Cross Campus

Cross Campus with Sterling Library in the backgroundProbably my favorite place at Yale is the Cross Campus in front of Sterling Library. The rectangles of grass, desolate in winter, that comes alive in the spring. A place of relaxation, of casual laughter and bright sunshine. A place where nearly everyone passes through, sometimes sits for a while alone or in groups, and usually smiles a lot. A place we almost lost when the bulldozers showed up to push down the trees for the underground library extension, and we sat in front of the bulldozers, and I gained new respect for Yale because we found out that the student voices mattered too.

Carl Eifler

 

Beinecke Plaza facing the Freshman Commons

Front of Commons facing Beinecke Plaza with war memorial names of World War I battles carved into the facade and war memorial in frontThe most impactful place for me was Beinecke Plaza facing the Freshman Commons, as I approached the Commons Building itself. Every day when I walked across that plaza, with Beinecke Library on the left and the massive Commons building in front of me, I would read the names of those seven battlefields engraved in stone across the building facade. That huge monument to the Great War that didn’t end all wars after all, and to the lives of all those Yale men whose names were engraved on the walls inside. I had read most of those names many times, thought about their sacrifice as I thought about the lives being wasted in Vietnam as I walked along, and memorized those battlefield names as a determined tribute to the soldiers on both sides and a lasting recognition of the ignorance of governments.

Carl Eifler