Students will gather in Commons on Friday for the biennial Yale-Harvard Party — the venue’s last event before construction of the Schwarzman Center begins.

The party was originally scheduled for Yale’s new event space at 150 York St. However, the Yale College Council’s uncertainty about the new space’s suitability for the event led the YCC Events Committee to reexamine venue options. The committee worked with Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Hannah Peck and Yale Hospitality to obtain permission to use Commons, which was the venue for the 2015 and 2013 iterations of the party.

The Schwarzman Center’s construction is scheduled to begin next month. Although no renovations have taken place that would make the facility unsuitable for hosting events, Tyler Bleuel ’19, YCC events director, said that gas to the building has been shut off and that all future University events, including first-year dinner, will be hosted in the new York Street space.

Friday’s party will be the last event hosted in Commons before renovations begin, according to Bleuel.

“It’s definitely a popular event, and we’re hoping to see even more people this year,” said Bleuel. “For half the student body, it’s the last time they’ll be able to see Commons, and it’s the first years’ first time to be able to see Commons, so I’m hoping that and the nostalgia factor will draw people in.”

Former YCC Events Director Lauren Sapienza ’18, who managed the event when it last occurred in 2015, said Commons is an ideal location for the event because of its size, location and versatility. Sapienza expressed excitement about attending one final event in such a historic campus space. A total of around 2,500 students attended the party in 2015, with 1,500 present at the event’s peak time, according to Bleuel.

Bleuel said his committee was unsure whether the newly opened York Street facility could handle the number of students expected to come to the party. The committee was also concerned about the space’s ability to accommodate the event’s usual demand for electrical power. Humdinger, the sound and lighting production company that assists with Spring Fling, will run the DJ stand and lighting for the Yale-Harvard Party, Sapienza said.

Kelly Tran ’20 said the party will give students an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of Commons before the renovation, which she believes will be a major pull for Yale and Harvard students who wish to see the space for their first or last time.

“For me, it feels like Commons faded away kind of unceremoniously — there was never a final goodbye, so this is like giving it the farewell it deserves,” Bleuel said. “Hopefully, a lot of Harvard kids will show up, and we’ll show them which school parties best.”

Commons was built to commemorate the University’s 1901 bicentennial.

Natalie Wright |