Bookworld is Hoppin’

This past Saturday, I was sitting in the Haas Arts Library, flipping through a photography book for a lovely seminar on Art and Revolution in the Modern Middle East, when a couple of really exciting pieces of news slipped into my inbox. Being absorbed in the pictorial worlds, I was complete unaware of what was going on. Seconds later, text messages started coming. I couldn’t resist.

Long story short, it turns out that after much extended deliberation, Yale has decided to rename my college, formerly known as Calhoun College, after the amazing computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper, a woman who has dedicated much of her life to public service. Ecstatic, I knew that I wanted to be with my college community right away. Nestled in the middle of campus, our college, though small in physical size, has become such a dear home to me over the past two and half years. I set off for the newly named Hopper College.

Credit to Vivian Dang

There’s something to be said about being in the middle of history as it unfolds in front of your eyes. That’s how I felt walking across the gate of the college. Before coming to Yale, I was fairly unaware of its many histories. Now that I am here, it is foolish to keep being ahistorical. There is so much connected to a place. Imagine the countless people that have tread these paths. 

What is Bookworld, you ask, and what does it have to do with all of this? At the basic level, Bookworld is a two-story, ten-person suite in my college, normally inhabited by juniors. This year, the suite is lucky enough (or maybe not so lucky) to be home to me and my nine other wonderful suitemates. Not only is this a homey space, decorated with bookshelves full of dusty volumes and a gigantic neon sign, Bookworld is also home to some of my fondest memories, shared experiences, and my family at Yale.

Occupying the fourth and fifth floor of Entryway C, Bookworld has fully adopted its eccentricity over the last 25 years. When I moved in this summer, little did I know that Bookworld carries with it such an extensive and whimsical legacy in the lore of this college. Apparently, 25 years ago, as a nearby namesake bookstore was shutting down, the ten inhabitants of this suite took their neon sign and lugged it back into their suite. The tale here included so many misadventures and so much goofiness, including the group trying their hardest to avoid smashing the sign into the dining hall windows.

2016 marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of Bookworld. The founders came back to give a college tea, and we got to hear about all the pranks they pulled. This makes sense given that a couple of them later went on to start the publication called the Rumpus, the campus tabloid.

Anyways, as the new generation of Bookworld, we are incredibly excited to be here and now, to open the next chapter of Hopper College. We celebrated with our college community on Saturday. Having opened with an art gallery, Bookworld looks forward to our own iteration next month.