Dwight Hall is trying to make it easier for busy Yale students to give back to the Yale and New Haven communities.
The organization, Yale’s center for public service and social justice, is trying to make itself more accessible to undergraduates through a program it launched last semester called “Moment of Service,” which helps individual students and groups not affiliated with Dwight Hall find service opportunities that fit their schedule and do not require a regular time commitment.
“I think there’s a sentiment among the student body that you’re either a service person, or you’re not,” General Service Coordinator Alexandra Brodsky ’12 said. “And I think that’s an arbitrary line.”
Three members of Dwight Hall’s executive committee said Dwight Hall, an umbrella organization with 85 member groups that provide undergraduates with opportunities to volunteer, launched Moments of Service because there was a gap in the service opportunities the organization offered.
Whereas before, students who wanted to volunteer generally had to belong to a Dwight Hall-affiliated group, Moment of Service lets students go to Dwight Hall’s Web site and sign-up online for service events sponsored by other student organizations. Each weekend Dwight Hall now coordinates at least one Moment of Service opportunity, said Thomas Meyer ’11, co-coordinator of Dwight Hall’s executive committee. Since Dwight Hall launched the Moment of Service program in October, it has held 15 Moment of Service events, he said.
“In the past we were very affiliate-member based,” Meyer said. “Now folks who don’t have the time to donate 10 to 15 hours a week to these groups can still work with smaller individual groups.”
Executive committee member Elena Hoffnagle ’11 said the organization is also connecting with graduate student groups and trying to connect students at Yale’s professional schools with undergraduate student groups.
The idea for Moment of Service arose from a collaborative effort between Dwight Hall and the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project, Brodsky said. She explained that the groups wanted to encourage a new set of students to participate in service projects.
Moment of Service has been met with a good deal of success, said executive committee member Jill Hagey ’11.
Since Moment of Service was launched, a number of campus groups such as the Yale Political Union and sports teams have expressed interest in participating in the program, student executive committee members said. Dwight Hall held a particularly successful service event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Meyer said. Over 100 people showed up by 9 o’clock a.m. to participate in five service opportunities that took place across the city, he said. Yale’s traditionally black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha sponsored the day’s activities.
Each year Dwight Hall hosts a number of annual service events such as the Week of Service,” in conjuntion with the Yale College Council, and the Freshman Day of Service.