For over 100 years, Dwight Hall has served both the Yale and New Haven communities with various volunteering programs. This past Tuesday they hosted their annual service bazaar which showcased various groups in the organization, with over 148 students in attendance.
This year the bazaar featured 54 of Dwight Hall’s groups, community partners and Dwight Hall Institutional Programs. Some groups who were present included the Yale Hunger Homelessness and Action Project, the Bridges English Second Language and the Dwight Hall Socially Responsible Investment Fund.
“We’re in the process of developing new programs and initiatives and are very excited to release them in the coming year,” said Serena Ly ’20, one of the Dwight Hall coordinators. “Some of our goals this year are to continue making our space more accessible for our New Haven neighbors and friends.”
The bazaar was a success for the groups represented. YHHAP noted that they had more people signing up this year compared to last.
This year, YHHAP is working on expanding into public health and other areas that students are interested in, said Nishanth Krishnan ’20, a YHHAP coordinator.
“We are a direct service organization, so a lot of students work week to week on projects,” Krishnan said. “We are also looking to address housing insecurity and food insecurity in New Haven through bigger picture change that comes from student advocacy from the local level and beyond.”
DHSRI, the first student-run socially responsible investment fund in the country, also had success at the event. The group manages over $160,000 of Dwight Hall’s endowment.
“At the Dwight Hall service bazaar, we were able to share our dualistic mission with students who visited the booth and really drive home the point that investing can be used as a vehicle for social good,” said Karen Jiang ’21, a student leader of DHSRI.
Dwight Hall is continuing last year’s goal of developing a better outreach system to current and potential community partners to strengthen their relationships.
This year, Dwight Hall will also offer a stipend to eligible students who otherwise may be unable to volunteer due to financial constraints.
“For students who were not able to participate in Urban Fellows, we wanted to make sure that there were still opportunities for them to get involved in the community and learn from the expertise of our community partners,” Ly said. “The product of this envisioning was New Haven Interns, which successfully underwent its pilot semester.”
The New Haven Interns Program matched 11 undergraduates with niche skills to internship programs at Elm City businesses and provided each with a stipend of $250.
Dwight Hall also launched the Advocacy Network last year to mobilize Yale students to support one another in their endeavors in public service as well as to better support the work of community organizers.
This semester, Dwight Hall is launching the Dwight Hall Peace Initiative. They are currently in the process of developing a new model for identifying and meeting the needs of their member groups.
“Through this programming and the efforts of the Advocacy Network, we envision Dwight Hall serving as a space for both community members and Yale students to come together to find actionable solutions to issues around the community,” Ly said. “With this in mind, we have been working on a program called Volunteer Corps since last semester and hope to have it fully developed and launched by the end of the year.”
Dwight Hall could not elaborate on the Corps program since it is still in development.
This year marks Dwight Hall’s 133rd year in service.
Kelly Wei | firstname.lastname@example.org .