Zoe Berg, Photo Editor

On any given weekday, The Underground — a dining space housed within the lower level of the Schwarzman Center — is filled with students from all class years quietly working. The Schwarzman Center is one of several new study spaces that welcomed students at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. 

Several of the new study spots were originally scheduled to open during the 2020-21 school year, but were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, construction of the Schwarzman Center was finished in time for its original opening date in the late summer of 2020, but the center’s opening was delayed until Sept. 1 due to the pandemic. Similarly, the new building for the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking — located behind the Becton Center — also did not open its doors to students immediately upon the conclusion of its construction in August 2020. 

Athena Stenor ’23 said that she recently found a new study spot in Steep Cafe, which opened its doors shortly before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020. 

“I studied in Steep the other day and I really enjoyed it,” Stenor said. “I found it enjoyable because the [newly-built] walkway was open.”

Nolan Arkansas ’23 said that The Underground has become their new favorite study spot due to its quiet ambience and interior design. 

While three students interviewed by the News expressed appreciation for the new study spots on campus, others noted that they have kept the preferred study spots they scoped out before the pandemic. 

“My favorite study spot has always been the [Irving S. Gilmore] Music Library in Sterling,” Kahlil Greene ’22 said. “It’s very well lit and the tables are very smooth. There’s usually not that many people there.” 

Eileen Huang ’23 said her study spots of choice are the various coffee shops around New Haven. Huang said that her favorite venue is Koffee? due to its calm and peaceful environment. 

While the return to campus offered access to multiple new study spots, two students noted that several study spots had either closed or changed in some way since the start of the pandemic. 

Huang, who used to study frequently at Jojo’s Coffee and Tea, said that she was “very sad” to see the store close. Jojo’s, which was located on the corner of Chapel and Park streets, closed in late spring 2020.

Four students interviewed expressed that time away from campus, as well as restrictions on using campus spaces, made them less likely to visit the new study spaces. 

Andrew Zheng ’22, who was enrolled in-residence throughout the 2020-21 school year, said that public health restrictions made it inconvenient to visit study spaces last school year. 

“I did not use the libraries at all [last year,]” Zheng said. “I stayed home because there were a lot of restrictions on how you could use the libraries. You had to be masked up and six feet away from others.”

Huang, who took a gap year during the 2020-21 school year, said that as a result of her time away from Yale and the University’s study spaces, she currently prefers to work within her residential college. 

Greene, who also took a gap semester, echoed a similar sentiment. 

“I feel like I work more within the bounds of Timothy Dwight College,” Greene said. “I don’t know that many people who are on campus right now.” 

All library locations are open to students, faculty and staff authorized to be on campus.