Students take advantage of new break

Students kept busy on- and off-campus over fall break through activities ranging from the Yale College Council’s Block Party to New York City museum visits.

During Yale’s first-ever fall break, which lasted from Wednesday, Oct. 24 through Sunday, Oct. 28, students who stayed in New Haven participated in activities such as those sponsored by the Yale College Dean’s Office or practices scheduled by their sports teams. Though many students went home for the recess, others traveled from campus in sponsored class trips or with student organizations. John Meeske, associate dean for student organizations and physical resources, said students will most likely have a similar fall break in the 2013-’14 school year. Students interviewed said they enjoyed the break because it gave them enough time to explore New Haven’s surrounding areas.

“Fall break [offered] the opportunity to travel to New York or Boston or even somewhere rural on subsidized trips or with friends,” Eleanor Michotte ’15 said. “Students can really get to know a place outside the Yale bubble, the importance of which is not to be underestimated.”

Meeske said in an email to the News that some University-sponsored activities, such as day trips to New York and discounted movie tickets, were more popular than anticipated, while Tuesday’s block party drew fewer attendees than expected, perhaps because of rain. Because only roughly 20 students signed up to travel to the Yale-Columbia game last Saturday, the Dean’s Office decided to subsidize train tickets instead of hiring a bus.

Alvaro Rodrigo ’15, who attended the block party, said he thought many students declined to attend the event because of the rain, though he said the “wide variety of food trucks” was a major draw to the event.

Athletes on all teams currently in season and the basketball teams remained on campus to attend mandatory practices. But Graham Landy ’15, a member of the sailing team, said the break allowed his team more flexibility in their practice schedule — Landy traveled to Newport, R.I. on Friday to train with alumni for the College Sailing Match Race Championship in November.

Several classes held class trips over fall break to expand on current classwork.

Students enrolled in “Major English Poets” classes took a field trip over fall break to The Cloisters Museum in Manhattan on Wednesday. Trip participant Madeleine Welte ’15 said the visit, which was fully subsidized excepting lunch, was optional but included 40 students, the maximum number of students that the trip could accommodate. She added that the trip tied directly into the medieval book “Canterbury Tales,” required reading for the class this fall.

Angela Ning ’14 said that 15 students from her “History of the Body” class traveled to the “Bodies: The Exhibition” in Manhattan over break. The lab course “Dynamic Earth in the Field and Laboratory” took a five-day trip over break to conduct research in the Canadian Appalachians.

Undergraduate organizations also led trips over the recess to engage in activities beyond the Yale campus. The Yale College Democrats went to Pennsylvania over break to volunteer on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign — calling voters to clarify recent changes in Pennsylvania voter identification laws and canvassing near the University of Pennsylvania campus in West Philadelphia.

The Women’s Leadership Initiative hosted a job shadowing trip in Manhattan, in which participants were paired with individuals from a variety of fields, such as finance and journalism. Trip organizer Danielle Ellison ’15 said fall break allowed more students to come on the trip than had been possible in previous years.

“Even when we would hold job shadowing day on a Friday, sometimes that still meant missing class,” she said. “Last spring’s job shadowing day had eight mentors and mentees at a post-work dinner get together, while this year we had 24 mentors and mentees.”

According to the 2013-’14 academic calendar, Yale’s next fall break will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013.

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