Students across campus took extra care to bundle up or stay inside last week as temperatures fell into the single digits and wind chill levels plunged into the negatives.

The temperatures prompted Connecticut governor Ned Lamont SOM ’80 to declare Tuesday that he would activate the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol from Wednesday through Sunday. The protocol prompts staffers of state agencies to coordinate with 2-1-1 and Connecticut’s shelters to ensure that all the state’s population is protected from the cold.

While not atypical for a New Haven winter, the temperatures presented a struggle for Yalies who are new to the New England climate. Reflecting on the recent frigid weather, several first years from warmer places told the News that transitioning to New Haven’s climates has proven challenging.

“I’ve never seen this much snow at once or had cold temperatures like this,” Atlanta, Georgia resident Jackson Kuller ’22 told the News. “Adjusting is hard, but I feel like I’ll be used to it after four years here.”

For some, procuring a new wardrobe for the winter months — a necessity — presented a financial burden.

Robert Lopez ’22, a first-generation, low-income student from Arizona, told the News that “buying clothes for the winter has been the greatest financial struggle so far” during his time at Yale. Lopez said that it is difficult for him to afford to shop at stores near campus, such as L.L. Bean and Patagonia, but he is also afraid to order winter gear online at lower prices because he fears that it may get lost at the Student Package Receiving Center.

Some students also said that they were surprised by the winter fashion choices of many of their classmates.

Carson Macik ’22, who comes from central Texas, said that he had never seen a Canada Goose brand jacket before coming to Yale. Before somebody explained to him that it was an expensive brand of parkas, Macik assumed that the patch on the sleeve represented some kind of club, since “not everyone had one, and the people that did stuck together,” he said.

“For the longest time, I thought Canada Goose was a secret society I just hadn’t heard of,” Macik said. “Someone finally told me what the brand was, so now I understand, but I do feel that story is representative of my transition here.”

Several students told the News that they chose to stay inside as much as possible to avoid the cold. Serena Puang ’22 — a Yalie from Arkansas — said that she and her roommate, who is also from the South, “got creative making food in the room” in order to avoid leaving their suite.

Similarly, Alabamian Yousra Omer ’22 said that she vowed not to leave her suite the day the weather dipped into the single digits for the first time and “stockpiled food from the dining halls” in preparation.

“I lost a lot of motivation to leave the suite because it was just so dark and gloomy outside compared to home,” South Carolinian Mehika Patel ’22 said. “I think once I learned to get past that this past month, I’ve felt so much better. It’s still an emotional drag not seeing the sun like the whole day sometimes, but it’s getting better.”

Still, several first years told the News that they have been able to steel themselves for the New Haven winter with the help of friends, family and mentors. In the fall semester, Puang’s advisor gave her a winter coat that once belonged to his daughter when he found out that the coat Puang had brought to campus was not warm enough, Puang said.

Mia Haraguchi ’22, a student from Texas, said she “made the fabulous choice of coming to New Haven with only three sweaters and the purple ski coat [she] got about six years ago for a family vacation.” She added that her mother sent her own coat and a box of other warm clothing after Thanksgiving. Still, Haraguchi said she struggles to figure out good ways to keep her hands and head warm.

“When it was in the single digits for the first time a few weeks ago, I stepped outside my dorm to do laundry, felt the freezing wind and almost immediately went back inside to ask my mom — who lived in the Northeast for a while — how to keep my ears from freezing,” Haraguchi said. “Overall, it’s been quite the adjustment, but I still prefer cold weather to hot weather — or so I keep telling myself — and the novelty of snow hasn’t worn off yet, so I don’t mind the freezing temperatures that much.”

Asha Prihar |

Asha Prihar served as managing editor of the News during the 2019-20 academic year. Before that, she covered community service, Yale's professional schools and undergraduate student life as a staff reporter. She is a senior in Silliman College studying political science.