its expansive budget to support restaurants, small businesses and local services in the community. Through the Taste of New Haven cooking class and gift card giveaway series, I have focused on supporting local New Haven restaurants, especially BIPOC- or women-owned ones. Supporting New Haven also means hiring local comedians and DJs, working with local venues and providing students with the financial resources to shop locally.

What issues do you think matter most to Yalies?

Yalies care that their interests are being heard and their concerns are addressed in a multitude of different aspects and spheres. YCC would better serve the student body through an increase in transparency and accountability. The YCC only exists to serve the Yale student body. Funding for the Events Committee comes from the Student Activities Fee, so it’s pertinent that students not only know how those funds are spent, but to agree with it. I plan on incorporating policies that will bring greater transparency. I will ensure that an overview of the budget is available to all students at the end of each semester. Just as the Spring Fling Committee sends out surveys to gauge interest, I will seek feedback from the students. I hope to send out monthly surveys for students to share ideas for events or feedback from previous events. Applying the feedback received from the surveys/direct emails, I will work to ensure that the newsletter includes events of interest to the student body. I will also make a portion of an Events Committee meeting open to the student body each month, and reserve time for student-led discussions.

Additionally, although we hope the pandemic will have improved by the fall, I understand that some students may want to minimize their in-person participation. I commit to providing many online options throughout the year.

Why are you qualified?

I have worked alongside two terms of YCC events directors, and learned just how a well-managed event is run. I am currently the deputy events director of the YCC Events Branch. I was previously the social chair of the YCC Events Committee. Through hosting the Yale-Harvard Omni Party and Tailgate, Last Comic Standing, The Fall Comedy Show, Night at the Museum, Hoedown and countless other events and panels, I have gained relevant experience in both the internals of contracts, planning and organizational outreach as well as the actual hosting and execution of wonderful events.

I am the operating director of the Sophomore Class Council, a project head within the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project and a social committee member for the Yale Women’s Leadership Initiative. Outside of Yale, I intern for Congressman Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, in his Capitol Hill office.

What do you want to get done in your term if you’re elected?

If elected, I will focus on practical events. Besides hosting community events, the Events Branch should focus on assisting the student body by providing pragmatic services. This includes taking headshots, funding external student endeavors, offering informational lunches with faculty and partnering with organizations to create graduate school mentorship programming.

YCC should actively promote events focused on student wellness. During my time on the committee, I’ve managed mental health panels, student wellness workshops and discussions on climate change, and will continue to do more during my time as director.

I hope to ensure that this upcoming year is not just a return to normal, but the start of an exceptional YCC Events.

JORDAN FITZGERALD
Jordan Fitzgerald is a staff reporter covering gender equity and diversity. She is a sophomore in Trumbull College majoring in American history.