Communiversity Day draws city to campus

New Haven residents filled Old Campus Saturday morning eager to learn about campus groups and projects from students themselves.

Communiversity Day and the International Cultural Festival joined forces for the second time in order celebrate and strengthen Yale’s ties with the New Haven community. The event featured a variety of both educational and entertaining activities, ranging from a children’s carnival to international dance performances.

“Yale is part of New Haven and New Haven is part of Yale,” Nick Miranda ’05, co-coordinator of Communiversity Day, said. “Often from both sides there is a perceived animosity — we want to help everyone realize that this is actually one community.”

Jason Van Batavia ’05, the other co-coordinator, said the day was an overall success. He guessed that over 2,000 people were in attendance, judging from the amount of food consumed. The event, currently in its 13th year, was the best-attended in the past four years.

“The amount of people there was extraordinary,” he said.

Communiversity Day was sponsored by Alpha Phi Omega, the co-ed service fraternity. This year’s theme, “Free Family Fun for Everyone,” focused on providing entertainment for attendees of all ages.

The carnival — a collection of games and rides for children featuring a giant inflatable slide and a moon bounce — was a huge hit with the younger audience, Van Batavia said. The younger crowd also benefited from the New Haven Book Bank’s book donations, which donated close to 900 books and signed up many children for the Ben Carson Yale University Book Club.

Adult participants took part in interactive exhibits organized by over 25 Yale groups and New Haven public service organizations. DEMOS, a Yale organization that promotes science education programs in New Haven schools, organized a planetarium exhibit in Dwight Hall. The Eli Whitney Museum showed visitors how to make little men out of pins, while the Yale University Police Department handed out 100 bike helmets and donated a mountain bike to a lucky New Haven resident.

Yale Chess Club President Scott Caplan ’06 said Communiverisy Day presented a very good opportunity for promoting the club’s activities. Club members took the chance to teach visitors the secrets of the game.

“We set up more tables than we usually do and handed out fliers for our spring tournament,” Caplan said.

Alpha Phi Omega had been preparing for the event for the past four months, Van Batavia said. Maranda said the fraternity raised $8,000 for the event, receiving donations from the Office of New Haven and State Affairs, Dwight Hall, the President’s office, the Dean’s office, UOFC, residential college masters and deans and the McDougal Graduate Student Life Center.

Batavia and Maranda said the merging of the International Cultural Festival with Communiversity Day contributed to the success of the event. The free performances by various cultural groups participating in the International Cultural Festival enhanced the visitors’ experience, Maranda said.

Xin Ma ’06, who performed with the “Phoenix” Chinese dancing group, said her participation in the festival was a unique experience.

“Yale students have seen a lot of our shows,” she said. “It was really exciting to be performing for people from New Haven.”

The festival, now in its third year, also featured a number of exhibition booths, each introducing the public to a different culture, as well as a photo exhibit representing landscapes, peoples and cultures from all over the world. At the end of the day, awards were given to the two best photographs, one of which was selected by a special committee and the other by New Haven residents.

The International Cultural Festival’s main sponsor and coordinator was the Office of International Students and Scholars. The Asian American Cultural Center, the graduate student center, the Yale Center for International and Area Studies and Yale’s Office of the Secretary also contributed to the event.

Student volunteers assist New Haven children on an inflatable slide at Saturday’s Communiversity Day, an annual event organized by Alpha Phi Omega on Old Campus.
Courtesy JasonVanBatavia
Student volunteers assist New Haven children on an inflatable slide at Saturday’s Communiversity Day, an annual event organized by Alpha Phi Omega on Old Campus.

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