The Yale Alumni Magazine is owned and operated by Yale Alumni Publications, Inc., a nonprofit corporation independent of Yale University.
The content of the magazine and its website is the responsibility of the editors and does not necessarily reflect the views of Yale or its officers.
There is one new building in the Broadway retail area this spring, but if the architects have done their job right, you won’t be able to find it. Yale recently completed a new building to house retailers and offices for student organizations that is designed to look like three separate structures, two with Classically inspired façades and one with a sleek steel-and-glass front.
Behind the most modern façade is the 43rd location of Urban Outfitters, a national chain that offers youth-oriented clothing and furnishings. The two-level, 11,000-square-foot store opened in April. Alexia Crawford, a New York store specializing in women’s fashion accessories, also opened recently in another of the new storefronts.
Next year, student organizations will move into new office space provided by the University on the building’s second floor. The Yale College Council, the Yale Herald, and the New Journal will have permanent offices in the building, while other groups will share work areas, conference rooms, and filing cabinets for their records.
The new building was designed by former School of Architecture dean Thomas Beeby of Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge, Inc. of Chicago, in association with former Yale architecture professor Judith DiMaio, who designed the Urban Outfitters store.
While Urban Outfitters was among the spring’s most anticipated new arrivals, a food store called Gourmet Heaven down the street won the most praise. The store offers groceries, fresh produce, and a large buffet 24 hours a day.
A Jump in Status For South Asia
With more than a fifth of the world’s population, the region of South Asia is hard to miss. But unlike Europe, East Asia, and Latin America, the region that includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and four other countries has attracted little scholarly attention at Yale—until now. A small but growing commitment to South Asian studies reached a milestone this spring when the Yale Center for International and Area Studies upgraded its South Asian Studies Committee to a Council.
While the distinction sounds subtle, YCIAS director Gus Ranis explains that to merit a council of faculty members, an area studies program must have a sustained availability of courses, language study, and library support, things that are just beginning to come to fruition for South Asian studies. There are eight undergraduate courses pertaining to South Asia (in economics, history, religious studies, and language), and the College now offers two years of instruction in Hindi—enough for students to use Hindi to fulfill their foreign language requirement.
Much of the increased interest in the region, says Ranis, comes from students, often American-born undergraduates of South Asian heritage. “First there is what we call a 'heritage demand' for language,” says Ranis, explaining that many students of foreign-born parents are eager to learn the language of their forebears. “That is followed by an interest in knowing more about culture and history, and it goes on from there.”
The other councils at YCIAS all oversee undergraduate major programs, something that is still years away for South Asian studies. But Ranis, who once worked in Pakistan, thinks that interest in the region will continue to grow. “I believe that this part of the world is going to be a region of opportunity and achievement in the next 30 years,” he says. “I think what happened in China can happen there.”
Putting Financial History Online
With $1.2 million from an anonymous donor, the School of Management’s International Center for Finance is embarking on a project that director William Goetzmann likens to “the Human Genome Project, only for financial data.” Over the next year, the Center will convert historical records from the London Stock Exchange—which are now available only on paper—to an electronic database that will be available online free of charge.
The Center has already undertaken a similar project with records from the New York Stock Exchange from 1816 to 1925. The London Exchange records to be entered into the database date from 1871 to 1930, a period Goetzmann calls “the golden age of world capital markets.”
“London was the global capital market in that time, and corporations around the world raised their money in that market,” says Goetzmann, who adds that the era is similar to the current one in that there were few barriers to global capital flow. “So the aim is to use history to understand the present.”
In addition to the database project, some of the grant will fund the publication of a book on innovations in finance. And $250,000 has been given in the form of a challenge grant to encourage other donors to contribute to the Center’s efforts.
Goodbye to All That … Slop
While universities around the country try to find new ways of reducing the volume of garbage, Yale has, at least temporarily, halted what many have called the ultimate recycling effort. In Commons, the by-products of food preparation—everything from lettuce trimmings to out-of-date bread—are no longer going to the pigs.
