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Leigh Hamilton ’15

 

Class: 2015

College: Berkeley

Major: Economics and Political Science

Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO

This week’s celebrity was recently elected as Yale College Council Treasurer, and now is the sole female member on the executive board. Leigh is well known on campus for her ambition and friendliness, in addition to her involvement in all aspects of campus life. Read more to hear about Leigh’s candidacy, as well as her packed activities schedule (spoiler alert: she sleeps very little!).

First of all, congratulations on your new position! When do you start?

We have already started! We had our first meeting yesterday to start going over things and will be working through the summer.

Why did you run for a Yale College Council position?

There were a lot of initiatives I worked on this year while a member on YCC committees that couldn’t be accomplished within one year. These initiatives are really important to student life, specifically in regards to academics. I thought I could really make a difference, and I also wanted to run for a position that had room for fixing.

How did being the only female running for an YCC position change your campaign?

I knew I wanted to run for treasurer before, but being the only female was an added motivation. An entire executive board representing Yale shouldn’t be all men.

Did you have any previous experience with YCC?

I worked on the two big YCC committees this year – academics and events. So I have a good understanding of what can be done, which is very important to have an sense of projects outside your own original role. I also was on Berkeley College Council, but had a lot of friends with positions on FCC and YCC, so even though I didn’t have specific positions on those councils, I felt like I was part of it. I also realized I was more interested in YCC than just planning college events. YCC is must more policy based.

How does it feel to be the only woman on YCC?

I feel like I have some power. It is really important, even from the first meeting, I can tell I want to be a balancing voice with a lot of things. I don’t know how it will play a role specifically, but something to say for next year for our council.

So I heard Dean Mary Miller endorsed your candidacy!

Well she didn’t actually endorse me, but she made a comment to someone that feminism in the YCC was important and so it was passed onto me. Even though she doesn’t know me personally, it’s still pretty cool she knows my name now.

Was there anyone crucial to helping your campaign?

Anyone who runs for a position will tell you recruiting people are important to the campaign. Freshmen are typically the people that vote the most. So I went door to door, which was a campaign tactic less used this year than in the past. I made a campaign team of 20 people, and from all years and colleges. Specifically, my boyfriend ran for YCC president the year before and gave me a lot of advice. Besides that, it was great having my best friends at Yale help, who support me unconditionally.

Were you involved in government position in High School?

I was student body president, which was for a smaller group of people. This role now is much more specific but a bigger job at the same time.

Do you want to go into government later in life?

I don’t think so. I have been involved in student government in High School. I’m part of YCC because it is really the only outlet for student voice at Yale and I want to be able to make changes in everyday student life.

If not government, what do you want to do?

My family is very government oriented in terms of government service, so I want to go into some sort of security service.

What do you hope to enact in terms of policy while treasurer?

In terms of treasury, by the end of next year, I want to have more student opinion in terms of the budget and what it is spent on. I also want a 10K project that is implemented. For YCC, my goal is to be action oriented. We did a lot of surveys this year, and I want to actually put that to use.

In your campaign you talked about working with the Events director to ensure event funding, what does that mean?

I want to ensure that a portion of the budget to go to events. The Event Director’s job is to come up with new events and implement old ones as well. This year, the money wasn’t there for new events, so they had to keep the same annual ones. I want to make sure the money is there for the committee to be able to have new events.

What other activities are you involved in on campus?

I play club soccer. I’m in Pi Phi. I do my Berkeley college council. I’m a Berkeley master’s aid and also an IM secretary.

You must extremely busy, how do you make time for everything?

I’m used to being super busy, which is how I prefer things, it makes me happy. I wouldn’t be doing something if I didn’t genuinely love it. I also sleep very little.

What is your favorite thing at Yale?

Club Soccer- as a group of people, but actually, it makes so happy. It is a de-stresser physically and then the people. It’s the perfect combo.

What are your summer plans?

I’m doing the Light Fellowship, so I’m going to be in Beijing for two months. It’s a pure language study through Duke’s program. I’m also going to be home for a month and interning at a real estate agency.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

My name is actually Marion. It really isn’t a problem anymore, but everyone would email Leigh at first, and it wouldn’t go through. I also went skydiving this summer- I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie. 

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