Dwight Hall congratulates Yale on its tercentennial. As representatives of the Center for Public Service and Social Justice at Yale, we are proud to be a part of a rich legacy of public servants and activists.
Through Dwight Hall and numerous other organizations on campus, Yale students have learned to use their education to improve their local and global communities with work in government, law, education, medicine, and a host of other fields.
Over the past 300 years, Yale has produced public service luminaries ranging from Nathan Hale to Marian Wright Edelman. More recently, students founded Connecticut’s largest provider of after-school childcare, Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership (LEAP), and persuaded the administration to divest from apartheid South Africa.
Today, more than half of Yale’s student body is active in a wide range of public service and social justice activities, a greater percentage than any other university without a compulsory community service requirement. Last year, Yale was recognized by Mother Jones magazine as having the “most activist student body” of any American university. We believe this reflects Yale’s commitment to producing civic-minded graduates, and we are proud to be part of such a community.
This tercentennial is a time not only to celebrate our accomplishments, but also to reflect on what course Yale will take in coming years. Maintaining its commitment to service will need to be a central component of Yale’s prominence in its fourth century. Despite the extraordinary strides made by the University to improve Yale-New Haven relations in recent years, much work remains to be done in areas of labor relations and community development. The University must also be a strong presence on national and global levels, employing its power and prestige to bring about a more just and equitable world.
Finally, and most important, we hope that Yale’s student body will continue to lead the nation in community and social justice work. As the inheritors of an extensive legacy of service, we have a lot to live up to.
Jessica Bulman is a senior in Berkeley College and Alan Schoenfeld is a senior in Saybrook College. They are co-coordinators of the Dwight Hall Executive Committee.