One month into the semester, students in Yale’s two new residential colleges, Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray, have begun building a community and shaping a unique culture some distance from the center of Yale’s campus.

Since their arrival on campus, students in the new colleges have come together to discuss monikers, chants and new traditions for the communities to the north. Pauli Murray College plans to hold small reading groups throughout November — Murray’s birthday month — where participants will read and discuss some of Murray’s writings. Benjamin Franklin College will also be holding events related to Franklin, one of which will be organized by the editor in chief of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin Project, who serves as a college fellow. And on Oct. 6 the new colleges will be holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate their opening.

“We have a ton of amazing upper-class students who have really gone the extra mile in making sure that our first years find themselves in this welcoming, wonderful environment and community,” Head of Pauli Murray College Tina Lu told the News in August.

On Sunday, Pauli Murray students revealed their inaugural college mascot: the lemur. To choose a college mascot, the Pauli Murray College Council and Lu created a ballot with different mascot ideas, head first-year counselor of Pauli Murray Max Sauberman ’18 told the News. Students in Pauli Murray voted for their preferred mascot by secret ballot, and the winner was revealed in what Sauberman called “The Great Mascot Reveal of 2017.” The reveal featured “subsidized onesies, prepared lemur chants and s’mores in the courtyard,” he added.

“The lemur was chosen, largely, because you can’t say ‘Pauli Murray’ without saying the word ‘lemur,’” Sauberman said. “It doesn’t hurt that lemurs are cool, charming animals, too.”

Lasya Sreepada ’20, a member of the Pauli Murray College Council, said that Pauli Murray students were very “receptive” to the event and were excited about the new mascot.

Students interviewed by the News said that the issue of Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin’s distance from the rest of campus is more than offset by the opportunity to establish a new culture. In addition, students praised the colleges’ new facilities, which include a dance studio, a movie theater, an art studio, an expansive fitness center and large butteries.

“The common rooms and libraries are beautifully decorated, the dining halls are majestic, the butteries are homey and expansive and the courtyards and stonework are incredible,” Sauberman said.

Alyssa Ince ’20, a student in Franklin, said she particularly likes the gym. For Sreepada, the college buttery may be the highlight.

Sreepada said that the buttery has become a “social hub” for students, especially because the new colleges are some distance away from the center of campus.

“Living so far away discourages people from going to other sources of entertainment,” she said.

While the new colleges’ distance from the rest of campus shouldn’t trouble upper-level students much, Ince told the News, it might be more bothersome to first years, whose peers mostly live together on Old Campus. Most sophomores, juniors and seniors, on the other hand, are spread out across campus in their residential colleges.

Ince and Sreepada noted that because the Prospect Street facilities are new, there are some minor problems, such as a lack of art supplies in the art studios and some rigid doors. Still, they are confident that these minor glitches will be fixed in due time.

Sauberman said it has been easy to settle down in the new colleges, adding that every upper-level student in the new colleges had made the choice to transfer.

Ince echoed Sauberman’s sentiments but noted that students still must work to build the college community from the ground up.

“I always have to remind myself that this is a new college,” Ince said. “I took for granted how much was already established. Here we have to establish everything.”

Ashna Gupta |