Amidst the hectic nature of Camp Yale, undergraduate arts group leaders are redoubling their efforts to attract prospective members.
Since Friday, more than three dozen of Yale’s undergraduate arts organizations have hosted information sessions, performances and workshops in hopes of attracting new members. Certain traditions, such as the a cappella “Woolsey Jam,” are designed to showcase the diversity within various arts communities and have been held annually for many years. But individual groups have also introduced new means of advertising their organizations to the undergraduate student body, including personalized emails and rare opportunities for members of such groups.
Libby Dimenstein ’16, president of the Yale Concert Band, highlighted the ensemble’s upcoming tour to Italy and Greece as a major selling point to potential members, adding that this season’s concert repertoire will reflect the styles of music from those nations. She added that her group’s recruiting strategy is a gradual process that begins as early as Bulldog Days, when the Band holds an information session and an open rehearsal. Incoming freshmen who sign up for the group during Bulldog Days received personalized emails tailored to their musical interests during the summer, as well as reminder emails about the audition process, Dimenstein noted.
Leah Meyer ’18, a French horn player in the Yale Symphony Orchestra, said that the YSO’s 50th anniversary this year creates a number of opportunities to emphasize the group’s role in the undergraduate community. She added that the possibility of joining the YSO was a major factor in her decision to attend Yale.
Yale Dancers president Gracie White ’16 said that her group also begins reaching out to potential members months before incoming freshmen arrive on campus, but noted that she thinks the most appealing feature of this year’s recruiting efforts will be the series of master classes that the group plans to host throughout the year. White added that dancers on campus may be attracted to the unprecedented collaborative projects that Yale Dancers is looking to organize with other arts organizations such as a cappella groups.
Other arts group leaders highlighted the importance of improving existing means of attracting new members in addition to inventing new ways of advertising. Singing Group Council co-chairs Grant Fergusson ’17, Reine Ibala ’16, Moriah Rahamim ’16 and James Lee ’16 said that their primary aim for this year’s a cappella rush process is to evaluate the council’s policies and ensure that existing restrictions are purposeful and not simply arbitrary. The co-chairs added that the council plans to expand opportunities for freshmen to engage with groups more personally.
“The best vehicle for co-opting freshmen is human interaction,” said Nelson Reed ’17, musical director of The Baker’s Dozen.
Diana Anastase ’19, who plans to audition for an upcoming production of Jean Paul Sartre’s “No Exit,” said that the efforts made by arts organizations during the opening days of the 2015–’16 year helped her and others overcome potential barriers to entering the theater community, such as stage fright.
The last official arts event of the 2015 Yale College Freshman Orientation period will be WORD Performance Poetry’s Back to School show on Sept. 12.