Dwight Hall is an institution and community accustomed to transformation.…
Dwight Hall is an institution and community accustomed to transformation. This fall, we continue to celebrate our 135th anniversary and look back on all the positive change our people have worked to bring about: galvanizing the student body in the late 19th Century to lead lives of moral commitment, embracing a vision of world peace as a part of the 1930s Oxford Group, advocating for Civil Rights and anti-war activism in the 1960s, and supporting divestment from Apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s.
Dwight Hall also is an institution and community accustomed to recovery. Almost 75 years ago, in 1947, Dwight Hall participated in Yale’s transition back to in-person learning following the end of the Second World War. As we look ahead to the ’21-’22 academic year and begin with tentative steps to move toward a post-pandemic reality, we see two kinds of change ahead: the mercurial change and uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic and the steadfast and unrelenting striving for a better, more equitable, and peaceful future for all.
Before the Delta variant disrupted the Hall’s careful planning, we looked forward to a return to in-person service and the opportunity to reknit relationships with our campus and community, with our neighbors and community partners, and with each other—relationships that had been strained (but nevertheless survived) our long isolation. Now we once again need to draw on all of our resourcefulness and undaunted determination to adapt our work to shifting circumstances.
In an everchanging world, a place like Dwight Hall will always draw new members inspired by those before and around them who make service to each other and the common good among their highest priorities. The Hall nurtures leaders of social change and challenges them to respond with humility, deep reflection, and undiminished belief in the possibility of a just, peaceful, and flourishing future. This was as true 135 years ago as it is today.
The 1947 Yale Record described the academic year following World War II as a time, “if not of normality, at least of recovery; recovery of delayed ambitions, postponed goals, cherished traditions.” As we enter this present time of recovery, it is useful to reflect on the campus’s post-war transformation and to consider how we can collectively recover today. The ’21-’22 academic year–though not the anticipated return to normalcy–is an opportunity for students and community leaders, despite all public health restrictions and obstacles, to continue Dwight Hall’s legacy of social change.
Today, students gather together in the Hall and around campus to reflect on what the current moment calls us to do. Our community partners keep us informed of the urgent needs our neighbors face and the complex ways we collectively can address them. Thousands of Yale volunteers reconnect remotely with the classrooms, afterschool programs, and public health centers across the city. The efforts required of all of us in this community to look out for each other have never been greater and the Hall has never been more prepared to do so under such difficult circumstances.
Yours in Service,
Peter Crumlish ’09 M.A.R.