Fall 2017 Projects

University Services

Investigation into the expansion of dining hall hours and Durfee's swipe flexibility

Representatives: Trey Kinison (BR 2020), Will Marks (DC 2020), Jerry Zhou (TC 2021)

Per the 2016 YCC dining task force report, many students report being unsatisfied with the flexibility of dining hall opening hours and swipe access. Especially in light of the recent expansion of the student body and the closing of the Commons dining hall, it is important to find ways to accommodate a large number of students and their varied schedules. This project aims to assess the current changes to dining hall hours throughout the day and to consider potential adjustments in order to improve the dining experience. How successful are recent changes? Should dining hall hours be extended? What accommodations need to be made to compensate for the closing of Commons? What adjustments can be made in dining hours of operation without disrupting employee contracts while still benefiting students? Keeping a larger student population in mind, do the hours of lunch swipes at retail locations such as Durfee’s need to be adjusted?


Investigation into the expansion of dining hall study hours

Representatives: Daniel Robinson (DC 2020), Nico Moscoso (SY 2021)

During reading period, residential colleges open their dining halls for quiet study space. Some residential colleges continue this practice year-round, accommodating students seeking alternative areas in which to study. This project aims to investigate the current policies of dining hall study hours, as well as to investigate potential expansion to all of the residential colleges. In light of the growth of the student body, and as current commonly-used study spaces such as the libraries are already often overcrowded, this project will consider whether opening dining halls for study hours year-round is feasible and beneficial.


Evaluation of dietary restriction accommodation in dining halls

Representative: Benito Flores (TC 2020)

Yale Dining already makes a significant effort to accommodate students’ dietary restrictions. This project will assess the current options for various diets and form recommendations based on potential changes. Are dietary accommodations varied enough? Is it easy for students with dietary restrictions to find foods that they can consume in the dining halls? Are there concerns about contamination?


Review of menstrual hygiene product availability and disposal

Representatives: Lorna Chitty (ES 2020), Samir Al-Ali (SM 2021)

This project will investigate the ease of access to and disposal of menstrual hygiene products on Yale’s campus. While free menstrual hygiene products can be found on campus, they are not widespread and equally distributed, and the cost of buying products can be a significant burden for students. Further, discreet disposal of menstrual hygiene products is important for comfort, convenience, and sanitation. Do all bathrooms contain discreet disposal containers? Should Yale offer free menstrual hygiene products?


Investigation into the expansion of shuttle bus routes and frequency

Representatives: Shawn Luciani (JE 2020), Ryley Constable (MY 2021)

The Yale shuttle system serves the entire Yale community and is heavily utilized. Particularly with the expansion of the student body, the stress on the system may further strain drivers and crowd buses. This project will investigate crowding on shuttles as well as current routes and their effectiveness, particularly with the opening of the new colleges; additionally, the project will assess recent changes that have been implemented to the shuttle system. Do more shuttles need to be added? Are the current shuttle hours appropriate? Is the shuttle app easy to use and intuitive? Do routes need to be adjusted, added, or removed? Do more stops need to be added, especially considering the new colleges?

Student Life

Investigation into ISA expansion & summer activity funding

Representatives: Aadit Vyas (PC 2020), Tommy Atlee (ES 2020)

The International Summer Award is offered to all students who receive financial aid to fund one summer abroad experience. Many students are able to travel abroad for academic study because of the ISA’s funding. While the ISA exists for international experiences, funding for domestic experiences, whether academic or professional, is decentralized and limited. Some residential colleges provide funding and some academic departments offer limited awards for research, but funding is not guaranteed like the ISA. The result: students, particularly students with high financial need, may turn down domestic internships or other opportunities because of limited funding. This project will explore summer activity funding at Yale and will assess whether the current system is adequate or fails to meet student need. This project will investigate new methods of funding, including the use of ISA funds for domestic opportunities. How many students turn down domestic opportunities due to limited funding? Is funding for domestic unpaid internships and research adequate? Does funding need to expand as the student body expands?


Package Shipping Solutions

Representatives: Paul Gross (GH 2020), David Glaess (SM 2019)

Students have consistently reported delays in receiving packages and a general disapproval of mail and package services at Yale. In hopes of bringing more convenience to students, this project aims to improve the package experience at Yale by assessing the current challenges of receiving packages and mail on campus. This project will investigate changes that can be made to the current system of receiving mail, which generally falls either to the Yale Post Office or the Student Package Receiving Center. This project will also explore innovative shipping solutions at other universities, such as the use of Amazon Lockers. Unlike Yale, many peer institutions receive and distribute student mail and packages at the residential colleges or dormitories. Is this a feasible proposal at Yale given current infrastructure? What changes can be made to the current system to improve access?


