Gaining friends and new perspectives from the Yale community
Yale is full of marvels. Onyx Brunner ’20 made it his job to share them with a rotating cast of thousands.
A campus tour guide since his first year, Brunner took special delight in showing off Yale’s residential colleges. For him, the colleges exemplify the palpable community spirit that animated his undergraduate experience.
“I loved showing prospective students and visitors how Yale does its best to provide undergraduates a welcoming home,” said Brunner, who’s from Chicago and this year was one of two head tour guides for the Yale Visitor Center and Office of Undergraduate Admissions. “That sense of community is what brought me to Yale.”
Over the past four years, Brunner, a double major in French and ethics, politics and economics, has embraced opportunities to welcome his fellow undergraduates to the Yale community and help them flourish. He has served as a student aide in the Head of College Office at Morse College since the end of his first semester at Yale — a role that has helped him be on a first-name basis with all of his neighbors.
“I’ve met everyone in each of the seven classes that lived in the college during my time here, and I feel like I know all of them,” said Brunner, who after graduation plans to enter finance. “It’s been a very powerful part of my Yale experience.”
He served as the chief student aide this academic year, helping Head of College Catherine Panter-Brick to foster a supportive, inclusive, and enriching atmosphere.
In addition to his leadership role in Morse, during his junior year Brunner was president of Yale’s Black Men’s Union, which supports and empowers black men on the university’s campus and beyond.
“We all came from different walks of life, and we had a lot of powerful conversations about how our experiences as black men fit into the wider campus community,” he said.
In March, when campus was closed due to the pandemic, Brunner moved in with his suitemate’s family in Connecticut. Next week, he’ll celebrate graduation with his family in Chicago. His mom is organizing a celebratory procession of friends and family past their house on May 16.
On May 19, Brunner will start a job in the legal and compliance division of a Chicago-based hedge fund. He plans to apply to law school next year and envisions a run for elective office one day.
Brunner says his time at Yale has strengthened his sense of empathy.
“I’ve interacted here with so many people who are fundamentally different from me, and it has helped me see the world through different perspectives,” he said. “I’m very grateful for that.”