Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Student Life


The McDougal Student Life Fellows and their staff advisors plan a variety of programs throughout the year in the general areas of interest listed below. Most events are free or discounted and welcome graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and their families. Specific details for many of the events are listed on the Student Life calendars and are e-mailed directly each week to all students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students in other Yale graduate and professional schools, postdoctoral fellows and family members may subscribe to the Student Life Notes. Students with ideas, suggestions or questions about becoming involved in any of these activities should contact the McDougal Student Life Fellows.

Arts and Culture

The Arts and Culture Fellows at the McDougal Center connect students with the diverse visual, theater, literary and performing arts offerings at Yale and in the greater New Haven area. The Fellows organize numerous “Grad Nights” each year at art galleries on campus and around New Haven; the city’s annual “Open Studios” event; the Yale Repertory, Yale Cabaret, Schubert and Long Wharf theatres; the Yale, Metropolitan and New York City opera companies; the University’s Beinecke Library and Collection of Musical Instruments; local cinemas; and Yale School of Music and Philharmonia concerts. Grad Nights typically involve special tours and talks, discounted admission fees and receptions exclusively for Yale graduate students. To encourage artistic creation and highlight the talents of graduate students at Yale, the Fellows also organize “Common Room Concerts” and the “Talent Tuesday” performance series; promote poetry and spoken word nights, as well as other literary events; offer crafts and hobby classes; hold a photo contest; and maintain the Grad Gallery. Please contact the Fellows if you are looking to perform or share your talents with the graduate community.

International Student Life

More than 100 countries are represented among the community of Yale graduate and professional students. The International Student Life Fellows help new and continuing students to connect with each other and share their cultural experiences, planning events in cooperation with the University’s International Center throughout the academic year and informing international students of the resources available to them at Yale. Topics of discussion have ranged from American pastimes and preparing for New England’s seasonal climates to exploring various cultural transitions, such as in dating and relationships. Students are invited to contact the International Fellows with comments and suggestions, as well as to explore the services and community-building activities sponsored by the Office of International Students and Scholars, the English Language Institute, and international student organizations.

Family and Children

The Family Fellows and Director of Graduate Student Life plan family-oriented events for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with children, such as monthly parents’ group luncheons with guest speakers, holiday-themed festivities throughout the year, playgroups, outings to museums and performing arts events, and arts and music programs for children. There are a variety of family-friendly spaces at the McDougal Center, such as the Family Resource Room and Children’s Area, baby-changing tables in HGS first-floor restrooms, high-chairs at the Blue Dog Café and in the HGS Dining Hall, and stroller-friendly access to meeting space. Spouses and children are welcome at most McDougal Center events.

The Family Fellows serve as resources for prospective and current graduate student families and maintain the McDougal Kids and Family events calendar. Please view additional information about family life for graduate students, subscribe to McDougal Family Notes, and contact the McDougal Center with inquiries and suggestions.

Public Service

The Public Service Fellows help connect students with organizations, events and volunteer opportunities in the greater New Haven community, including tutoring positions in the New Haven public schools and the New Haven Reads book bank, as well as on-campus through the Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center and the Science Outreach office. Other avenues for involvement include food banks, blood drives, voter registration, immigrant advocacy organizations and regional conferences on hunger and homelessness. The United Way of Greater New Haven maintains a database of volunteer opportunities for those who wish to explore these opportunities individually. Throughout the year, the Fellows organize opportunities for students to discuss and reflect upon their role as citizen-scholars and public intellectuals. Students are encouraged to subscribe to the McDougal Service Notes and contact the Fellows to learn about opportunities that align with their goals and interests.

Social Life

The Social Life Fellows organize a range of events and outings throughout the year to appeal to the diverse tastes and interests of the graduate student community. McDougal social events help students meet other students who share their interests outside the academic context of the lab, office or library. Hundreds of graduate students, professors and administrators attend the themed First Friday at Five (“FFF”) happy hours at 5:00 pm in the McDougal Common Room at HGS (21+ with Yale ID.). Other regular events include charity Casino Night, the Annual Winter Ball in February, sushi-making and sake-tasting classes, speed dating, pre-game events for the Harvard-Yale football match, and discounted tickets to Toad’s Place. Students with inquiries and suggestions (as well as bands interested in performing at an FFF) are encouraged to contact the Fellows.

Sports and Recreation

The Sports Fellows promote a variety of opportunities for graduate students to discover their own athletic talents and have more exercise and fun while at Yale. The Fellows organize tournaments, Monday Night Football parties and group outings to sporting events, as well as help promote G&P intramural teams in volleyball, softball, basketball and soccer. They work with graduate student sports and recreation groups, often sponsoring hikes, runs, bike outings, and other outdoor events. Contact the Fellows with inquiries and suggestions about athletics and recreation at Yale and in the New Haven area.

Additional resources are available online:

Wellness and Health

Graduate study at Yale, while fun and intellectually stimulating, can also be stressful, leaving little time for students to focus on their personal health and wellness. The McDougal Health and Wellness Fellows promote awareness of these issues throughout the graduate community. Collaborating with Student Health Education at University Health Services and a team of volunteer health advocates, the Fellows organize programs and events addressing stress management, cold care and seasonal adjustment, winter coat giveaways, safer sex, blood drives, women’s health, mental health, fitness and self-defense training, panel discussions with nutritionists and guidance in cooking healthy meals. Fellows provide health and safer sex supplies to students and publish weekly health tips in the McDougal Notes. Please see the Student Health Education web pages for additional information and contact the Health and Wellness Fellows with inquiries and suggestions or to volunteer as a Health Advocate.