As Irene gave us a watery welcome back to campus, our beginning of the year rituals fell into disarray. Events were scheduled and rescheduled as groups scrambled to reorganize recruitment. Luckily, Yale administrators picked up the slack, working with undergraduate organizations to give freshmen the flyer, panlist, and pizza-filled welcome they deserve.
But the administration did make one mistake: Sunday’s rescheduled extracurricular bazaar. The bazaar’s multi-floor, labyrinthine arrangement — around running-tracks and through hallways — was confusing and inefficient. Dean Meeske emailed group heads explaining that preparation for a volleyball match on the floor of the Lanman Center had necessitated the change. Fair enough. But the basketball courts below the running tracks were almost totally empty, but for a handful of guys tossing the rock. Why not let all the groups set up down there? Another option would have been Beinecke Plaza, a successful location in the past. Part of the magic of the bazaar has always been the ability to wander, stumbling upon stalls for groups you might never had encountered. In the claustrophobic and sweaty Payne-Whitney version, groups had been separated by “genre” — publications in one hallway, improv groups on another track — making transit frustrating and discovery almost impossible.
Given a generally successful beginning to the year, we realize these are minor quibbles. But in the future, we should make sure to preserve the open and dynamic spirit of bazaars past.