As Ifiok Inyang ’11 and Emanuel Yekutiel ’11, co-presidents of College Council (CC), approach the end of their term, they are continuing to wrap up work on long-term projects and reflect on the accomplishments of this semester.
Both Inyang and Yekutiel attributed much of their satisfaction with their term to the relationship they believe the current CC board has formed with the student body at large.
Inyang and Yekutiel ran a campaign last winter based on goals to reuse underused spaces on campus, to help students adapt to changes in the administration including President Falk’s arrival, to evaluate the funding policy for club sports and to improve the JA system. The co-presidents believe they made significant strides in each of these areas.
As for better utilization of campus spaces, the ’82 Grill has tripled in its daily orders this year. CC worked to revamp the Luetkemeyer Lounge. The bottom level of the Greylock garage is now open to students for overnight parking.
In dealing with administrative changes, Inyang said, “[New administrators all] reached out to Council, and Council has been able to build relationships immediately.”
Club funding was a defining project this fall. When the sailing team needed new boats, CC created a Capital Investment Fund to reserve money for funding larger needs student groups may have. Yekutiel believes he and Inyang have “streamlined the funding process” for multiple student groups.
As an effort to improve the JA system, CC has created the JA Review Committee composed of the JA Advisory Board and three faculty members. The committee is working to evaluate the interview process, sustain training throughout the JA year and bring in former JAs to hold workshops.
Naturally, Inyang and Yekutiel also had to respond to the unpredicted during their term as co-presidents.
“I’ve been satisfied with the way we’ve been able to weather the storms that have come up,” Inyang said. Two of these unexpected issues were the closing of Greylock and Dodd dining halls this fall and funding of the Record last spring. Inyang said he was impressed with how CC members were able to deal with both matters while at the same time still learning the ropes.
Both Inyang and Yekutiel cited their handling of the dining service changes as their biggest accomplishment of last spring.
“We held the administration accountable over and over again, making it clear that if the dining halls were closed, there were the things that needed to change,” Yekutiel said. He added that CC examined all dining options and worked hard to extend hours and improve spaces in the remaining dining halls on campus.
This past fall, Inyang and Yekutiel believe their biggest accomplishment has been opening the conversation about athletics and the relationship between athletes and non-athletes at the College.
“This issue is something that does not affect everyone equally, but a substantial enough portion of the community does merit the attention devoted to it,” Yekutiel said. He added that CC had a responsibility to start a frank discussion and that one of the biggest things CC did this semester was to host last week’s all-campus forum on the topic.
“I think the campus grows from having conversations like this,” Inyang added. “It’s not easy.”
Inyang and Yekutiel said that not only was the conversation about athletics at the College their biggest accomplishment, but it also constituted their biggest challenge.
“What’s hard is having the courage to open a conversation that not everyone wants to talk about or feels that Council should be talking about,” Yekutiel said.
As Inyang and Yekutiel look toward their last few months as CC co-presidents, they look forward to tackling new challenges.
“Our challenge is challenging ourselves and the student body to improve this great institution,” Inyang said.
Yekutiel said CC worked hard last spring to ensure that the quality of the College stayed high despite the many changes, and now this fall CC’s job has been to make the College even better.
Inyang and Yekutiel have been particularly pleased with how this year’s CC has functioned as a group.
“Members are really willing to take on more and devote themselves to [their jobs],” Inyang said.
This year’s CC also is very diverse, according to Yekutiel. “Council takes the job of representing the entire student body very seriously,” he said. He is impressed by how comfortable CC members feel with each other, which has allowed them to disagree on issues while still having their voices be heard.
The CC co-presidents also emphasized their goal of transparency. Yekutiel said its monthly state of the union e-mails, the creation of the CC website and a permanent section for CC updates on WSO has allowed CC to achieve these goals. Inyang added that now that the student body is more aware of what CC is doing, it is giving more feedback and demanding more than in the past.
Until the next CC board turnover at the end of February, CC plans to implement certain student art initiatives, work on this year’s Great Ideas campaign, move forward with its community ideals project and promote Dodd as a space for student activities.