Britton O'Daly

Last year, the Yale College Dean’s Office piloted a program that provided each residential college with funding to organize special sophomore-centered events. After last year’s success, the program is continuing into the new school year.

The initiative, in addition to all-sophomore events like the Sophomore Brunch, seeks to provide support for second-year students, since there traditionally have been few events catered to sophomores.

“If you think about all of the resources and attention that are given to first-year students, we want there to be some kind of continuity of support and community building into the sophomore year,” Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun said. “Yes, for 10 out of 14 colleges, they’ve got this huge transition from Old Campus into their colleges proper, and that alone is exciting, but we also just wanted each community to think about ways to help sophomores feel more strongly supported and feel that there’s more community in their sophomore class.”

Allocation of the money is entirely up to each college, where the head of the college may work in consultation with the residential college council to determine how to use the money, so long as the funds go towards events that will directly benefit sophomores, Chun added.

Seven of the eight college heads that responded to the News’ request for comment spent last year’s sophomore funding on dining events for their sophomore residents. For example, Head of Grace Hopper College Julia Adams along with Hopper Dean David Francis hosted dinners throughout New Haven with individual sophomore suites, while Head of Pierson College Stephen J. Davis used the funds to host a welcome back dinner at Box 63.

According to Head of Berkeley College David Evans, the college also sponsored dinners at New Haven restaurants with groups of sophomores, the head and the dean. While the events “had good participation,” Evans said he is hoping for more turnout this year and will be choosing the most popular restaurant options based on last year’s demand.

Of the colleges the News spoke to, only Jonathan Edwards did not utilize last year’s funding. Head of College Mark Saltzman said that the college already has a number of programs for sophomores and therefore elected to make time to plan for a good use of the money.

In Morse, the college hosted a move-in celebration for sophomores this year, Head of College Catherine Panter-Brick said. While the college used the money last year to host an off-campus sophomore dance at the Q Club, this year, they welcomed sophomores to their new home in Morse with a southern barbecue in Head Panter-Brick’s driveway catered by Ricky D’s of New Haven and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

“The sophomore move-in celebration was very well attended, and we hope to make this driveway barbecue a new Morse tradition,” Panter-Brick wrote in an email to the News. “We were extremely happy and grateful to have been funded by Dean Chun to jump-start the sophomore experience in such a positive and impactful way.”

Joining Morse with events for the current class of sophomores, Pierson already hosted a sophomores-only picnic, and Hopper has planned a sophomore dinner for this Wednesday.

Bucking the food-related trend is Timothy Dwight, where Head of College Mary Lui will be working with TD’s grad affiliates to build a sophomore advising program and put some of the funds toward a sophomore class dinner like the one they had last year, according to Lui.

Benjamin Franklin College will continue a “SoCo” program that it began last year, said Head of College Charles Bailyn. A Franklin graduate affiliate and former first-year counselor from the class of 2018 hosted a “range of programming” for sophomores last year, Bailyn said, and plans to continue this year. The program is funded by both the Chun-designated funds and some of Franklin’s own money. Morse resident Ananya Kachru ’22 said she enjoyed being able to come together with her fellow sophomores before shopping period began and the dining halls opened.

“I thought it was a really nice way to welcome us back to campus, and I loved the Ben and Jerry’s,” said Maya Wilcox ’22, another Morse resident. “It also was a nice way to see everyone in our class after summer!”

Jose Davila IV |

Asha Prihar |

Jose Davila currently serves as a Public Editor of the Yale Daily News. He previously covered Yale-New Haven Relations as a staff reporter and served as a Managing Editor. He is a senior in Morse College majoring in Global Affairs.
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.