Tenzin Jorden, Staff Photographer

Yale’s four cultural centers hosted their annual Intercultural First-Year Mixer on Friday at Saint Thomas More Chapel.

The cultural mixer is a Yale tradition that began in 2015 to address the developments in the diversity of the student population. The event brings together administrators and students involved across the University’s four cultural centers — the Afro-American Cultural Center, the Asian American Cultural Center, La Casa Cultural, and the Native American Cultural Center — for an afternoon of eating and mingling. 

“Back in 2015 is when the cultural centers started working a lot more together,” said Carolina Davila, the associate director of La Casa Cultural. “A part of that was intercultural collaborations, so this event was born around that time, and we’ve just [kept] up [with it] ever since.”

Davila said that the four cultural centers sometimes hold events with one another, but have also all increased their collaboration with the Office of LGBTQ Resources and spiritually-affiliated spaces on campus.

Jorge Anaya, assistant director of student engagement at the Yale College Dean’s Office, said that the four cultural centers are aware of the growing diversity of the student body. Because of this, he said, the four cultural centers are trying to plan more events that are “inherently intercultural.”

“We are very conscious that students are starting to become more diverse in their backgrounds, especially racial and ethnic ones,” Anaya said. “The work that we do is very purposeful and we want to ensure that we are conscious of the various identities that students may have.”

Anjali Dhanekula ’26 said that she found out about the event while browsing Yale Connect and thought it would provide an opportunity to get to know other students across different cultural backgrounds and to get to know the people who run the AACC.

“I’ve heard about the Asian American Cultural Center, but I’ve never been there and met the people that head it, so it was nice to meet them today,” Dhanekula said. “This was [also] actually my first time having Indian food here, and it made me really happy.”

The event provided an assortment of cultural dishes with light refreshments and music before the night ended with a raffle for merchandise from each of the four cultural centers. 

Alexis Nketia ’26 said that, for her, the event was an opportunity to interact with students she otherwise would not have met.

“It wasn’t a taste of home for me, but [the food] was very good,” Nketia said. “I thought it’d be a great place to connect with a diverse group of people and meet people from certain areas that I maybe wouldn’t interact with otherwise.” 

Anaya said that the four cultural centers hope to direct programming based on student interest and are open to student input in the events that they plan.

“We’re very open to students vocalizing what they would want to see in terms of our programming,” he said.

The cultural houses are offering two more intercultural events in the coming weeks. The Multiracial and Transracially adopted students mixer is set to occur on Sept. 22 at the Af-Am House and the Graduate and Professional student Crawl will occur on Sept. 21 at The Underground. 

Students can register for these and other events hosted by the cultural centers on Yale Connect.

BENJAMIN HERNANDEZ