Freshman Olympics and Dwight Hall’s Spring Day of Service overlapped for the second year in a row on Saturday.
The conflicting schedules over the past two years have not been intentional, according to Dwight Hall Institutional Service Coordinator Abby Troy ’18. In an effort to increase attendance at events this year, Freshman Class Council and Dwight Hall collaborated to incentivize attendance at the Day of Service, offering 20 points to the residential college of each participating student. Dwight Hall organizers said the point system likely contributed to the Day of Service’s high turnout of over 100 volunteers.
“We’re really excited to partner with FCC and give freshmen the opportunity to both serve their colleges and their community on the Day of Service and Freshman Olympics,” Dwight Hall Co-Coordinator Anthony D’Ambrosio ’18 said. “We were able to work with FCC in really productive ways this year and found a really great compromise.”
Last year, Dwight Hall worked with FCC to adjust the timing of Olympic events and publicize service opportunities, as well as set aside two volunteer sites specifically for freshmen who wanted to get back on campus in time for competitions, Dwight Hall Co-Coordinator Briana Burroughs ’17 said.
This year, none of the 16 work sites were freshman-specific, but there was increased collaboration with FCC, Troy said. She added that residential college captains were made aware of the conflict and that both institutions worked to advertise the Day of Service.
“It definitely was not intentional, but as soon as we identified the fact that Freshman Olympics was happening on the same day as the Day of Service, we immediately ‘sprung into action’ — pun intended — and wanted to make it so that we could have as much participation from the freshman class as possible,” Troy said. “People want to win Freshman Olympics and want their residential college to do a great job, and service is a great way to contribute to that.”
Students participating in Day of Service reported to Dwight Hall at 9 a.m. for breakfast and registration, while the Olympic Opening Ceremony began at 10 a.m. The length of service projects varied, but most finished in the early afternoon and gave students the opportunity to take part in the competitions, Troy said. Students worked on a number of projects, ranging from helping registering participants at Saturday’s AIDS Walk to volunteering at the Mitchell Branch Library.
Day of Service turnout might have even been increased due to the points awarded, as nearly 100 students signed up, including over 50 freshmen, Dwight Hall Underclassmen At-Large Coordinator Matthew Coffin ’19 said.
“I was planning on doing service either way, but I think the fact that Freshman Olympics was on the same day was a nice way for us to get people to sign up and spread awareness about Day of Service,” Coffin said. “Giving people points toward residential colleges did help sign-ups and was a smart move.”
Attendance was also bolstered by volunteers from several communities on campus, such as the Afro-American Cultural Center and Asian American Culture Center — co-sponsors of the event along with Dwight Hall — and Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Alpha Phi, Kappa Kappa Gamma and ROTC, Troy said.
While the points system mobilized many freshmen, several participants said it was not the main draw for them.
“Dwight Hall is a huge part of Yale’s community and they do a lot of great work, so this is something I really wanted to be a part of,” Nafeesa Abuwala ’19 said. “The points are just an extra good thing.”
Dwight Hall holds three Days of Service each year.