Yale college

School Notes: Yale College
March/April 2011

Alumnus shares the saving power of laughter

At a November presentation and conversation, Yale College students listened intently as Jamie Lachman ’98 described his journey from frustrated physical-theater artist to founder of Clowns Without Borders South Africa, an artist-led humanitarian organization that uses a light-hearted touch—laughter and play—to help children cope with trauma while teaching them crucial information about public health.

During his visit to New Haven, Lachman also conducted a theater workshop to share some of the intervention techniques he employs in communities affected by conflict and HIV/AIDS. The events were organized by Yale Undergraduate Students for UNICEF, with direction from Professor Kaveh Khoshnood ’89MPH; Lachman’s visit was sponsored by the Traphagen Alumni Speakers Series Fund, which connects alumni with current students to share their post-Yale paths and experiences. Information about the Traphagen series can be found at http://yalecollege.yale.edu/content/traphagen-alumni-speakers-series.

College renovation strengthens residential college community

After a year and a half of construction, the Morse College community celebrated the college’s renovation with a rededication ceremony in November. During the event, students, fellows, alumni, faculty, and staff enjoyed tours of the renewed space, special musical performances reflecting the spirit and character of Morse, and remarks from Morse master Frank Keil, President Richard C. Levin, and others. Designed to preserve Eero Saarinen’s original architectural design, the renovation—featuring a crescent courtyard and cascading water feature affectionately dubbed the “Morse Beach” by students—offers Morse residents inviting spaces to study, relax, and socialize. As the 11th of the 12 residential colleges to be renovated as part of a comprehensive plan begun in 1996, Morse will be joined next year by its neighbor, Ezra Stiles, where refurbishment currently is under way.

In seminar, freshmen piece together visual clues to the past

Participants in the fall-semester course Studies in Visual Biography, the first Yale College freshman seminar offered by the art department, learned firsthand that research is about “looking at real, tangible objects and artifacts of all kinds,” as teacher Jessica Helfand ’82, ’89MFA, describes it. Thanks to access to items in Yale’s rich collections—from Gertrude Stein’s personal photographs and journals housed in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library to videos in the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies—the students had no shortage of resources to explore. Now in its fifth year, the Freshman Seminar program offers a diverse array of interdisciplinary courses and connects first-year students with Yale faculty across a wide range of disciplines—including Helfand, a talented and award-winning graphic designer, lecturer in art, and author. For further information on the program, visit http://yalecollege.yale.edu/content/freshman-seminar-program-2.

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