There aren’t too many privileges that come with age around here that aren’t related to alcohol (Toad’s for free, college wine-tasting, etc), but Mellon Forums are definitely one of them. Underclassmen, take note. When the noxious cloud of blistering ash that is impending graduation begins to curl down upon you, you’ll have Mellon Forums for fresh air. These little get-togethers will occur once a week in your Master’s House and involve one or two seniors giving concise presentations on their senior research/projects. Dinner is served (speakers choose the cuisine), wine flows freely (well, depending on your budget… sorry Trumbull), and the seniors-only audience produces some timely class unity.

Above all else, Mellon Forums synthesize George Pierson’s oft-quoted quip: “Yale is at once a tradition, a company of scholars, and a society of friends.” That first part might be obvious, but the latter components tend to occupy very different realms on campus. Sure, people discuss their work outside of class, and classes can be pleasantly social at Yale — but sometimes you forget just how brilliant your friends and acquaintances really are. Humble, too; despite the stereotype, I’ve found that most Yalies won’t brag about the stuff that really deserves bragging.

Mellon Forums allow those classmates to talk about the passionate work they’ve been doing all these years, and it’s incredibly interesting to sit, listen and absorb. So far, I’ve learned about screenwriting, rare earth minerals, coral bleaching, gang culture in Palo Alto and the relationship between computers and the human soul (among many other topics I knew almost nothing about), all the while sipping chardonnay and sitting on a couch with my best friends. Mellon Forums remind me why I came to Yale—but more importantly, why everybody else did too.

So attend. Senior year won’t be the same if you don’t.

(Disclaimer: Not all college Mellon Forums are created equal; this account is based on Saybrook’s Mellon experience.)