With a butterfly sticker on her left cheek, eleven-year-old Mabel Martinez hid from the rain in the lobby of Linsly-Chittenden Hall wearing a blue, poofy Fila jacket. Martinez, who was on the Yale campus for the first time Saturday, said the campus was gorgeous and was happy with the music selection — she requested B2K’s “Uh Huh.”
Amid rain during the first few hours of Communiversity Day, a disc jockey played a popular selection of music at the stage, situated in front of Phelps Gate. But at 12:30 in the afternoon — when the bells of Harkness Tower began to ring — the music came to a stop. It is illegal to play music on Old Campus when the Harkness bells are ringing, the DJ said.
At 1 p.m., as the bells stopped and the sun began to peek through the trees near Vanderbilt Hall, the Yale Precision Marching Band came out through Phelps Gate with a big bang. Congregated near the barbeques in front of Linsly-Chittenden Hall, the band played “Great Balls of Fire,” and the kids came outside to see. Event organizers, Yale cheerleaders, and New Haven children danced on the sidelines as Yalies watched from the windows of McClellan Hall.
Six-year-old Taisha Therrialt joined the cheer squad for the song, holding blue and white pom-poms. Therrialt danced to the music and proclaimed: “I want to be a cheerleader when I grow up.”
Manning the grills, Jason Van Batavia ’05 and Sadiq Abdulla ’05 said they had already cooked about 500 hamburgers — and that was only at 1:30 p.m.
“We try to let the community know that Yale is a part of the community, that we’re not separate, and the best way to show that is through food,” Abdulla said.
Wearing a large pack filled with food and paperwork on his back, Herbie Jay of Branford said he is a regular at Communiversity Day.
“I’m sorry it rained,” said Jay, who has a long, gray beard. “In the past, I have come and enjoyed myself in excellent weather. But I’m still having a good time. The food is excellent, cooked to perfection, and I was served with a beautiful smile, which made it even better.”
While a group of young girls double-dutch jump-roped on the pathway in front of Durfee Hall, there was a talent show on the stage in front of Lawrence Hall. Seven-year-old Shannon Burruss performed her rendition of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” Later in the line-up, Burruss and a dozen of her girlfriends danced to Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott’s “Get Your Freak On.”
Outside of Lawrence, a moon bounce and moon walk slide drew crowds of children. One boy came to campus with his grandparents and stood in front of the moon bounce for a few minutes, looking at the air-filled jumping machine in awe. He was frightened of the moon bounce, so his grandmother jumped with him. A few feet away, in line for a moon walk slide so tall it reached the third floor of the Gothic dormitory, eight-year-old Aliah Smart said she was scared to slide down it.
“I think it’s going to be gigantic and we’re going to go down real fast,” Smart said.
Communiversity Day also offered young New Haven residents the chance to do science experiments. At the Demos booth, Destinee Rivers, 11, experimented to create red silly putty, which oozed all over her hands.
“It’s kind of messy, but it was fun to make and it’s an experiment,” Rivers said. “I learned that science is not always about writing and learning about the human body, but it’s also about experimenting, being creative and having fun.”
This was the first Communiversity Day for Anna Veloza, an eight-year resident of New Haven. She brought her seven-year-old son, Jonathan, who she said enjoyed the science experiments.
“He’s going to have a good experience — me too,” Veloza said. “Any way to give back to the children is good.”