Spring 2017 Projects
There are six phases in each project: Research, Data Analysis, Formulating Recommendations, Presented and Approved by Council, Presented to Administration, and Implementation.
Class Expenses (Benito Flores and Jenny Xiao)
Yale professors are generally accommodating when it comes to course materials, allowing students to use electronic texts or even uploading chapters onto classes*v2 or Canvas. However, undergraduates in visual arts courses do not have this sort of flexibility, as they often have to spend hundreds of dollars on painting, drawing, or sculpting supplies. The materials are no doubt important to pedagogy, but they prove to be an intense financial burden and exclude certain groups of students from engaging with the art curriculum. Are these high costs of merit? And does Yale College do enough to support undergraduates with financial concerns as they buy course materials?
Language Certificates (Yonatan Araia and Heidi Dong)
Although Yale’s distributional requirements mandate that its students fulfill a language requirement, undergraduates leave the university without any sort of proof of their linguistic status. Transcripts list coursework in a given language, but students do not always take classes in languages that they might already know. Furthermore, expertise in a language is hard to judge based solely on a line on such documents. Many other universities, though, offer their students “language certificates,” which can provide proof of fluency - a highly convenient tool to use when applying to jobs and internships. Examine the usefulness of language certificates at Yale’s peers and consider whether they would fit in at our university.
Undergraduate Learning Assistants (Nick Girard)
The recent introduction of CS50 and the perpetual challenge of managing TF assignments during shopping period have prompted a debate regarding the role of undergraduates as teaching fellows or learning assistants. After all, Yale College seems to have constant trouble recruiting enough qualified graduate students to take on a section, and that problem will likely only compound with the upcoming increase in the Yale College population. Sometimes, a senior major might even be more knowledgeable on a given subject than a graduate student from a completely different field - yet many undergraduates are wary of having their peers monitor and grade their work either way. So what role - if any - should undergraduates play in classroom instruction?
Association of Yale Alumni (Brett Gu and Assoc. Rep. Jordan Cozby)
Strengthening the student-alumni relationship is a goal of undergraduates and the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA) alike. The AYA has recently seen success in connecting the two groups via advising programs, career events, and teas, but the AYA’s Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) are yet another medium through which the student-alumni relationship can grow. These groups bring together like-minded alumni - much like on-campus clubs do - making them a potential breeding ground for mentorship to undergraduate organizations. Such bonds could grow through on-campus events with SIGs or could happen organically as student organizations reach out to their comparable SIGs. Either way, though, undergraduates should know that this alumni resource exists, as many likely do not. How can Yale alumni and undergraduates continue to forge new connections, this time through the use of Shared Interest Groups?
Centralizing Resources for Financial Aid (Bennett Byerley)
Navigating the financial aid office and the many resources available to students on financial aid is hard to say the least, and the decentralization of the residential college system adds even more stress onto undergraduates who are searching through this wide network. For example, buttery workers in the twelve colleges are paid different wages, and heads of colleges make resources like winter coat funds accessible at varying levels. Looking into the organization of both other systems on campus and of financial aid resources at peer universities, explore ways that Yale can better centralize, equalize, and communicate about the various resources that are available to students on financial aid.
Diversity Training (Jason Hu and Fernando Rojas)
Among all of the safety sessions, CCE lessons, and welcome banquets during Camp Yale, many students believe that freshmen end their first week of college having missed a key piece of programming: diversity training. Although the topic of diversity comes up in countless discussions upon arriving at the university, there is no required event for new students during their first few days that is solely dedicated to discussing and understanding the wide diversity at Yale. Explore what role such a session could take, looking at how it would be structured, who would run it, and whether or not Camp Yale even has space for another mandatory program.
Off-Campus Housing (Larry Fulton and Cassie Goodnight)
Yale prides itself on its ability to retain students in on-campus housing for their full four years at the university, yet more and more undergraduates are migrating off campus. Some indicate an interest in rooming with friends from other residential colleges, others say that living off-campus is cheaper, and still others articulate a combination of many factors. As such, what is driving students to move off-campus, and what does the university need to do if it wants to draw students back into the complete residential college life for their four years?
Accessibility of Health Services (Julia Feldstein and Adam Michalowski)
Yale Health provides undergraduates with countless resources, from its general internal medicine to its easy prescription pick-up. However, many students are not aware of these offerings and do not properly utilize Yale Health’s services as a result. For example, while its introduction of MyChart has helped to streamline appointments, undergraduates tend to be unfamiliar with the site. Furthermore, those with a late-night health concern may have trouble getting to Yale Health itself and then find themselves waiting an hour or more for basic care. How can Yale Health lower the barriers for healthcare accessibility and ensure that its patients receive care in a streamlined, comprehensible manner?
Breakfast Swipe (Cole Addonizio and Shah Khan)
Although Yale Dining’s $8 commercial swipes offer students flexibility for lunch, those who miss breakfast and dinner in a residential college have few options to eat those meals. Unfortunately, Yale Dining limits its dinner hours from 5:00pm-8:00pm despite the YCC’s push to expand options for that meal. It does, however, offer students a $4 breakfast swipe at KBT Cafe between 8:00am and 11:00am - an option that many undergraduates are unaware of and that it should make available at all of its commercial ventures. Explore the feasibility of this proposal, considering how else students on the meal plan could maximize their pre-paid breakfast.
Student Jobs (George Huynh and Rachel Kornbluh)
Although Yale boasts that it offers more student jobs than demand requires, many of these work experiences are neither widely desirable nor relevant to students’ passions or professional development. More popular jobs like helping with research or serving as a tour guide are quickly taken by a limited few, which leaves others to pursue their eighth, ninth, or tenth choices, and so on. Students should instead have opportunities to apply for jobs that relate to a possible career or academic interest of theirs, and the work term requirement of the student income contribution only makes this imperative more important. That said, if Yale were to offer jobs that better align with student interests, where would these jobs be? In what areas does the distribution of jobs currently fall, and where can the university add more?
Winter Wellness (Daniel Vernick and Assoc. Rep. Joseph Cornett)
In the midst of the winter season, many students' stress and worries compound. This trend may be due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) among some, but the weather affects a wide variety of the undergraduate population who may not have SAD nonetheless. Given the great work that our peers undertake to promote sound mental health on campus, work with Mind Matters to foster general winter wellness, whether through an online campaign, an introduction of sun lamps for checkout at Bass, or more.