Presidential Profiles: Yeshiva College Student Association
I am currently the Secretary/Treasurer of YCSA, which I think has sufficiently prepared me for assuming the YCSA Presidency. YCSA (Yeshiva College Student Association) is the student council body specific to Yeshiva College students. Our main objectives are overseeing the academic clubs on campus and representing the academic interests of the YC student body to the deans.
Serving this year on student council, I learned how the system works, so there will not be a learning curve in the beginning of next year. There are a lot of new faces running for all student council positions, and it is vital that someone on the executive council has already dealt with the club event request forms, understands how to allocate the funds in a fiscally responsible manner, and has relationships with other departments. I learned many of these things from current YCSA President Shai Berman, who was also on student council for a year before he became President.
Continuity is especially important in this coming year, with so many changes planned for Yeshiva College. This past year, YCSA took on the responsibilities of SAAC, the Student Academic Affairs Committee, which is now defunct. We now advocate for the students’ academic interests and have had many meetings with the Yeshiva College deans to discuss academic issues facing the student body this past year. From our initiative Mission: YC Listens, we have been able to get a pulse on what students want to see from their education and the concerns that they have. We have had discussions with the Core Committee, teasing out the kinks in the Core Curriculum, something that I plan on continuing in the coming year with my relationship with members of that committee. With these experiences, I feel equipped to handle representing our students to new “Super-Dean” Bacon and ensuring the character and integrity of Yeshiva College remains intact.
My plan for the coming year, in addition to ensuring stellar club events, an organized club system, and working toward a better academic experience, is to take advantage of our small campus. There are so many ways to get involved and take control of your experience here, and I hope to create a space where people know how and feel comfortable doing so. I’d like to organize with the other student councils a Support Staff Appreciation Day where we show our thanks to the people who work with Facilities, Security, Housekeeping, and Food Services AND ensure that our events (and classrooms) are prepared as we need them. I’d also like to recognize more world events as they happen and emphasize our appreciation to the United States. Campuses across America have ways to recognize important events - like remembrances for the Boston Marathon bombings or celebrating the anniversaries of events in American history - and I’d plan on bringing more of that to our campus.
I am passionate about Yeshiva College and our education. It is why I got involved on campus the moment I got here, starting on the Honors Student Council and moving to YCSA. I’ll be entering my fourth year on campus, giving myself the time to focus on spearheading this council. This year it has been an honor serving as Secretary/Treasurer, to learn about my fellow students, and I am excited to be part of such dedicated and motivated student body. I hope I can continue this experience next year.
Yaakov Aaron Sultan
I was born in San Francisco California, I am a child of Moroccan and Venezuelan immigrants. My family first moved to Montreal and then Toronto. I spent a year at Yeshivat Orayta in the beautiful Old City of Jerusalem. I began my YU education in IBC and switched to MYP this past semester, where I am currently studying in Rav Eliyahu Ben Haim’s shiur. I’ve attended Sephardic, Ashkenazic, Orthodox, Modern Orthodox and Dati Leumi schools and synagogues. I speak English, French and Hebrew fluently (and my Spanish isn’t too bad either), all which have given me the chance to build a great basis for interaction with the various communities we have on campus and the ability to understand many different viewpoints. Most of all, I can identify with many students on an interpersonal level. Being in Yeshiva College is fun, but the difficulties with the culture changes and language barriers can be tough.
This isn’t my first election and this definitely will not be my last, win or lose. I believe that I am the right person for the job because I am ready to listen.
I am running because I was asked to run. By faculty. By current students. By prospective students. By fellow student leaders. By alumni. By politicians/diplomats. By leading personalities in the greater Jewish community.
I am a fresh face - a new but powerful voice. I am involved with many initiatives going on around YU and have been involved with many clubs since I got here. I have organized debates and other exciting events for the J. Dunner Political Science Society. Why? Because I challenged the status quo. I decided that enough was enough with the normalities of life on campus. And people responded to that forward thinking, even if it was a little controversial. We need to build on the various successes of the previous student leaders, and push forward.
I have a record of accomplishment and experience on the club level that, if elected President of YCSA, will allow me to communicate with the different student leaders in a unique capacity. I know the difficulties of running events and securing funds with the alleged “bureaucracy.” I know what it feels like to not have your voices listened to by some of the administration, whom I look forward to working with. I also understand the potential of different - and often underutilized - offices, and I believe that I can capitalize on such resources.
Additionally, I think improving our Career Fair is a top priority. I believe that we can push a little harder in our commitments to make some progress and meet student sentiment about the Core curriculum. As a club head, I worked closely with Dr. Ruth Bevan, who chairs the Political Science department as to what we as student leaders can do in regards to the “budget cuts.” I want to build a system in which the majors and minor requirements are clear, where clear lines of communications are built between admissions, academic advising and student leaders. I believe in formulating a system of accountability for the YCSA. If we do not get something done, we should not be let off easily.
My first year on campus, I remember the buzz around the annual Syms Gala dinner. All the students in Syms get to dress up, go to a fancy dinner with their friends, potentially receive various awards, meet leading alumni, and build upon the already evident pride in being a student at Syms. I want that for Yeshiva College majors. I want prospective students to take pride in choosing YC, just like the pride I have for the Political Science department. I cannot guarantee that I will “save a department” from some of the budget cuts. I cannot guarantee that I will rid YU of bureaucracy. But what I can guarantee you, is that the phrases “alleged,” “I heard,” “maybe,” “I don’t know, we’ll see,” will not be in my vocabulary. I want transparency. We need transparency.
I want to restore pride back to Yeshiva College. I’m tried of people looking down on us for not being in Syms. I’m tired of people looking down on YC especially in these turbulent times, I want to change the conversation about Yeshiva College and I want to be the voice that is unapologetic about the student’s view on majoring/minoring in YC. To the administration, to the different departments, to the board, to the president. I want you to feel the power that you have.