Welcome to a New Year! Making the House YOUR Home

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


As Assistant Dean of Yale College and Director of the Afro-American Cultural Center, I am thrilled to welcome you to a great new year!

In 1969, the center (which we affectionately call “the House”) was born out of student activism that called for greater support of and safe space for students of African heritage. The House helped unite Yale’s Black community around pertinent social justice issues, advocate for institutional policies that would enhance Black student learning, and create meaningful connections between folks on campus and in New Haven. The House served to educate the broader campus about the richness of our cultures and our contributions not only to the university but also to humanity. The House truly became Black students’ home away from home, where they felt free to just be – to be their authentic selves together, to be in fellowship together, to fight for justice together. Indeed, they came to the House to love their communities together.

As some of you know, I returned to New Haven, my hometown, just some weeks ago to take on the role and privilege of directing Yale’s Afro-American Cultural Center. Whether you are new to Yale and New Haven or returning for your final year of studies here, you are invited to come to your home away from home – the House.

With great reflection on and reverence for the House’s history, I look forward to meeting each of you and learning about your backgrounds, interests, aspirations and passions. I look forward to exploring our diverse and intersecting identities and cultures together in ways that can be challenging but empowering for our communities. I look forward to building solidarity with you throughout our campus and New Haven to raise consciousness of and respond to social injustices across the Diaspora. I look forward to celebrating the excellence in scholarship, research, service and leadership that you demonstrate daily. I look forward to building on the House’s strong history with you and to supporting evolving student cultures and needs in its bright future.

That said, with all that is going on around us, I know that we have some work ahead of us—hard but great, transformative work—on self and campus, in our communities and disciplines. We are here to do this work together. I hope you find the House not just a great campus resource but also your Yale family that will remind you that you matter, that you – all of you – are loved. The House family is here to remind you that we are all needed to do this work that will inspire and facilitate the success of future generations and that we have been blessed and prepared to do just this. We can. We must. We will. So let’s get to it!

Risë Nelson
Assistant Dean of Yale College
Director of the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale University

Hours and Access
Currently, the House is staffed to be open for general use from 4 to 10p on Mondays through Thursdays, 4 to 7p on Fridays, 1 to 5p on Saturdays, and 5-10p on Sundays. Of course, we’ll be sure to keep you posted on when the House will be open for longer hours during certain peak periods and weekends of the semester.

House staff and resident group officers are provided access to the house from 7a-midnight. Please contact afamhouse@yale.edu to request access.

Dean’s Office Hours
As Director of the House and Assistant Dean of Yale College, it’s incredibly important for me to hear about your experiences with the House and Yale and to learn about how my staff and I can best support your learning and success. Starting September 14, my open office hours will be 3-5p, Mondays and Wednesdays. Stop by sometime!

Upcoming Events
Welcome Back BBQ
Saturday, September 12 | 4:30-6p | Af Am House
Join us at the re-opening of the Afro-American Cultural Center as we begin a new academic year and a new chapter for the House. Immediately following the BBQ, our “Life After Yale” panel/mixer, co-hosted by the Yale Black Alumni Association (YBAA), will feature various alumni discussing their undergraduate and post-Yale experiences. Please come out and support!

Exploring Undergraduate Research Opportunities at Yale
Wednesday, September 23 | 5-7p | Af Am House E-Room
Moderator: Craig Lapriece Holloway, PhD Candidate, Yale Department of Sociology
The panel will include select representatives from Social Science, Humanities, and STEM fields. They will address their own experiences as undergraduate students in working with faculty on research projects and/or participating in summer research programs. Finally, they will talk briefly about the opportunities in their respective Department(s) at Yale for undergraduate research experiences and strategies that are helpful to students in gaining access to such opportunities. This series is a part of the “Student Success Programs” at the Afro-American Cultural Center, particularly with respect to undergraduate opportunities for research experiences. Light dinner will be served. Contact: craig.holloway@yale.edu

A Look at the AAU Sexual Climate Report
Thursday, September 24 | 5-7p | Af Am House E-Room 
Moderator: Paige Tucker, MAR Candidate, Yale Divinity School
In light of the recent results of AAU’s survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct, please join us in solidarity for a community conversation with Dr. Melanie Boyd (Asst. Dean-Student Affairs, Dir., Gender & Campus Culture; WGSS Lecturer/DUS) about improving Yale’s campus climate and eliminating sexual misconduct.Light dinner will be served Contact: paige.tucker@yale.edu
Family & Friends Open House at the House

Friday, September 25 | 1-2p |Af Am House E-Room and Founders Room
You are invited to a meet and greet with Risë Nelson, Assistant Dean and Director of the Afro-American Cultural Center, and the House’s student leaders. Please join us for tours of the House, an overview of its history and future plans, and a discussion of how families and friends can partner with the House to support students of African heritage. Light refreshments will be served. Contact: afamhouse@yale.edu

Af Am House Council Meeting
Thursday, September 30 | 5-7p | Af Am House E-Room 
Moderator: Nicole Tinson, M.Div. Candidate, Yale Divinity School
All House resident groups are required to have 1-2 officers attend this first council meeting at which we will discuss the House’s vision for Student Leadership & Organizational Development, funding request and reservation processes, the creation of a centralized House calendar, and building solidarity between our groups and community. Light dinner will be served. THIS IS ONLY FOR LEADERS OF HOUSE RESIDENT GROUPS; STAY TUNED FOR OUR UPCOMING OPEN STUDENT LEADERSHIP EVENTS. Contact: nicole.tinson@yale.edu