College Council presidential candidates explain primary goals

This week, students will choose between two tickets for the next College Council (CC) co-presidents: Emanuel Yekutiel ’11 and Ifiok Inyang ’11, or Jonathan Foster ’11 and Michael Leon ’11. Polls will open tonight at 10 p.m. and close Friday evening at 10 p.m.

Foster and Leon

Foster and Leon are running on a platform of creativity, innovation and fresh perspective. If elected, they aim to alter the way CC interacts with the campus at large and focus on achieving smaller, short-term goals that affect the campus as a whole.
“There is a lot of uneasiness about the upcoming transitions and instead of stable, business-as-usual leadership, CC needs to be creative and fresh,” Foster said. “It can’t stop its job of improving student life.” He added that CC needs to be “fun and inspiring and offset the negativity we feel during the economic crisis.”

The candidates believe that their experience at the College has prepared them to become the next CC co-presidents. “I have personally lived and worked at Williams outside of CC and committees – we’ve lived as Williams students,” Foster said. “We would be a fresh set of eyes to address student concerns that have not been traditionally heard.”

Leon explained the ticket’s interest in leadership. “I enjoy brainstorming and coming up with novel ways to tackle challenges,” he said. “In terms of inspiration, I know Jon and I have found our comfort at Williams when we are most involved in the school.”

One of their main goals is to change the way CC interacts and communicates with the student body, by using weekly videos and fireside chats rather than Daily Messages. The ticket believes that some of the apathy on campus can be remedied with such new modes of communication. “We have a lot of experience promoting and advertising on campus,” Leon said.

Although Leon and Foster admire the Gargoyle Society’s initiative to re-open the Log that CC is currently supporting, the ticket believes that CC should focus on more realistic goals. “The reality of re-opening the Log is that there is currently a hiring freeze,” Foster said. “We would rather focus on things that make a difference in the lives of all students. It would be frivolous to spend valuable time on something the administration is already saying ‘no’ to, especially when we have so many other creative options.”

The pair intends to work on those goals they believe not only to be achievable, but also beneficial for the majority of students. Foster and Leon propose a Grab ’n’ Go option for Snack Bar that would cut down on waiting time and increase efficiency and think CC should work more closely with Purple Cow Pastures.

With regards to student health, the ticket would like to see more flu shot clinics and more comprehensive athletic training for club sport athletes.
In order to provide greater access to OIT services, they hope to organize an appointment system for OIT house calls so that students would not have to bring heavy computer equipment to Jesup for assessment. Foster and Leon would additionally like to see more student performances on Claiming Williams Day and a reunion event to ease the transition for students who return to campus after studying abroad.

Foster emphasized the main difference in types of experience between the two tickets. “In a race like this, we shouldn’t value experience in student government, but rather an ability to take inspired ideas to fruition and build a constructive relationship with both students and administration,” Foster said.
Inyang and Yekutiel

Yekutiel and Inyang base their platform on strong and experienced leadership during a time of transition and the difficult economic climate. The candidates presented three pillars as their core platform: capable student-administration mediation, reutilization of underused spaces and the revitalization of older College traditions and history to foster a sense of belonging.

Citing their leadership roles in a variety of capacities, Yekutiel and Inyang focused on their collective ability to serve as capable student liaisons to the administration and to ensure that student voices remain heard through changes in College administration, the residential system and financial policies.
“Our experience over the last two years in many campus organizations will allow us to reach out to the student body in a unique way,” Yekutiel said. “We will make sure we are a proactive and transparent organization. Having capable student liaisons is extremely important at this point of transition. The first thing we promise is to be those leaders.”

The next facet of the Inyang-Yekutiel platform dealt with increasing the use of often-overlooked campus spaces. The ticket wants to expand the co-op system, make the Log a viable student space and increase use of the Greylock parking lot, Lasell gymnasium and Paresky basement.

Yekutiel and Inyang also want to call attention to the history of the College by bringing back old traditions such as the tricycle race through Frosh Quad and the snow sculpture competition. They propose talks during First Days that inform first-years of the rich history of the Purple Valley. “We both are very passionate about Williams history,” Inyang said. “We want to revitalize the old Williams traditions to bolster a sense of belonging.”

Some of the ticket’s other ideas include ways to break down “labels” and improve student life: organizing targeted discussions during First Days; supporting Claiming Williams; establishing a committee that proposes ways to improve the Junior Advisor and entry systems; garnering sufficient funds for club sports to travel for competitions;  redesigning schedules to allow student athletes to attend more events and participate on student-faculty committees; clarifying the car rental program; and building a community that better includes athletes’ opinions on how to improve it.

“Improving Williams is something that means a lot to me,” Yekutiel said. “My experience representing the students’ voice and actually doing things that makes Williams better continues to be the best thing I do on campus.”

Inyang wishes to expand the scope of student contribution to College decisions, referring to his participation on CC as inspiring. “For the first time I was able to give input into College decisions, and I want to be a president that voices other student’s concerns,” Inyang said. “I felt empowered and I want to empower other students.”

Both Yekutiel and Inyang noted the difficulty of tasks ahead. “Our biggest challenge would be working in the economic climate of the school,” Inyang said. Yekutiel agreed: “We will think innovatively about ways of improving Williams that are not at high costs,” he said. “There are issues to be dealt with, and we will reach out to the student body to craft new solutions to combat these issues.”

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