Daniel Zhao

Have you ever needed an excuse to get off campus and go out into New Haven? A new Yale College Council program — New Haven Explorers — will allow a handful of Yalies to do just that.

Through the program, YCC will sponsor trips and other activities in New Haven to promote student exploration of the Elm City, according to an email from YCC President Saloni Rao ’20 announcing the initiative. Each weekend until the end of the semester, YCC will send a group of three to four students on an activity out into the Elm City.

“We are attempting to increase Yalies’ exposure to New Haven,” Rao said, adding that the program’s focus is on “meaningfully contributing back” to the Elm City community.

Each group will visit one or more of New Haven’s cultural institutions and will spend time exploring the locations, taking photos and interacting with other patrons. There are nine possible sites that students participating in the program could be randomly picked to visit, including Artspace, the New Haven Museum and the Long Wharf food trucks. Funding for the experiences will come from the YCC’s internal endowment, according to Rao.

34 groups of students applied to take part in the program, and many of those groups included seniors hoping to connect with the Elm City before they leave Yale, Rao said. Barring any alarming responses, all groups were entered into a lottery for the opportunity to go on one of the trips.

“The purpose of this program is so that people can explore New Haven and see the beauty of New Haven and get closer to it,” said program director Karen Li ’22. “We want people who are genuinely interested in doing that.”

After the trip, participants will have to write a reflection on their experience and send photos of the locations they visited to the YCC. The Council will post all of the reflections on its Facebook page, so that other Yalies can learn about the places their fellow classmates visited. By the end of the semester, the YCC plans to create a physical photo installation on Cross Campus showcasing the students’ experiences in New Haven.

“The program is not just to get 15 people to go to New Haven places, it’s supposed to get everyone to go to New Haven places,” YCC Finance Director Kahlil Greene ’21 said.

While the current YCC representatives hope that the program will continue in future years, Greene said that the Council will survey all of this year’s participants and allow the soon-to-be-elected new YCC members to decide the future of the program based on that data.

Jose Davila IV | jose.davilaiv@yale.edu