As candidates for President and Vice President of the Yale College Council, we have led a campaign painted by the strokes of our shared goals as Yale students and the fine lines of actionable policy. As you contemplate your vote today, we ask you to consider joining us in working toward a YCC built on real student engagement.

True change — the kind of change that touches the life of every student — begins with understanding the nuances of the Yale student experience. Our primary pledge to you is to listen. To institutionalize listening, we commit to establishing a Student Engagement Branch of the YCC. It will be dedicated to meeting with, hearing from and working for student groups on campus. We are driven by the belief that every student’s comfort at Yale is non-negotiable.

Our tenure in student leadership –– jointly in every branch of the YCC –– has taught us the power of listening. We will leverage our already-established relationships and trust with the Yale administration to build receptivity and momentum around the changes you want to see. 

As YCC Health and Accessibility Director, I — Mimi — worked with the Yale Student Mental Health Association and my Health and Accessibility team to expand deans’ extensions to include mental health. I repeatedly met with Yale Mental Health and Counseling to push for reduced wait times. Alongside Yale Emergency Medical Services — YEMS — and Students for Sensible Drug Policy, I championed funding for Narcan trainings. Alongside YaleBleeds, I worked to expand the stocking of menstrual products in dispensers across campus, and, in collaboration with Disability Empowerment for Yale, I reserved space for deaf and hard-of-hearing students at Spring Fling. As president of the first-year and sophomore classes, I led a team that planned every classwide bonding event, including our First Year Formal and first annual Sophomore Formal.

As YCC senator for two years and dining policy director this year, I — Esha — worked with the Yale College Dean’s Office, Yale Hospitality and the Dining team to open dining halls for two extra days during spring break. Alongside student organizations and the administration, I championed increasing the number of transfers on the flex meal plan, the addition of two vegetarian burgers to the grill and ensuring grace periods for entry into Ezra Stiles and Morse colleges’ dining hall. As a senator, I advocated for funding Narcan trainings, the addition of water fillers in every residential college entryway, standardized composting processes in all dining halls and the furnishing of all common room suites, which resulted in all sophomore suites being furnished in the summer of 2023. 

Together, we worked with the Office of International Students and Scholars to secure $5,500 in funding for food reimbursements for international and first-generation, low-income students. 

But we are only just getting started. 

Our mission is a YCC that rises to meet you where you are. We commit to running a YCC administration that does not overpromise, but that leverages real, widespread student engagement to maintain a sense of ambition within a working culture of pragmatism and results. This means taking cues directly from you, and dedicating the YCC’s resources to projects that are both impactful and realistic. 

We believe that we are best positioned to measure impact and achievability. As a pair, we will harness the insights we have each gained from our distinct leadership roles in the YCC to hit the ground running.  

That is why our conversations with the student body this week have focused on meaningful and realizable goals for the year ahead: engaging every sector of our community, targeted support for low-income students, increased funding for cultural centers and student organizations, continued health and accessibility reform, institutionalizing sustainability and empowering students to engage with the broader New Haven community. We are ready and eager to remove the everyday barriers and structural inequalities that discourage many of us from focusing on what really matters. We will lead a team that is approachable, communicative, transparent and deeply caring.

Today, we are asking for your trust in our mission to transform the YCC into a genuine student advocacy group. We pledge to make the YCC an impact-driven organization that is as thoughtful and creative as the students we serve.

MIMI PAPATHANASOPOULOS is a sophomore in Berkeley College running for YCC President. Contact her at mimi.papathanasopoulos@yale.ed

ESHA GARG is a sophomore in Grace Hopper College running for YCC Vice President. Contact her at