Adrian Kulesza

Following a successful year moving into its new building and celebrating the 50th anniversary of its summer fellows program, Dwight Hall is poised to begin the academic year with new opportunities to increase student participation and host more low-commitment events.

Last year, staff members noticed most volunteers tended to be deeply involved with Dwight Hall while only a few came once in a while. This year, Dwight Hall will host more days of service, public events, speakers, conversations, discussions, screenings, trainings and workshops to provide students with more “one-off” opportunities that can later serve as a gateway into deeper involvement. A calendar detaling all the events will be released ahead of time in order to facilitate easier access to and increased knowledge of events.

“Our mission is to nurture, inspire students as leaders of social change and to advance service and justice in New Haven and aboard,” Executive Director Peter Crumlish said. “We want to have more students who are nurtured and inspired, engaged in their work in New Haven, and to grow and develop as civic minded leaders.”

For the first time, these opportunities will not be limited to undergraduates but will extend to students in the graduate and professional schools. Dwight Hall will partner with specific schools such as the School of Public Health, the School of Forestry and the School of Management to create school-specific Days of Service that cater to those students.

The Yale Prison Education Initiative, a Dwight Hall-affiliated group, also partners with various programs, departments and schools across campus to offer Yale Summer Session courses to incarcerated students. The group also brings a range of faculty from campus for a series of guest seminars.

“We’ve had a really wide range of faculty from all over campus — from History of Art; Classics; East Asian Languages and Literature; Ethnicity, Race, and Migration; English; German; American Studies and more,” said the Director of Yale Prison Education Initiative, Zelda Roland ’08 GRD ’16. “Being able to bring in all these different guests is a way to expose our students to a range of disciplines and offerings that students can pursue on campus at Yale.”

YPEI is also planning on having an event in partnership with the Bard Prison Initiative to highlight a forthcoming documentary about its work in New York state prisons.

Dwight Hall will also be introducing a new volunteer core open to undergraduate, graduate and professional students so students can opt to participate in a group that volunteers for single events. If a Dwight Hall organization needs three extra volunteers for their event, these volunteer core members would be called to participate.

Marquita Taylor, assistant director for innovation and leadership development, will also be leading a “leadership development suite of offerings which will enrich students outside of their academic courses.” The group will work with government and neighboring officials to provide leadership development opportunities for students.

Additionally, Taylor will run several alternative break trips for all Yale students as an immersion experience emphasizing leadership, reflection, public service, social justice and faith. Leadership retreats will occur periodically throughout the year for all affiliated student leaders.

“Something we value here is our reflective piece,” Taylor told the News. “Your service shouldn’t just be a random experience. We really want students to be reflecting on their work. Though you only volunteered for half a day, what was that experience like for you.”

Crumlish echoed the same sentiment. He added that Dwight Hall serves as a good outlet that allows students on campus to see social change as a collective effort.

Dwight Hall will host its fall bazaar on Sept. 3 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Kelly Wei | kelly.wei@yale.edu