“From RC4 to the New Campus”, an exhibition by Yale-NUS Archives

This month, the Library is hosting an exhibition by the Yale-NUS Archives, a student organisation that has embarked on a project to record and share the history of our College.

Thank you to Yale-NUS Archives for curating the exhibition and for contributing
the introduction and exhibition guide below.

About the exhibition


In the first two years of existence, Yale-NUS College was merely a few floors in Utown’s Residential College 4 (RC4). The classes of 2017 and 2018 spent two years fostering a community that transcended physical space, helping to shape the community and identity at Yale-NUS College. During this period, the students at Yale-NUS College shared their dining hall with students living in CAPT, borrowed dance studios and performance halls from Utown, and watched as their new home was being constructed across the road.

This exhibition was created in the hope of demonstrating how our community has shaped itself within the spaces given to us, and to serve as a reminder of the people and culture that built Yale-NUS College when it was first established.

Exhibition guide

The small stand before the first panel hosts a collection of items from the very first orientation. There was not enough space, nor were there enough resources, to host a full orientation program for the class of 2017. Thus, orientation took place at Yale in New Haven. It is incredible to think that now the class of 2022 is looking at this exhibition, during their orientation in our very own library.

In the first panel, “RC4”, there is a display of images sent in by students from the class of 2017 and 2018 which depict life at RC4. In some of the images, you can see Yale-NUS flags along walkways and in sports halls, demonstrating how students during these two years carved out their own little corner at Utown. There is also a strong sense of community spirit, and a desire to create a sense of identity that was not defined by limitations in space, but rather defined by bonds amongst the student body.

In between the first and second panels, there is a trolley with several booklets and magazines. These were donated by the first president of Yale-NUS, Professor Pericles Lewis, and one of the key members on the development committee in the initial stages of Yale-NUS College’s conception, Kel Ginsberg. If you look at the promotional materials, you can see how the Yale-NUS logo evolved from being merely a combination of Yale and NUS, to taking on its own unique style, color and font.

The next panel depicts the transition from RC4 to the new campus, highlighting the design process, construction, and controversies associated with the move. Some of the points that I particularly liked about this panel were the articles on mixed-gender suites and the Legacy Project.

We decided to have the displays for the 3 residential colleges on the other side of the library walkway, to physically depict how our campus literally “crossed the road” from RC4 and split up into 3 colleges that each had their own individual “flavor.” We are excited to see how the new batches of students will shape the identities of these colleges.

Next to the easels, there is a panel which highlights the diverse community at Yale-NUS College, with donations from the poster project demonstrating the array of activities and sub-communities that exist on campus.

Finally, the trolley and small display next to the staircase demonstrates how despite being divided by these new spaces and being dispersed across a bigger campus, we still hope to create a new and united community for ourselves. With our own mascot, inside jokes, and unique common curriculum, we are on our way towards making this space our own.