Bulldog Days brings pre-frosh to campus for taste of student life

After acceptance letters go out in early April, the role of pursuer and the pursued shifts as Yale embarks on a monthlong campaign to woo the 1,880 students who have been admitted. This effort culminates today in Bulldog Days, as students from across the country, including one ambitious student driving from Oklahoma, and others from around the world travel to campus for two days.

Approximately 997 admitted students registered for the program, though over 1,000 students are expected to attend Monday, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions James Nondorf said. Following tradition, Yale has scheduled a welcome address by Yale College Dean Peter Salovey, an academic and extracurricular bazaar in the Lanman Center, panels on different aspects of life at Yale and an entertainment showcase. This year, the admissions office also organized Monday night master classes with several high-profile professors and an alumni panel featuring New York Gov. George Pataki ’67.

“I am excited to meet the people,” prospective freshman Jenny Lin said. “We have a loose schedule, so you can walk around see whatever you want. It might be awkward being alone before you meet people, but I’m not too concerned about it.”

In addition to typical academic fare, a greater variety of organized late-night activities will be offered as an alternative to drinking, admissions officer and Bulldog Days coordinator Jeremiah Quinlan ’03 said.

“The problem last year was that there weren’t enough late night activities,” Quinlan said. “Safety is something we’re concerned about. We wanted to provide later night alternatives, although we do this with the understanding that if students search out alcohol, they are probably going to find it.”

As with last year, Lanman Wright will throw the unofficial Old Campus party, hosted by a group of male students in entryway E. Party organizer Costa Lapaseotes ’08 estimates he has collected over $1,000 for the party after soliciting donations from freshmen in Saybrook and Pierson.

“Part of it is continuing the tradition,” said Lapaseotes, who will live in the Pierson party suite next year. “We are expected to throw a party in L-Dub. That’s where the Bulldogs Days party is.”

SAE will host its annual Commando Party –a military-style party and the biggest one they throw all year — President Gregory Aponte ’06 said.

Although an e-mail was sent out to all fraternity presidents reminding them that it is illegal to serve alcoholic beverages to those under 21, Aponte said such an action is simply the administration putting on a “stricter facade” for Bulldog Days.

“I don’t know if that’s administration just covering bases or whether it’s a legitimate threat,” Aponte said. “I feel with their drinking policy, Yale is pretty realistic about what goes on. They have to maintain some semblance of strictness and punishment, but ultimately they don’t necessarily follow through.”

Quinlan declined to comment when asked if Yale has an alcohol policy for Bulldog Days. He said Yale will dispense punishment if it is necessary, but has “no idea” if a prospective freshman has ever faced disciplinary action.

In a meeting with Salovey present, Dean of Students Betty Trachtenberg asked the freshman counselors to shut down any parties on Old Campus at which alcohol is being served to freshmen or to prospective students.

For those simply looking for a venue to meet others, Michael Nedelman ’08 and Lucas O’Connor ’08 are hosting a study break for the livejournal2009 community in front of Bingham.

Some prospective students expressed a mixture of anxiety and excitement about being at Yale for the first time.

“I’m nervous being in the same class as child geniuses,” prospective student Tamara Leacock said. “Even though I got in, I feel like I need to prove myself. My dad made me change four times. He thought casual wear meant business attire, and was really concerned that I give the best impression.”

Admissions officer Scott Clarke ’02 said meeting the admitted class and finally putting a face to the written applications was the best part of his job.

“You get such a strong sense of personality from the essays,” Clarke said. “When you meet them you feel like ‘Wow I’ve met them before,’ more than you expected you would.”

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