Creation of meals with professors pilot program

Representatives: Kiran Damodaran (MY 2021), Vivek Katara (TD 2020)

A YCC proposal was made during the 2015-2016 school year to facilitate the familiarization of students with professors (both tenured and non-tenured). These meetings would allow professors to get to know current or potential students and hear feedback on their courses, while students are able to inquire more about their professors’ academic backgrounds and the courses they teach. Tenured professors are free to eat in the dining halls but non-tenured professors must pay out of pocket. The proposal suggested that departments sponsor these meals in the dining halls to remedy this issue. The graduate school offers a program similar to this, providing each student with 2 ‘tickets’ per semester to dine with professors. Peer institutions such as Harvard, Princeton, and Brown have programs in place to compensate students and professors for meals shared at off-campus establishments. A YCC-sponsored pilot has yet to be implemented. This project would evaluate and propose a pilot program to launch either next semester or next fall. A more concrete timeline would be based on initial findings.


Expanding resources for seasonal affective disorder

Representative: Addison Jakubowicz (PC 2020)

Seasonal affective disorder, often caused by reduced sunlight during winter months, has been shown to have a negative impact on student mental health. Research from the 2016-2017 YCC found that 1 in 2 students would use a sun lamp--a lamp that simulates sunlight--if provided in an easily accessible space. This project will assess the best lamp choices as well as possible locations for these lamps, and the representative will submit an application for a student wellness grant or consider alternative options to fund the purchase.




Expansion of Pre-law resources

Representatives: Shunhe Wang (MC 2020), Sophie Gottfried (JE 2020), Sue Chen (MC 2020)

Many Yalies are interested in attending law school following graduation. Without a formal pre-law track, many Yalies may not know what courses to take or what skills to develop to best prepare for law school. The Office of Career Services provides pre-law advising services and some resources on law school. However, many Yalies don’t take advantage of the resources that OCS provides. Many students have never even set foot in the office, and more students still hold on to the misconception that OCS is only a resource for graduating seniors looking for a job. This project aims to expand and look into OCS programming & other resources that YCC can provide to assist students in planning their courses to better prepare them for law school. This project will be especially impactful as the August 2017 edition of the Yale Daily News reported that more than 15% of incoming first-years alone are interested in pursuing law school after graduating. The aim of this project, overall, is to investigate and potentially develop resources for pre-law students at Yale, including a Pre-Law Handbook.


Review of Shopping Period

Representatives: Mohammed Hussari (BK 2020), Kiran Chokshi (GH 2020), Lindsay Jost (TD 2021)

Students have reported numerous concerns with the current shopping period experience. Dean Schirmeister and university academic committees have begun a review of comprehensive Shopping Period reform. This initiative has yet to be fully planned and implemented, and will likely be spearheaded by the YCDO. The aim of this project is to further investigate the areas of Shopping Period that are in most need of reform, to garner student input on the matter, and to assist the YCDO in all of its efforts to reform the Shopping Period process and its accessibility. Specifically, this project will look at the current seminar registration process, course demand increases, capped lectures, and intro STEM courses.


Investigation of grade transparency: Midterm Grade Reports & Final Exam/Paper Return

Representative: Brett Gu (SY 2019)

A common concern in many classes, especially in the Humanities, is the lack of transparency in grading policies. Many professors fail to provide their students with feedback regarding their grades until the end of the semester, and other students still are wholly unaware of their stance in a class until they check their final grade on Yale SIS. Officially, this is not supposed to be the case - the Yale College Course of Study Committee requires instructors to provide students with “some sort of feedback on their academic progress by around the middle of the term.” This project aims to advocate for the standardization of this policy and for its increased enforcement amongst Yale staff. The more consistent enforcement of this policy would allow students to have some kind of measure of their standing in a course as well as enable students to take amendatory actions in response to poor course performance. Finally, the other aim of this project is to follow-up on previous projects regarding final exam and paper return. The expedient return of final exams and papers would aid in more accurately completing course evaluations as well as in amending potential grading errors, a process which is substantially more difficult after final grades are officially reported.


Elimination of course drop and art/architecture course supplies fees

Representative: Alex McGrath (BR 2021), Ben Dormus (BF 2021)

Yale charges students a $20 processing fee for dropping a course listed from their submitted final schedule. Given the demands of shopping period, processing time for graduate course credit, and other reasons, many students finalize their course schedules with more courses than they intend to take. Furthermore, a spring 2017 YCC project found that many students decide not to take courses in art and architecture due to excessive supply costs for the class. This particularly places a burden on low-income students looking to take these courses. This project will investigate both the course drop fee and the costs associated with supplies for some courses and recommend actions to remove these fees or make them less burdensome on students.


Investigation of First-Year experience with the Office of Career Services

Representative: Qusay Omran (BK 2021)

Many Yalies don’t take advantage of the resources that the Office of Career Strategy provides. Many students have never even set foot in the office, and more students still hold on to the misconception that OCS is only a resource for graduating seniors looking for a job. This project aims to investigate and expand OCS programming geared towards first-years, who are often the least-likely to be aware of and take advantage of OCS resources. This project aims to improve resources available and utilized by first-years so that they can better prepare for pre-professional experiences, such as summer internships. The aim of this project, overall, is to investigate and develop career resources for first-year Yalies in partnership with the Office of Career Services.