With only a few months remaining before Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin colleges open their doors, the University’s two new residential facilities are making final preparations before welcoming their inaugural classes.
The heads and deans of the two colleges held a town hall meeting with their new students last week to discuss the use of basement facilities that Murray and Franklin share, such as the gym and performance, arts and computing spaces. According to Head of Franklin College Charles Bailyn ’81, the town hall also included separate discussions about how students would like to set up spaces within their respective colleges, such as butteries, student kitchens and courtyards.
The inaugural first-year counselors for the two colleges were selected before spring break, along with the FroCos for the 12 existing colleges. And the leadership of Murray and Franklin is also in the process of recruiting graduate and resident affiliates who will live in the colleges, Bailyn said.
According to Bailyn, the new colleges will house an unusually large cohort of graduate and resident affiliates — five in each college — since the facilities have rooms to spare.
“All of these things are falling into place,” Head of Pauli Murray College Tina Lu said. “We know that a lot of this kind of stuff is going to happen when you get together in groups of great Yale students, and [Dean of Pauli Murray Alexander] Rosas and I are there to support and encourage them.”
Bailyn said he has been meeting with students in small groups and that right before spring break, Franklin hosted a study break that attracted around 85 students. Additionally, Bailyn said, the college plans to send small groups of students who are not familiar with each other to get a meal in a local restaurant.
According to Lu, the dining halls in the new colleges will have a more open design than those in existing colleges, adding that the kitchens in Murray and Franklin will have smaller prep areas and larger spaces that students can walk through.
“Yale hospitality and dining definitely sees Pauli Murray and Franklin as a kind of new model of kitchen, where in fact it’s a kind of open kitchen concept,” Lu said. “A lot of the cooking is going to be where students can see it, and it’s going to be in really small batches.”
Senior Director of Yale Dining Adam Millman said that although the dining areas in Franklin and Murray will have unique layouts, the “overall flow” will be similar to the other colleges. The menus will be slightly different yet in line with the University’s existing menus, he added.
With Commons closing at the end of the academic year, Lu noted that there was some concern about the traffic that the Murray and Franklin dining halls would receive. However, she added that since the facilities have yet to open, it is not clear how the “redistribution of the lunch crowd” will impact the new colleges. And Millman said that Yale Hospitality has been working alongside senior leadership of the University to analyze the impact that the closure of Commons will have on all dining operations, not just those of Franklin and Murray.
Lu stated that the University might be considering opening up a Durfee’s equivalent near the new colleges.
“Since the center of gravity for the campus is going to be moving northward, Yale University totally knows that its relationship to New Haven is going to shift northward too, so getting some retail in that area is definitely a huge priority,” Lu said.
Bailyn noted that while most Murray and Franklin FroCos were students who had already transferred to the new colleges, a few were new additions who had applied to be FroCos in both their home college and the new colleges. In Franklin for instance, three of the 10 FroCos are students who did not participate in the regular transfer process, Bailyn said.
“It’s a group of people who did not go through freshman year together in the same college, so it will take a bonding experience within that cohort,” Bailyn said.
Yondeen Sherpa ’18, who will serve as a FroCo in Pauli Murray College, said she is excited about serving in her new position while discovering a new college.
“I think the task of Murray and Franklin FroCos is pretty special … there are no pre-established traditions and everyone is discovering the community for the first time,” Sherpa said.
Murray and Franklin students will be going on a one-day retreat to Bridgeport Adventure Park this Saturday, where they will participate in indoor and outdoor team-building activities.