Founded by undergraduates in 1886 as the Young Men’s Christian Association at Yale, Dwight Hall at Yale has evolved into an independent, nonsectarian, non-profit umbrella organization with a strong history of social justice work in New Haven and beyond. As the Center for Public Service and Social Justice, Dwight Hall now reflects an inclusive and diverse Yale student body. It is the largest campus-based student-run service organization in the country.
Dwight Hall features over 85 student-run member groups that engage 3,500 students, or 2/3 of Yale’s undergraduates, each year in service and social justice activities. A student Executive Committee is elected by leaders from the member groups and works with a professional staff to support student programs, allocate resources and advance initiatives between the Yale and New Haven communities. Dwight Hall is overseen by a Board of Directors comprised of students, Yale faculty, alumni and community leaders.
Dwight Hall is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that has a yearly operating budget of $800,000 raised from the following sources:
- 31% program grants
- 26% annual donor contributions
- 22% endowment income
- 18% Yale program grants
- 3% Yale Club and Class Gifts
- Dwight Hall students contribute over 150,000 hours of direct service and advocacy each year.
- The efforts of these volunteers impact20,000 people in the State of Connecticut alone.
- Each $1 spent by Dwight Hall generates $6 worth of volunteer service and activism.
Dwight Hall Student Groups
Dwight Hall enables students to design, manage, evaluate and adapt programs that respond to a wide range of local, national and global needs,
• Best Buddies pairs volunteers with New Haven adults with mental disabilities to foster one-on-one friendships;
• Community Health Educators (CHE) works in middle and high schools teaching teens through workshops about relationship abuse,
alcohol and addiction, sexually transmitted infections and contraception;
• Elmseed Enterprise Fund extends low-interest microloans and technical assistance to local entrepreneurs;
• Instrumental Connection brings music instruction to children in New Haven who are unable to afford music lessons;
• Mathcounts Outreach fosters a positive attitude towards mathematics amongst New Haven middle school students through weekly coaching sessions and regular competitions;
• Reach Out: The Yale College Partnership for International Service mobilizes students to address poverty, environmental degradation and human rights abuses through summer and spring break trips to developing countries;
• WYSE (Women and Youth Supporting Each Other) mentors 8th grade girls and equips them with resources and support to make healthy personal decisions and become community leaders;
• YHHAP (Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project) promotes advocacy and service programs to aid the hungry and homeless. Students work to alleviate the roots causes of poverty;
• YSEC (Yale Student Environmental Coalition) participates in national and campus wide environmental campaigns, organizes work days for habitat restoration and educates the Yale and New Haven communities about environmental issues.
Dwight Hall sponsors seven intensive student leadership programs to provide an in-depth community experience for students. Professional advisors and guest lecturers conduct seminars in each program to enhance the educational experience and develop the skills of student leaders.
Summer Fellowship Program
Founded in 1968 to develop responses to emerging needs, the Summer Fellows have launched many acclaimed New Haven organizations such as the New Haven Halfway House, Marrakech, Inc., Columbus House and the Haven Free Clinic.
Urban Fellows Program
Fellows work with New Haven community agencies to counter challenges through economic development, community building and neighborhood empowerment.
Public School Internship Program
Interns serve as liaisons between the Yale community and an assigned New Haven public school to ensure that the needs of each school are being met and that volunteers are being used effectively.
Management Fellows Program
Fellows perform hands-on work with Dwight Hall Student Executive Committee, Staff and Board to advance strategic initiatives of the organization.
Early Childhood Education Fellows Program
Fellows are placed at quality daycare settings that serve low-income children and learn about issues of early childhood development and policy
Dwight Hall Academic Mentoring Program at Yale
This program pairs 15 Yale mentors with 30 middle-schoolers from Wexler/Grant Community School for a three-year mentoring relationship.
Municipal Policy Assistant Program
Policy assistants serve as research aides to legislative committees on New Haven’s Board of Aldermen to provide students with a unique understanding of the municipal legislative process.
Dwight Hall at Yale promotes a culture of action and reflection that encourages student leaders to share best practices, learn from successful leaders and collaborate on solving societal challenges. The Education Network, Social Justice Network and the Yale Public Health Coalition connect Dwight Hall groups with community-based organizations for innovative and inclusive programming.
Dwight Hall has recently expanded its outreach to include alumni and students from the graduate and professional schools at the University and through Yale Clubs. A more extensive and intergenerational community will enhance the experience of undergraduates while furthering social change through increased volunteerism and activism.
Contact information, including directions to Dwight Hall may be found here.