We have been friends since we shopped our first class at Yale together. While we ended up not taking that class together, we took two other classes our first semester in which we would sit in the front row of class together every day all semester (Yea, we know. We're total nerds). During that first class, we never could have imagined running together, putting ourselves out there for the entire school to judge.
It's scary to run for any kind of office, but Reilly and I have loved the work we've been able to do through YCC and outside of it. We wouldn't trade any of our experiences for the world. We believe that we have the ideas (30 pages of them) and experience to lead our peers through this very difficult time. Here is our story.
Our YCC Story
Aliesa started her first day at Yale with the FOCUS on New Haven pre-orientation program where she learned how to be a responsible guest in New Haven and delivered essential resources to the homebound. She got incredibly close with her group, enough to tell them how scared she was about running for First Year Class Council office. Turns out she wasn't the only one! She and another girl in her group, Karen Li, make a promise that even though they both had no student government experience and were worried about putting themselves out there, they were going to be brave and become a FCC Rep
Reilly, who Aliesa has been sitting with in class with every day in the front row (as the two Type A nerds they are), also decides to run for First Year Class Council. At this point, they're in at least 3 extracurriculars together!
Aliesa is elected First Year Class Council President for the Fall semester where she spearheads the planning for events like Find Your Suiteheart and First Year Formal.
Reilly is having a great time in FCC and she decides to run for Vice President. She and President Daniel Guerra are successfully elected, and the pair brings you events like First Year Olympics
Aliesa loved event planning, but realized she wanted to do even more to improve student life at Yale. She joins the YCC as an Associate Senator in the Spring of her First Year (she is now the candidate with the longest service to the Senate) and spearheads initiatives like Mental Health testimony collection program which has been immensely helpful in mental health advocacy this past year
Reilly runs for Sophomore Class Council President and, during her tenure, spearheads a DUS Dinners series, self care events, a thank you letter drive for Yale employees, and more! Aliesa helps lead as the SoCo Vice President
Reilly & Aliesa run for YCC Senate and win their election! However, Aliesa gets appointed as a Policy Director YCC Executive Board and because you cannot hold two policy branch positions at the same time, she had to give up her Senate position
Aliesa founds the first Affinity Group in YCC history (the Women's Affinity Group). She is committed to getting more women to run for office in YCC, especially given that only two women have served as YCC president in the past 34 years
During Sophomore Year, Aliesa & Reilly work on YCC policy initiatives like institutionalizing the residential college menstrual hygiene distribution program, cutting Mental Health & Counseling wait times in half, and developing feminist self-defense classes. They also guide the new First Year Class Council and help out with their events. For Aliesa, it was her second time checking in people to First Year Formal!
Aliesa and Reilly work to serve their communities outside of YCC. Aliesa interns for the New Haven Public Defender's Office and advocates for progressive policy as the Yale College Democrats Legislative Coordinator, and coordinates mentorships and remote classes for the New Haven Boys & Girls Club. Reilly writes for Broads, an intersectional feminist publication at Yale, and works with Project Bright on a sustainability initiative.
Aliesa joins in on the Harvard Yale Game protest. She is so inspired by the Endowment Justice Initiative that she not only joins as a member, but she also spearheads YCC's joining the EJC, a partnership that allowed EJC leadership to meet with David Swenson and other Yale leadership
Reilly & Aliesa continue to work towards positive change on campus by making free meals available for students over break, creating a Mental Health Consortium, and working to make Architecture & Arts supplies more accessible
A COVID-19 outbreak shakes the country, and hundreds of students are forced to face unstable housing conditions, family losses, and financial insecurity. Aliesa and Reilly do what they can to help by supporting Universal Pass, eliminating the Fee to Move Off Campus, defending the jobs and leadership positions of students on a leave of absence, advocating for students on a leave of absence to receive free COVID-19 testing, and creating community stockpiles of necessary resources like safe sex supplies and first aid
We're running for YCC President and Vice President now because we believe we have a strong vision of the Yale you were promised and the Yale you deserve -- a Yale that acknowledges its history, empowers its most vulnerable students, and uses its resources to better our world. We're also running because we have a combined experience in YCC and other organizations that will allow us to ensure that our promises to you are not just promises. We will make sure YCC plays a more active role in student coalitions and responds to the needs of all its students. We want to make this place truly feel like your home, wherever you are.
Fighting for the Yale You Were Promised, the Yale You Deserve