Yale hosts annual Bulldog Bash after two-year hiatus
The student festival, which featured music of the Latin American diaspora, was this fall’s first major campus event.
Ryan Chiao, Editor in Chief & President
After a two-year hiatus, Bulldog Bash returned to campus last weekend with a bang.
Bulldog Bash, an annual event first hosted in 2018 under then-Yale College Dean Marvin Chun, is a celebration on Old Campus with music, food and drinks for undergraduate students. The event is a collaboration between the Yale College Dean’s office and the Schwarzman Center, with catering offered by Yale Hospitality. The theme for this past Saturday’s event centered around cultures of the Latin American diaspora. The Schwarzman Center hosted several Latinx artists including ChocQuibTown, Mexican Institute of Sound, Villano Antillano, Batalá New York and Rimarkable, and Yale Hospitality distributed a menu including ceviche, empanadas and mock mojitos.
“It’s really nice to see [Bulldog Bash] reestablish people having fun, you know, relaxing, getting to know each other, and you know, just the excitement at the start of a new school year,” Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis told the News. “I got the sense everyone’s having a great time.”
Lewis said he felt that the event was a success, with Old Campus transforming into a dynamic space with spots for spirited dancing and cuisine, in addition to spaces for conversations among students reconnecting after a summer apart.
Jennifer Newman ART ’11, associate artistic director of the Schwarzman Center, saw the event as serving two purposes: “an introduction and a welcome home.”
“I started really thinking about joy,” Newman said. “And then I just started to think of what is joyful — dancing is joyful. And so I started to think about music that makes you want to dance.”
Newman explained that Latinx music boasts diversity, with rhythms coming together and “speak[ing] to one another across sounds, across languages.”
With this idea in mind, Newman found up-and-coming artists whose work — ranging from hip hop to Latin rap — made powerful statements about identity.
“What’s really interesting to me about each of these artists is they’re also thinking about their work in sort of a larger way,” Newman said. “They think about, you know, what their platforms are and the issues that they feel like they want to bring to light.”
This year’s celebrations brought back Maria Elena Garcia, also known as Rimarkable, as the official festival DJ. Rimarkable has performed at every Bulldog Bash since the celebration’s start in 2018.
Rimarkable said that she hoped that students from all walks of life would feel welcomed.
“I want to bring everybody together,” Rimarkable said. “You know, there’s a ton of freshmen that’ll be there. And with the jitters from their first time being away from home … they’re excited.”
According to Maurice Harris, director of marketing and communications at the Schwarzman Center, this year’s Bulldog Bash required a widespread social media campaign to spread the word about the event.
Previously, Harris explained, Bulldog Bashes had been organized without significant marketing because the event serves as “something fun to do” before classes convene and therefore would likely generate organic buzz within the Yale community. This year, however, most students were not familiar with the event — only students who began in the original Class of 2023 or before had experienced a Bulldog Bash — and thus a social media campaign with posters and a special announcement from Lewis popularized the event.
“One of the most fun aspects about marketing Bulldog Bash is how quickly it spreads by word of mouth,” Harris told the News.
Michael Ofodile ’26 spoke of one moment in particular, when he saw University President Peter Salovey dancing at the Bash.
“He looked like he was having a fun time,” Ofodile said. “The music was incredible and I loved hearing all the different sounds [of the artists].”
Andrew Lake ’26 said he thought that the event was fun, loud and energetic. He especially appreciated the artists’ music, as well as the dining offered by Yale Hospitality.
“It’s been great,” Lake said. “The music was fun, electric.”
Jeongjun Yun ’25 described how, as the first major organized campus event for first years and transfer students such as himself, Bulldog Bash helped him get a sense of the college experience – full of people, food and music.
“It was great because as a transfer student, I didn’t have much [of an] opportunity to meet with the freshmen,” Yun said. “Like when you’re waiting in line, for example, for a mocktail [you can] say hi to people waiting with you.”
This year’s Bulldog Bash was hosted from Saturday, Aug. 27 at 9 p.m to Sunday, Aug. 28 at 2 a.m.