“This may be the end of an era,” says C. J. May, the University’s recycling coordinator.
No one knows precisely when the practice of casting leftovers before swine began at Yale, but, “it has certainly been in place a long time,” says May, pointing out that when the residential colleges were built more than 70 years ago, each had a relationship with a local farmer, who would dutifully drive to New Haven each day and remove food waste. In fact, dining halls used to have two chillers, one for incoming food, the other for, well, slop.
“Yale was happy, the environment was happy, and the pigs were happy,” says May.
Over the years, however, the number of hog farmers in Connecticut has dwindled, and the dining halls have required increasing amounts of space for food. In addition, state health regulations now require that bonafide leftovers be cooked before being fed to swine.
As a result, only Commons, which generates about 50 tons of food waste each year, has continued the practice. But earlier this year, after a disagreement over collection fees and practices with the farmer who had been hauling off the refuse, Yale lost this tie to the past. An alternate deal fell through when replacement swine discovered they preferred leftovers from a local Dunkin' Donuts to Yale’s offerings.
While the University’s garbage is now simply trucked to trash incinerators, May is hunting for other farmers. But even if he is successful, the recycling coordinator suspects that a long-term solution is more likely to involve composting and reduction strategies than pigs. “We’ve made the transition from an agricultural economy to an industrial and service economy,” said May. “Our waste management practices have got to catch up.”
New Source for Stem Cells
A research team led by biologist Diane Krause has discovered that for at least one kind of adult cell, biology may not be destiny after all. While scientists have long known that early in the process of development, the stem cells in an embryo can become almost any kind of organ, it was thought that this kind of cellular versatility was not present in adulthood.
But in the May issue of the journal Cell, Krause and her colleagues at the Medical School, Johns Hopkins, and NYU demonstrate that stem cells found in the bone marrow of adult mice, which were known to produce blood cells, can also turn into skin, lungs, liver, and gastrointestinal organs. (Similar studies have demonstrated this ability in humans.) “It is astounding that they can become so many different tissue types,” says Krause. “Something magical is happening, and the point is to find out how the process works.”
Biologists are excited about stem cell research because it offers the potential for creating an almost unlimited supply of replacement material for cells damaged by heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and Type 1 diabetes. However, because aborted fetuses are currently the main source of fetal stem cells, the ongoing debate over abortion has prompted the federal government to avoid funding these investigations.
The Krause team’s discovery that adult stem cells appear to have much of the transformational abilities of their fetal counterparts may enable scientists to sidestep the controversy. But Krause strongly supports the continuation of both avenues of investigation. “We’re entering a new phase in stem cell research,” she says.
Yale Pitches In on School Addition
Among the first acts of the younger Timothy Dwight, who led Yale from 1886 to 1899, was to change the institution’s name from Yale College to Yale University—signaling its growing commitment to graduate education. So it is fitting that the New Haven elementary school named for Dwight—in the Dwight neighborhood just west of the campus—recently dedicated a new addition that was planned with the help of professional schools across the University.
The 10,000-square-foot addition was designed by students and faculty in the School of Architecture’s Urban Design Workshop (UDW), led by architecture professor Michael Haverland. The idea for the project, which adds a gymnasium-size multipurpose room and smaller meeting rooms to the 1960s school, grew out of a planning study done by the UDW in 1995, when residents cited the need for community facilities in the Dwight neighborhood. The UDW worked with the Board of Education, the Greater Dwight Development Corporation, and the city and state to realize the project. A Department of Housing and Urban Development grant secured by Yale helped pay for the $2.8 million addition.
In addition to the School of Architecture, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies worked with Balmori Associates on the landscape plan (which adds three new outdoor “rooms” to the site), the School of Art consulted on signage, the School of Nursing on safety, the School of Drama on lighting, and the Law School on access and security. TAMS Consultants of Boston were the architects of record for the project.
Haverland calls the project “a model of cooperation,” and says that it is a good teaching tool for architecture students, who often think good architecture requires wealthy patrons.
