Why You Should Be Thankful for Inspire Yale

Inspire Yale–also known as My Other Extracurricular–is a group on campus whose goal is to spread happiness and inspiration around campus.

Us, essentially.


We’re kind of like the benevolent Illuminati of Yale extracurriculars– the effects of our efforts are far-reaching and noticeable, but we members are simply shadowy figures in the background pulling the strings. Quite frankly, I’m tired of that. Our president, Danielle Melgar, is not only adorable, but she works very hard to make people on campus smile, so it’s about time that she and the rest of the club get some credit for the awesome things they’ve done and plan to do in the future, such as…


Nap stations in Bass Library

Last year during reading period, Inspire Yale reserved some large rooms in  Bass and set up nap stations. Essentially, they were rooms with lots of pillows and calm music and dim lighting where people who were at their wit’s end with studying could just go to chill out for a moment and regroup.

Or reconsider their life choices.


Although this year’s freshmen can’t really claim to have benefited from that event, there are a bunch more to come this year, such as…

Thank You note stations in dining halls

Since we didn’t have the budget for Cumberbatch-o-Grams, we’ve settled for thank you note stations that we’ve been setting up in the dining halls this past week.


This is the time of year where people are most inclined (and obligated) to be thankful, and we’re making it convenient for you! Inspire Yale set up stations during dinner hours in various dining halls throughout the week and are currently in the process of hand-delivering ones address to people on campus and mailing the rest– even international ones! They may get to the recipients a bit late if they’re in, say, China, but Inspire Yale is willing to literally* go to the ends of the earth for you.

*Kind of, in the sense that we’ll be sending a piece of mail rather than actually going there

Boxes of Joy


The only scenario in which #freecandy isn’t creepy.

(Darby Mowell)

Boxes of Joy, made with our own loving hands, are an annual Inspire tradition. We make little origami boxes and put inside of them candy and inspirational quotes. Then we place them sporadically around the residential colleges like some sort of ill-timed Easter Bunny. This is done completely out of the goodness of our hearts, and is in no way also a promotional event. It’s just a complete coincidence that we wrote all of our social network information on the boxes.


Sheer coincidence.

(Darby Mowell)

Speaker Series

Speaker Series is an annual event that Inspire does where we invite people in prominent positions at various companies to come and speak about how they use inspiration and creativity in their jobs and their daily lives. This year’s Speaker Series is still coming together, but right now we’ve definitely got an exec from Estee Lauder coming, and we’re looking to get people from tech and athletic sectors as well.We aspire to get speakers who represent a variety of fields so that more Yalies can get involved and interested in what we’re doing.


And so that the turnout is better than this.

(Darby Mowell)

Chalk murals

One thing that Inspire Yale has a lot of is chalk. Last week, we left suggestions for good deeds on the pavement around campus, such as “Tell the person next to you they look great”, “Grab dinner with a friend you haven’t seen for a while”, and “Tell someone you love them today”.


Some phrases didn’t make it through the brainstorming phase


We actually did a mural on Friday the 14th outside of Sterling Library. It was based around the quote “If you’re feeling blue, try painting yourself a different color!” People came by and helped us decorate it, drawing little sun motifs and goldfish and other such whimsical things. We’re a very inclusive group– not only do we graciously allow everyone to enjoy our beautiful murals, but we allow them to add to them too!


We’re like Tom Sawyer, but better.

(Inspire Yale)

The Inspire Twitter and Instagram


(Inspire Yale)

Inspire Yale’s Twitter and Instagram are constant streams of positivity, like gently babbling brooks of chocolate. We take pictures of our beautiful campus and post them, hoping that we can spread a bit of joy to those in our social network. Our Twitter is also a great way to find out about upcoming events and to see pictures from ones that already happened. We also use gratuitous hashtags in a way that started off as #ironic but may have become actually #genuine over time.

Photo Walks

Along with renowned (and, in my opinion, adorable) local photographer Chris Randall, Inspire Yale takes a walk through our beautiful city to get to know each other and the world outside the Yale Bubble better. It isn’t very often that Yalies actually venture too far away from campus, and this is a perfect opportunity to be shown the most beautiful parts of the city by someone who not only loves it, but knows it very well. Chris additionally gives tips on the basics of photography during the tour.

New York City scenes

Although many people around town already seem to have the hang of it.


Big Brush workshops

Every year, Inspire works with local artist Carmen Lund to have paint workshops around campus. Interestingly enough, this is how they first snagged my attention– my mother and I were wandering around Old Campus with wide-eyed wonder during Camp Yale, and they beckoned us over to their bright little paint station. We sat down and painted absolutely mediocre paintings, and had an absolute blast doing it.


Strangely enough, the one with my name on it is the one my mother made.

(Darby Mowell)

These workshops are entirely free, and can actually be very therapeutic. I was really anxious about the transition to living on campus and this workshop made me feel at home. Plus, I got into a really cool club as a result! Just sayin’. The next one is on December 6th, location to be announced.

Inspirational videos

At the first meeting of Inspire Yale, the older members showed the new recruits this video

(YouTube, Inspire Yale)

In it, 50 students are asked: “If you could call yourself from 5 years ago, and had only thirty seconds to talk, what would you say?” Needless to say, I wept. The answers varied from “The next day’s lottery numbers” to “It’s okay to be gay”. I absolutely adored the video, and we’re doing another one this year. The video’s theme this year is “What’s the happiest you’ve ever been?” Get ready for the feels, Yale.

And get ready to make faces like this.