Dwight Hall Mission
“To nurture and inspire students as leaders of social change and to advance justice and service in New Haven and around the world.”
– January 2015
How Does Dwight Hall Fulfill its Mission?
I. Dwight Hall provides opportunities for service and activism.
3,500 students – 2/3 of the Yale College student population – contribute 150,000 hours of service and activism each year. Dwight Hall organizes multiple Days of Service throughout the year, supports 60+ student-run member organizations in 4 Networks (Education, International, Public Health, Social Justice), offers 5 Fellowship programs, and coordinates initiatives such as Socially Responsible Investing, Community Based Learning, and the Freshman-in-Service program.
II. Dwight Hall supports the civic leadership development of its students.
Dwight Hall sponsors workshops with leaders in the non-profit sector and conducts trainings led by subject-area experts for its students. The Dwight Hall staff team coaches and mentors student leaders to help them achieve goals related to their groups’ objectives and their personal and professional development.
Eric Liu ’90, founder and CEO of Citizen University and Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program, served as the Jane and William E. Curran Distinguished Mentor from April 8-9, 2015.
III. Dwight Hall enables experimentation and collaboration as a Social Innovation Laboratory.
Dwight Hall convenes students in a collaborative environment that serves as a forum for exploring ideas. It provides tools and resources to implement a solution, connects students with alumni for guidance and expertise, and provides a safe space for taking risks while acting responsibly. While these components have been elements of Dwight Hall’s approach for several years, Dwight Hall seeks to increase opportunities for collaborative innovation with substantial resources beyond the current level of support that it can offer.
The Dwight Hall Socially Responsible Investment Fund is one existing initiative that serves as a model for the Social Innovation Laboratory. A committee of 20 Yale College students manages the $85,000 Fund with guidance from the Dwight Hall at Yale Board of Directors and Trustees.
The committee aims to educate students at Yale and beyond about the potential of ethical investing to shift corporate behavior. It seeks to fulfill its goals through a market-driven portfolio that makes investments in community development, socially responsible mutual funds, REITs, and ETFs, while also organizing conferences on emerging practices and trends in the SRI industry and conducting financial literacy workshops for New Haven high school students. The group is currently developing a shareholder advocacy project through direct stock investment.
Core Values and Beliefs
Commitment to the Common Good – We believe in the importance of using one’s resources and skills in striving together for a just society.
Compassion – We are committed to meeting the needs of our community, the world, and one another in a manner that is fair, preserves dignity, and respects our shared humanity.
Diversity – We call forth and honor the diverse and equally-valued perspectives of all our constituencies.
Growth and Learning – We believe in the transformative power of service, social justice, and social action for all who engage in them. We have a responsibility to create a safe space for innovation, dialogue, experimentation, self-evaluation, and authenticity as we join in real-world service and action.
Partnership – We nurture a spirit of collaboration among students, staff, volunteers, and the rest of the Yale and New Haven communities, while maintaining our historic independence, to create the greatest impact for those we serve.
Reflection – We recognize that action must be informed by and balanced with deep reflection from experience in order for growth and profound learning to take place.
Students at the Core – We are committed to the full engagement of students in informed leadership and decision-making as a growth and learning experience.
About Dwight Hall at Yale
Dwight Hall is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization independent of Yale, which was founded by undergraduates in 1886 and has operated continuously since then as a student-led entity. As the Center for Public Service and Social Justice, Dwight Hall reflects a diverse Yale student body and a strong history of social justice work in New Haven and beyond.
Dwight Hall recognizes that long-term solutions to the world’s problems come from focusing on developing passionate innovative leaders. Dwight Hall exists as a place to cultivate student leaders invested in ethical productivity, creativity, communication, and collaboration. Dwight Hall 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.
Dwight Hall is comprised of four networks that support our student-led programs. The Networks promote community-based learning, innovative programming, best practices, and collaborative communication. These networks are categorized as Education, Social Justice, International, and Public Health and together contain over 90 student-lead programs that engage 3,500 students each year in service and social justice activities. Dwight Hall students contribute more than 150,000 hours of direct service and advocacy each year. Each $1 spent by Dwight Hall generates $3.72 worth of volunteer service and activism. (http://www.independentsector.org)
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