Eric Wang

The Yale College Council and Dwight Hall have recently partnered to form the New Haven Interns Program, a program dedicated to connecting Yale students to the Elm City.

A culmination of Dwight Hall’s long-standing effort to get students involved in the community, the New Haven Interns Program will match 11 undergraduates with niche skills to internship programs at Elm City businesses. The pilot program will also grant the 11 students a $250 stipend and will have one program coordinator — who will also receive the stipend and is responsible for meeting with the interns to troubleshoot and reflect. According to Serena Ly ’20, one of the Dwight Hall coordinators, each intern will be required to complete at least six hours of service a week for a total of seven weeks throughout the semester. The program will run from Feb. 25 to April 26.

“We formed this partnership, which will hopefully continue for years to come, to identify ways we can create responsible and responsive student programming to support our community partners while leveraging the abundance of resources we have at Yale,” Ly said.

Kahlil Greene ’21, one of the founders of the program, said that the New Haven Interns Program is distinct from pre-existing initiatives. He noted that Urban Fellows — another group that matches Yale students with New Haven businesses — and other programs are more geared towards the student’s experience as opposed to the needs of the community.

Greene noted that Yale students often have skewed opinions of what an internship is. He said he hopes that this program will help redefine what an internship means and that Yale students will see that working at a non-profit or a local startup is just as rewarding as working on Wall Street.

“When people go to Columbia or NYU, they graduate and are proud to wear the New York hat. That doesn’t really happen with New Haven,” said Sammy Landino ’21, one of the program coordinators and a staff columnist for the News. “A goal of these two projects is to get Yale students to feel more connected to the community they’re living in.”

Saloni Rao ’20, the president of the YCC, said that while the YCC has not traditionally focused on Yale–New Haven relations, she and Heidi Dong ’20, the vice-president of the YCC, wanted to build the relationship in a sustainable way.

Funding for the program will come out of YCC internal funding, which is traditionally used for YCC social events, Rao said, adding that external funding is used for Yale College-wide events. She also noted that she and Heidi wanted to reallocate the internal funds this year and use it towards improving the relationship between the college and its community.

Rao believes that the demand for this program will surpass the 11 students it can accommodate and that one day the program will be able to accommodate all of its demand.

Greene also stated that the program currently partners with a lot of businesses that Dwight Hall has partnered with in the past. He hopes that the program can eventually partner with organizations that are not currently benefiting from Yale’s help.

“I hope the program will empower students to contribute to efforts to improve the New Haven community but also help them understand the need to learn what it means to be a member of a community,” Ly said.

The new program is looking for students who show a demonstrated interest and commitment in serving the Yale and New Haven community, Rao stated. At the end of the day, students need to take it upon themselves to make this partnership into the most they can, she added.

Applications for the New Haven Interns Program will be due on Feb. 22. Students will hear back by Feb. 23.

Kelly Wei | kelly.wei@yale.edu