Student Pioneers Put TV on the Net
Since Yale first got cable television four years ago, students have been trying to persuade the University administration to let them air student programming on a dedicated Yale channel that currently is going unused. Officials have been resistant because of liability concerns. But now, that debate seems like a relic of the 20th century.
A group of students has decided that the best way to get video to students is over the Internet. In March, they launched Teli, which they claim is the “first college online broadcasting station ever.” Hosted by the undergraduate Web site yalestation.org, Teli is envisioned as a platform for student film, theater, comedy, and music with streaming video accessible on demand 24 hours a day. “That’s something we couldn’t do on television,” says Teli board member Alexander Clark '04.
While streaming video still has a limited market among Internet users because of the long download times for video files, such problems don’t exist for Teli’s targeted on-campus population, which has access to the University’s high-speed network. But the site does include lower-quality video clips for those with slower modems outside the University.
So far, Teli’s content includes comedy sketches developed by independent producers and Yale improvisation groups, excerpts from Political Union addresses by Ralph Nader and other notable guests, and clips of concert performances by Yale rock bands. In the future, Teli hopes to feature student-produced plays, films, and regular series. Program director Gil Doron '04 says the possibilities are endless. “We can put up as much as we want to,” says Doron. “We’re not really bound by space and time constraints.”
No Surfing in Class? Objection!
You might think that it would go without saying: Laptop computers in the classroom are for taking notes only, not for playing solitaire or day trading. But when Law School professor Ian Ayres spelled out this rule for his students, they weren’t just surprised; like responsible future lawyers, they argued the point. As a professor, they declared, Ayres is obliged to engage his students. If he doesn’t, who’s to say that a trip online isn’t a better use of their time?
“There have always been students who daydreamed or worked crossword puzzles in class,” says Ayres. “But with computers and especially with Internet access in the classroom, it’s intensifying, and it’s more blatant.” An economist as well as a lawyer, Ayres says he must balance “personal benefits and negative externalities”: That is, while a student might reasonably argue that surfing is justifiable during certain times in the class, the visibility of laptop screens makes the activity conspicuous and “distracting and demoralizing” to other students.
The solution? Next year, Ayres says he will have a section in the back of his classrooms for those who need to roam the Net or play games. Meanwhile, he is toying with ways to make positive use of the technology. “I’d like to be able to poll the class in real time on certain points, instead of asking a question of one student,” he says. “Or I could let them give continuous feedback on whether they thought I was going too fast or slow through the material.”
This looks like a good time to be the coach of the Yale women’s tennis team. The squad just finished its best season in 12 years, placing second in the Ivy League and posting a 15-6 overall record. What’s more, none of this year’s starters is graduating. So why has coach Meghan Ratchford McMahon '87 picked this year to resign after seven years in the job? Two reasons, both in diapers. McMahon has children ages 2 1/2 and 1, and she says she simply could not reconcile a coach’s schedule with a mother's. “It was sad to say goodbye to the team,” she says. “The only thing sadder was saying goodbye to my kids every weekend.”
McMahon, a three-time All-Ivy player herself, this year assembled a young team that performed beyond expectations. After attaining a 6-4 record in tough non-conference play this spring, the Bulldogs lost their first Ivy match against Penn, the eventual league champion. They then proceeded to beat all their remaining Ivy opponents, including Princeton and Harvard.
“I think the biggest thrill was beating Harvard,” says McMahon. “It was the first time we had beaten them at Harvard since 1979. We never did it when I was a player.” She adds that her team’s youth (there were six freshmen in the lineup) helped in some ways. “They just didn’t know enough to be intimidated or to be worried about playing on the road,” she explains. “And they were coming off the junior tennis circuit, which is grueling and competitive, so they were tough.”
Among the standouts this year was Biffy Kaufman '03, the team’s number-three singles player, who was 6-1 in league play and lost only two games in her last three matches. Karlyn and Ashley Martin, freshman twins and doubles partners from Illinois, also showed potential. While Ashley was sidelined for part of the season by knee surgery, Karlyn won five of seven matches.
