The leadership of Dwight Hall at Yale, the largest campus-based social service organization in the country, passed into the hands of 10 new undergraduates Tuesday.
The newly elected Executive Committee coordinators will manage Dwight Hall’s 54-student service and advocacy groups and initiate programs for Yale and New Haven communities. The new coordinators, who were selected by representatives from each of the 54 groups, will serve for two semesters starting this January. All voiced similar plans to strengthen Dwight Hall’s internal organization and bolster outreach efforts.
Brian Goldman ’05 and Michelle Rosenthal ’05, who were elected co-coordinators of Dwight Hall in an uncontested race, said they hope to improve communication within Dwight Hall and build stronger ties to the community, students, alumni and faculty.
“We will launch an evaluation campaign to make sure we meet urgent community needs, [so that] our impact is as big and meaningful as it can be,” Goldman said.
Sarah Cannon ’06, the new Service Learning Coordinator, said she will institutionalize community-based learning by incorporating service work into curricula. She said psychology classes could work with special needs children, Spanish classes might translate health brochures and pre-med students could help out at a hospital.
As the new Financial Coordinator, Matt Harsha-Strong ’06 said he also plans to encourage community outreach by organizing a “reverse of Communiversity day.” Instead of New Haven residents coming to Yale, Harsha-Strong said, Yale students would pursue projects in the community.
Benjamin Staub ’06, the new Publicity Coordinator, said he hopes to increase awareness about Dwight Hall among students, professors, faculty and university staff. Staub said this can be achieved by sending welcoming packages to all new teachers and putting Dwight Hall on agendas for employee training. He said his role as a tour guide will enable him to draw attention to the organization.
“I know that when I give my tour I talk about Dwight Hall,” Staub said.
The new Social Justice Network Liaison, Shikha Bhattacharjee ’06, said she will work to build coalitions among Dwight Hall, Yale and the community.
William “Tre” Borden ’06, the new Membership Coordinator, said he hopes old member groups would assume an advisory and mentorship role toward new member groups.
The only contested positions were the Education Network Liaison and the two at-large posts, which candidates mold according to their interests. Students elected Yoon-Jee Kim ’05 as the new Education Network Liaison, after listening to her describe her extensive experience working in New Haven public schools.
One at-large position went to Miriam Shaw ’05, who said she hopes to increase communication with New Haven communities to ensure that Dwight Hall is making an impact. The second at-large position went to Jane Bernstein ’05, who has already organized about 30 cultural groups on campus into an umbrella organization designed to promote tolerance in New Haven public schools.
Lisena DeSantis ’05, the outgoing Education Network Coordinator, said communication between the outgoing and incoming leaders is important for a smooth transition.
“A group can be perfectly normal one year and not function the next,” she said. “People need to pass on the information that’s needed.”