The summer before her sophomore year, Emily Hays ’16 went to India. And there, like so many literary and cinematic heroines, she had a revelation.

She was trying to learn Hindi, but found it difficult to practice in the new environment. So, she said, she had to speak to strangers. Though her conversations were often short and rudimentary, they helped her feel connected to her temporary home.

“Those tiny interactions,” she said, “made me feel more a part of that community than I ever did in New Haven.”

Back in Connecticut for the fall semester, Hays felt a “moral obligation” to extend that spirit of community. A lifelong arts enthusiast (music and art classes as a kid, a few art classes and various music ensembles in college), she wanted to foster a spirit of creativity and cooperation right here in New Haven.

And that’s how Blue Haven, a new student organization encouraging artistic and creative collaboration, was born.

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Yale students are ostensibly pretty good at talking to strangers. They ace college interviews, charm their friends’ parents and schmooze with professors during office hours. But casual conversations between Yalies and New Haven residents unaffiliated with the University are relatively rare. Hays thinks that should change.

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“I want to make sure this group lasts,” said Hays. “We want to create spaces where New Haven and Yale people feel really comfortable together. Where they’re creating together all the time.”


 Read more about Blue Haven:

A New Haven for the Arts
New student group bridges town, gown


Honorable Mentions (in order of appearance):

  • Kingdom CafeKingdom Cafe is an open mic, spoken word event to provide a safe space for the youth of New Haven to express themselves through poetry, song & art.
  • Yale Spoken WordPerformance Poetry at Yale is Yale University’s oldest and hypest spoken word group. We put on the biggest spoken word performances on campus. Everyone in the group has different styles and levels of experience with writing and performance.
  • Afro-American Cultural CenterThe House is to develop process, functions and attributes throughout Yale and the City of New Haven, that are reciprocal and interactive, resulting in a sense of community, cultural vision, competence, efficacy, permanence, spiritual well-being and integrity.
  • The Future Project (New Haven). The Future Project is a national movement to empower the next generation to build the future, one dream at a time.
  • Arts Council of Greater New HavenThe Arts Council of Greater New Haven promotes, advocates and fosters opportunities for artists, arts organizations and audiences. Because the arts matter.
  • Urban Debate League. New Haven Urban Debate League (UDL) is a consortium of high school parliamentary debate teams in the New Haven area. UDL is a student organization at Yale University, and all UDL coaches are Yale debaters passionate about bringing debate programs into New Haven schools.

Original source: Written by Madeline Kaplan (October 14, 2014) for the Yale Daily News >> http://yaledailynews.com/weekend/2014/11/14/a-new-haven-for-the-arts/

>> http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2014/10/21/new-student-group-bridges-town-gown/