Leaving such potential behind will be hard for the coach, whose Eli roots run deep. (Her grandfather Leonard McMahon graduated from the Law School in 1923, her father Brian '58 played baseball at Yale, and her brother Cullen '97 was a varsity tennis player.) But McMahon, who is serving on the search committee, says she is replaceable. “This has got to be one of the most desirable coaching jobs in the country,” she says.
Like a sign of spring, a clothesline at Rudy’s filled quickly with title pages from students' senior essays on April 16, when the campus hangout renewed its annual offer of a free beer in exchange for the first page of a completed essay.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday will be a day off for Yale students and professors starting next year. The faculty voted in May to add a day of classes to the end of the spring term to accomodate a holiday for the civil rights leader’s January birthday.
The Yale Entrepreneurial Society attracted 92 entries to its second annual “Y50K” business plan competition. A team led by Abigail Lubow '02 won $15,000 and free services for their business, a high-tech hardware company called MEMStar. In the “social entre- preneurship” category, the Elmseed Enterprise Fund won for its plan to provide “microloans” to New Haven businesses otherwise unable to obtain credit.
It’s still B.Y.O.S.—bring your own soap—for Yale undergraduates. In April, provost Alison Richard rejected a student request that the University provide liquid soap dispensers in campus bathrooms, saying the plan would cost several hundred thousand dollars. Student leader Ted Wittenstein '04 said that “the administration’s continued inability to meet this basic health need.is distressing.”
A three-alarm fire in the apartment building at 36 High Street on April 23 caused damage to stairwells and hallways and left 40 Yale students without a home during reading period and finals. The University put the students up in the Holiday Inn on Whalley Avenue.
America got its first look (albeit a fuzzy one) at a Skull and Bones initiation ceremony on April 23, when ABC News aired a videotape surreptitiously shot by students with the help of New York Observer columnist Ron Rosenbaum '68. The footage purportedly depicts Bones “neophytes” acting out murder scenes and kissing skulls.
From the Collections
Museum-quality artifacts don’t just fall out of the sky—except meteorites like this one, which surprised a Wethersfield, Connecticut, couple when it crashed through their living room ceiling in 1982. They donated the grapefruit-sized specimen—the second meteorite to hit a Wethersfield house in 11 years—to the Peabody Museum in 1987.
The men’s crews ended the season seeing Crimson. Not only were all three heavyweight crews defeated by Harvard on June 3 in New London, but the Crimson also won the lightweight national championships in Camden, New Jersey, on June 2. Yale’s lightweights, who were the defending champions and had not lost a race since May 2000, came in second by 0.8 seconds.
Victory was fleeting for the women’s gymnastics team, which was judged the winner of the ECAC championships in March but conceded to William and Mary in April after officials discovered a clerical error in the scoring.
Three graduating football players will get a shot at the National Football League. Defensive back Than Merrill and tight end Eric Johnson were picked back-to-back in the seventh round of the NFL draft, by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the San Francisco 49ers, respectively. They are the first Yale players taken in the draft in 20 years. Running back Rashad Bartholomew was signed by the Tennessee Titans after the draft.
For the women’s lacrosse team, hopes of an Ivy League title were dashed in April as the team went from 8-0 to 10-6, losing to nationally ranked Princeton, Duke, and Cornell and others. The men’s team finished with a 7-6 record but beat Harvard.
Competing from its temporary home in the swing dorm, Saybrook College won the Tyng Cup for intramural athletics with 1158.5 points. Ezra Stiles placed second with 933.5 points, and Branford was third with 918.5 points.
The Yale and Harvard men’s and women’s track teams joined forces to defeat Oxford and Cambridge on April 14 in the biennial meet that pits Yanks against Brits. The Yale-Harvard team leads the series 26-12.
©1992–2012, Yale Alumni Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Yale Alumni Magazine, P.O. Box 1905, New Haven, CT 06509-1905, USA. email@example.com