Dwight Hall has added a new car to its fleet of six, and it is offering a current Yale student or recent alumnus the chance to name it.
The “Car Pool with Dwight Hall” contest, which runs April 13 through April 29, offers eligible participants a chance to enter a raffle and win naming rights to the new Honda Civic hybrid. This contest, the first of its kind at Dwight Hall, aims to raise money for its Campus and Community Fund, which can be accessed by its more than 90 member groups. The fundraiser is also an effort to increase the role of the development coordinator of Dwight Hall beyond basic outreach and to get member groups involved in publicity.
“I’m extremely excited,” Dwight Hall co-coordinator Briana Burroughs ’17 said. “Our executive committee is trying to do a lot of development pushes, and it’s really important for us because we want students who are on the executive committee to get real world experience … This is just the first step for so many other students on the committee to do things for this organization that will impact it 10 years down the road.”
Dwight Hall board members purchased the new used car at the beginning of the semester, and decided to let students have input, Burroughs said. She added that every car in the fleet has a name, but the names have mostly been chosen as jokes based on the type of car — the first hybrid car in the fleet, for example, was named Lorax.
A tax-deductible contribution of $10 gets each participant one entry into the naming contest. Participants can donate $25, $50 and $100 for three, seven and 16 entries, respectively. This money does not reimburse Dwight Hall for the cost of the car, but rather is added to Dwight Hall’s funds for member groups. The organization has $30,000 a year to give its member groups through an application process. The $30,000 also funds the expansion of initiatives such as Freshmen-In-Service and the new Outreach Program. Several Dwight Hall volunteers noted that funds were thinly distributed last semester due to an unusually high demand for funding.
“Last semester there were so many requests, we had trouble giving everyone the funding they wanted,” Dwight Hall Development Assistant Coordinator Matthew Coffin ’19 said. “Only 15 percent of our money comes from Yale, because Dwight Hall is an independent nonprofit, so the rest of the money comes from our endowment and external sources.”
The monetary goal for the fundraiser is $2,500, about half of which had been raised by the end of the first week, Burroughs said. She added that Dwight Hall’s goal beyond fundraising is to better integrate member groups into fundraising and development. Representatives from member groups helped bring the new car to Cross Campus for a photo campaign on Friday, and individuals affiliated with Dwight Hall are changing their Facebook profile pictures to publicize the contest.
As an extra incentive, if a member group sells 10 tickets, they are exempt from next semester’s Phone-A-Thon, Coffin said. Phone-banking and letter-writing are the main ways in which member groups assist with development, but their reach could be expanded, he added. Duane Bean ’17, co-director of Camp Kesem, said his organization helped advertise the Car Pool with Dwight Hall fundraiser especially through social media, and he is excited to continue partnering with Dwight Hall.
“As a member group, the prospect of more money or more support is pretty amazing to me,” Bean said. “And having another car is so incredible. We have to frequently use the cars to travel to our campsite, to our storage unit, to visit our donors or to pick up auction or fundraiser items, so I’m really excited for that as well. We definitely couldn’t do it without Dwight Hall cars — Uber would be so expensive.”
The contest had received about 80 entries by Wednesday, according to Dwight Hall Development Coordinator Jessenia Khalyat ’17. She added that she is excited to see Dwight Hall engaging more with the student body and raising awareness about the organizations’ contributions and resources.
The winner of the raffle will be announced at the awards ceremony for the Dwight Hall Board of Directors this Friday. There are no guidelines for names, as long as they are not “aggressively inappropriate,” Burroughs said. Students can name the car after themselves, their friends, their organization or even inside jokes. Bean said Camp Kesem wants the car to be named “Razzle-Dazzle,” after one of their popular camp songs.
“I think it’s a really good opportunity to name something and leave a legacy at Yale,” Coffin said. “A lot of people are worried about being remembered after graduation at this huge institution with so many names, but this is the kind of thing where the car is going to be on campus for 10, 15 years, so if you name it that’s something that will outlast your time here.”