With plans for the Schwarzman Center still in their early stages, graduate students have expressed hope that the center will include a late-night study space and an on-campus pub.
In his May email announcing the plans for the new student center that will be financed by a $150-million donation from Stephen Schwarzman ’69, University President Peter Salovey said Elis of all ages will be united by the common space. The Schwarzman Center Advisory Committee — a group tasked with shaping the center’s development — includes members from Yale College and the graduate and professional schools, including representatives from the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, the Graduate Student Assembly and the Yale College Council. In interviews, graduate student members stressed the importance of spaces that can be used by the entire student body. The primary suggestions included a 24-hour study space and an on-campus pub.
GSA Chair Elizabeth Salm GRD ’18 said that coming to Yale after the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities was a shock — she found few spaces for graduate students and undergraduates to interact.
“There are a lot of gates, a lot of closed doors,” she said. But, in advocating for a pub, she added, “Food and drinks can bring people together.”
Bringing all Yale students together is possible with the new center, said Catherine Xie MED ’22, who sits on the advisory committee.
Tyler Godoff SOM ’16, a GPSS representative, said professional school students often feel isolated from the rest of campus. Godoff said he hopes the Schwarzman Center will pop what he calls the “Evans Hall bubble” at the School of Management.
Not only do graduate and professional students feel isolated, but their study space is also often limited. Meeting rooms and lecture halls at both the medical school and Yale Law School are reserved weeks in advance, Xie said. Graduate and professional students lack a central meeting space on campus, she added.
And many of the existing study and meeting spaces have very limited hours, Graduate and Professional Student Senate President Elizabeth Mo GRD ’18 said. Although Bass Library extended its hours slightly last year after repeated requests from the GPSS and GSA, there are few spaces open in the early morning hours.
“Students work at all different times and we hang out at all different times,” Mo said.
While most students agreed on more late-night study space, and some students like Mo argued for alcohol-free activities, all those interviewed emphasized the importance of properly planning the new center.
Throughout the fall, GPSS senators will hear student opinions about the Schwarzman Center at small “meet your senator” dinners, and the GSA plans to hold town hall meetings and send out surveys to collect student suggestions.
“We need to put the right things in [the new center] to gather people,” Salm said.