The large patch of trampled grass on Old Campus near the post office can only mean Spring Fling has come and gone. On the other side of College Street is a similarly barren area where the Occupy encampment stood until last week. The protesters were a constant of this school year and their departure seems just another sign that summer is upon us. Classes are over, papers are looming and T-Pain is gone, even if he didn’t really sing much while he was here.
As we look back on the year, it is easy to remember the stories that made national headlines: controversy over Sex Week, the crash at the Game’s tailgate, debate surrounding Yale-NUS, questions about Patrick Witt’s Rhodes Scholarship candidacy. These stories defined our school in the national eye. People talked about our frats gone wild and our heroic football captain’s fall from glory.
These stories mattered to us. Students rallied around the Muslim Students Association when it was discovered to have been the subject of police surveillance. We organized panels and pronounced our views on Yale-NUS. We wondered how Yale will change when ROTC arrives.
In the national press, the University’s name pops up around major issues and then recedes again until the next issue. Title IX is indeed vitally important — but it’s more to us than a headline when the suit is filed and then again in the context of Patrick Witt’s story. It has been an ongoing dialogue since last spring, and the changes that matter don’t always fit into national news stories.
But we talked about other things this year, too: our classes, outrageous speakers, IM standings (well, maybe not) and the upcoming arrival of Shake Shack. For most of us, this wasn’t the year of Sex Week or even Occupy New Haven. We didn’t spend most of our time thinking about national controversies, even when we were key players in them. We spent our time in dining halls with friends, reading in libraries and ordering Wenzels. We should remember those stories this year that didn’t make national headlines but affected our daily lives.
Hurricane Irene ushered in this year, disrupting Camp Yale and forcing freshmen to bond indoors. Many off-campus residents lost power, but they could at least turn for solace to the brand-new Box 63.
Flavors opened, launching a froyo fray that made all our lives better. Then Chocopologie joined the fray. It is the sweetest, best sort of war.
New Haven saw 34 murders in 2011 — and then almost two months without a homicide at the beginning of 2012. New police chief Dean Esserman generated excitement with his commitment to community policing. Two undergraduates ran for Ward 1 alderman. Student interest in the election reached unprecedented levels.
We mourned Zach Brunt ’15, Ralph Verde ’11 and John Miller MUS ’07. But we also found much to celebrate.
None of those stories made it onto “The O’Reilly Factor,” but we will remember them. Each of us has our own roster of stories, too: a particular dinner, a night out or a class we will remember for the rest of our lives. Those are the memories we will take with us into this summer. They are what will keep us itching for September to come or remembering Yale as we head off into the real world.