Yale University

Yale College Community Care might just help you find your perfect match. 

An intimate group of four students gathered at the Silliman College Acorn on Wednesday afternoon for “Coffee and Connections,” an event hosted by YC3, a mental health and wellness resource on campus. The event seeks to foster friendships among Yale students.

“Part of our goal is making sure students know that connections can still happen throughout the semester,” Ricky Belizaire, a Community Wellness Specialist at YC3, said. “There’s always the opportunity and possibility to meet more people.”

Event coordinators began by grouping students into pairs, providing each group with two discussion questions to guide their conversations. Discussions lasted approximately 10 minutes, and the process was repeated three times, until all participants had gotten the chance to meet.

Despite Yale’s sizable student body, Community Wellness Specialist Angie Makomenaw acknowledged the difficulty of meeting new people outside of activities specifically targeted towards community-building, such as club meetings and pre-orientation programs. 

YC3 sought to address this challenge, providing students with an enclosed environment directly targeted towards creating friendships.

Jocelyn Naranjo ’26, a participant in Wednesday’s event, noted that her conversations “felt organic, though the event was a very structured system.” Like Makomenaw, she also underscored the difficulty of meeting people outside her social sphere.

“I’m really involved in La Casa, and I feel like a lot of my friends have been from that circle,” Naranjo said. “I’m trying to meet people from other places, but it’s hard [to meet new people] if you don’t go out of your way.”

Despite its successes, Naranjo also suggested that the event might have been more effective had there been a higher student turnout, seeing as prior Coffee and Connections sessions included up to 12 students. Approximately four people attended the Wednesday event.

While organizing the event, Makomenaw explained that she drew inspiration from community-building programs at other universities, most notably, a “conversation-over-burritos” event held by the University of California San Diego for first-year students.

“We were trying to put on a fun event, super low stakes, to get to know more people so you can have more people to smile at when you’re walking across campus,” said Makomenaw.

Wednesday marked the third Coffee and Conversations event of the semester. YC3’s next event entitled “Cookies and Conversation” will take place on Nov. 23.

Natasha Khazzam covers housing and homelessness for city desk. She previously covered climate and the environment. Originally from Great Neck, New York, she is a sophomore in Davenport College majoring in history and English.