The tumultuous times on Wall Street have not affected Dwight Hall’s efforts to launch a socially responsible investment fund sometime within the next year.
Dwight Hall announced a search Thursday for eight additional student directors to help manage the fund. Student fund director Thomas Meyer ’11 said the investment group could end up managing up to $200,000 of Dwight Hall’s endowment. Unlike most of the social justice organization’s endowment, which is managed by the University, this new fund will be the first-ever undergraduate-run fund to label itself “socially responsible,” Meyer said.
“It makes good business sense,” Meyer explained. “You can do good while also doing well. What that means is that you can you can turn a profit without taking advantage of child labor, and in the long run it’s actually going to be more costly to business if we don’t start acting responsibly now.”
Dwight Hall’s fund will invest in companies that are socially responsible in an active capacity, Meyer said, such as firms involved in education or alternative energy sources.
Student director Troy Schuler ‘09 said the four current directors of the fund realized they needed more students to help select a comprehensive diverse portfolio based on stock performance and companies’ social policies. The eight new members will be divided into four groups of two, said Ferugson, and each group will analyze potential investments in four categories: finance, environmental policies, social policies and company governance.
The fund will be controlled by students, but Schuler said Dwight Hall hopes to create a board of trustees consisting of Yale business professors, investing professionals and students from Yale’s School of Management to counsel the group.
The investment fund will initially hold $50,000, but Meyer said Dwight Hall’s board of directors may invest up to $200,000, almost 10 percent of Dwight Hall’s roughly $2.5 million endowment.
The fund as conceived by Dwight Hall resembles the Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund, launched in 2007 by the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley. The group uses corporate responsibility as criteria to select companies to include in its investment portfolio.
In addition to bringing eight new student members to the fund’s board of directors, Meyer said Dwight Hall eventually hopes to hire a full-time investment professional to manage the fund’s money, though students will aid in the stock screening process. Schuler said Dwight Hall hopes to select the new board before spring break, although investing the $50,000 may take a bit longer.
“We hope to invest in the next year,” Troy said. “But it depends on when the Board of Trustees feels comfortable, and the actual investment depends on the market.”