Citizens Thinkers Writers Returns to In-Person Programming

A group of students perform Antigone together in the library
July 25, 2022

From July 10th-22nd, 2022, Citizens Thinkers Writers welcomed eleven rising seniors from New Haven public schools to Yale’s campus to hold in-person programming for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Seminars were mainly held outside in the courtyard of Yale’s Humanities Quadrangle. Residential teaching assistants conducted discussion sessions in different spots around campus, sometimes sitting on the grass in front of Sterling Memorial Library, in the shade of the Beinecke library, or in quiet spots along Hillhouse Avenue. Intellectual discussion didn’t end with formal class time, however.  As one student noted, “I talked to my classmates about the reading mostly during breakfast, walks to class or after RTA meetings, and in the library.”

This immersive, residential experience is central to the learning community that CTW aims to foster and is especially cherished now after the last few years of relative isolation. “I did not want to read alone,” recalls another student, “so I decided to bring the others along with me, reading outside, in the library, in the common room, in the dorms! After doing it for a few days the group got bigger and at one point it was most of us reading together each night. I felt like I understood more out of the readings when [we] did it in groups rather than alone.” Living and studying together took many forms. One evening in preparation for a seminar on Sophocles’ Antigone, students staged a reading of the play, while other nights students punctuated their study time with games and listening to music together. At CTW, “you build a community of people who love discussing the same topics as you,” commented one student. Another student reflected, “I loved the atmosphere and the readings, and I felt my brain waking up throughout the process.”