YCC ELECTION 2016
This year, five sophomores face off for the role of Yale College Council President, while four vie for the position of Vice President and candidates for Finance Director and Events Director run unopposed. Polls are set to open on Thursday. Follow the News for full coverage of the race.
Sarah Armstrong ’18, the current Sophomore Class Council president, does not want to be the voice of the students.
“The students are already voicing what they want,” the Yale College Council presidential candidate said. “I want to be the link between the students and the administration. I don’t want the YCC to speak for people who are already speaking really well for themselves.”
Instead, Armstrong said she aims to bring leaders of various student groups into conversations with administrators and YCC representatives on issues that matter to them. That way, she said, students can voice their opinions more directly and more accurately, without having to go through any administrative body.
If elected president of the Yale College Council, Diksha Brahmbhatt ’18 will look to channel the “power of face-to-face collaborations” and facilitate partnerships both within and beyond the council.
“We need someone who deeply cares not about the title, but about connecting the community and being a face that is approachable,” Brahmbhatt said. “There is a power in everyday connections and that is what I do on a daily basis. I try to connect people with each other.”
Connecting people is a big part of what Brahmbhatt does on campus, she said. As Berkeley College’s YCC representative, Brahmbhatt has spent this year developing ways for students to engage with the New Haven community beyond community service activities. She is also a FOOT leader and part of the Civic Leadership Initiative, which aims to empower Yalies to make change in their community. She is also a Berkeley College Master’s Aide.
In his own words, Carter Helschien ’18 is running for Yale College Council president, “all kidding aside.”
Helschien, who has spent the past two years with the YCC as a representative from Morse College and was a member of the Freshman Class Council, is running a campaign he hopes will engage more students with a student government that he said is out of touch with its constituents. Despite his unorthodox campaign slogans that claim he is “the only candidate running for Yale College Council president” and repeated promise to “make things less bad,” Helschien said he is completely serious about the issues facing students.
“The YCC only works well when you have the power of the students behind it,” he said. “[The YCC] is not working with student groups as well as it can be.”
For Joshua Hochman ’18, a combination of realism and idealism forms the basis of a YCC presidential campaign that emphasizes social issues on Yale’s campus.
Hochman, who currently serves on the YCC’s Executive Board as academics director, is running on a platform of “equity and accountability,” promoting social equality in areas such as racial equity, sexual climate and financial aid. His platform — measuring 32 pages — is divided by “what Yale should do, and what the YCC can do,” creating a set of ideas he called both visionary and realistic. Hochman further emphasized that the platform is a result of conversations he has already conducted with students and group leaders, ranging from the president of the Student Athlete Council.
As president of the Yale College Council, Peter Huang ’18 would work to address major campus issues: faculty diversity, the student income contribution and sexual climate. But Huang said that unlike other candidates’ platforms, his has a common thread: It is ambitious but focused.
“I prioritize in my platform and still might not be able to get to everything,” Huang said. “Every other candidate does not expect to cover everything they propose.”
Indeed, Othmane Fourtassi ’19 — a member of Huang’s campaign team — said Huang offers practical solutions and is “a doer who does not overpromise.”
Vice Presidential Candidates
After serving as a representative for Saybrook on the Yale College Council, the treasurer for the Freshman Class Council and a member of two University committees including the Yale College Standing Committee on University Expansion, Christopher Bowman ’18 said his connections to student government and unique background knowledge on the new residential colleges set him apart from the other three candidates running for YCC vice president.
“Through serving on the steering committee for the new residential colleges, I’ve been able to see firsthand the issues that are facing Yale as it prepares for an influx of additional students,” Bowman said. “As vice president, I would have the unique background knowledge to create policies that would ensure the continued success of Yale College despite the huge changes that are on the way.”
Luis Patiño III ’18 is the third in his family to be baptized with the name, and he is proud of the heritage that it represents. The Yale College Council Vice Presidential candidate said he hopes to use his family’s history as motivation to serve his fellow Yale students.
Patiño’s grandfather — the original Luis Patiño — began shining shoes at the age of seven and was later drafted into World War II; Patiño’s father was raised in an impoverished neighborhood in El Paso, Texas. On his campaign website, Patiño notes that the “III” numeral in his name reminds him of the work and struggle of the generations that preceded him, and empowers him to raise his voice on behalf of the entire Yale community.
If elected vice president of the Yale College Council, Kevin Sullivan ’18 would help lead an organization he considers both great and terrible.
Sullivan, who previously served as vice president of the Sophomore Class Council and Morse College representative, said he understands the shortcomings of the YCC: its top-down hierarchy and general failure to listen to students. While on SoCo, Sullivan said executive leadership of YCC declined to support the budget for the Sophomore Brunch, a new yearly tradition introduced by him and Sarah Armstrong ’18, a YCC presidential candidate. He added that as a Morse College representative, he struggled to propose ideas he solicited from his fellow Yalies to executive leadership, which set the agendas for all meetings.
At 5 a.m. a few days per week, Zach Wilson ’18 might be found trekking across campus, clad in his army uniform. The ROTC flight commander and double-STEM major has labeled himself the “outsider candidate” in his race against three other students for Yale College Council vice president.
Wilson decided to run for vice president primarily because of the racial discussions that arose on campus last semester. He said after having long discussions with other Yale students and attending various rallies and town hall meetings, he was inspired to bring forth the kind of change Yale students seek. Although Wilson has no previous experience on YCC or his residential college council, he said that he will be “the candidate for the people” and will use his experiences outside of YCC to push for change.
Events Director Candidate
Lauren Sapienza ’18 said she hopes to foster community and create new traditions while serving as Yale College Council events director. Running uncontested, Sapienza has already begun planning programming for next year.
“Yale is an incredible place, and one of the most incredible things we have here is each other,” Sapienza said. “As events director, I think I’ll have the opportunity to facilitate bonding and allow our campus and our friend groups to expand in different ways that I think can really enrich campus culture.”
Finance Director Candidate
Zach Murn ’17, who served as the treasurer of the Freshman College Council and was a member of the Sophomore College Council, is running for the YCC finance director on a platform of increased transparency.
Finance director, as a member of the YCC executive board, is responsible for allocating the annual budget and securing funds. Traditionally, about two-thirds to three-fourths of the YCC budget goes to planning for Spring Fling. This year, Murn is running for the position uncontested. He is also the only rising senior seeking a board position.