Community Response Fellows – Application Guidance

Guidance for Applicants


Dwight Hall at Yale administers several academic-year opportunities, such as the Dwight Hall Urban Fellows, New Haven Interns, Public School Interns, and Community Mental Health Fellows.  These programs are designed for Yale undergraduates to have intensive experiences learning from New Haven community partners.

This program is designed to support students who are already active within the social sector and the communities they serve by providing a financial incentive, a cohort of peers, and professional platforms for reflection, communication, and personal development. After a successful pilot year in the 2020-2021 academic year, Dwight Hall is continuing the program for a third year.

Students will submit an application detailing a semester-long activity designed in collaboration with a community partner. Funding is limited and selection follows the criteria and preferences listed below.

Expectations and Compensation

Dwight Hall expects:

  • Activities to last one semester, but may be renewable for the spring at Dwight Hall’s discretion.
  • Activities to average 6-8 hours per week.
  • Activities to follow the most recently updated COVID safety guidelines of your community partner, Dwight Hall at Yale, and Yale University.
  • Activities to be either in New Haven or your home community.
  • A written weekly reflection over the course of the semester.
  • A weekly check-in with peers.
  • Collaboration with the communications and/or fundraising activities of Dwight Hall.

Dwight Hall will offer:

  • A Service Award of $300.00 per semester for students that do not receive Financial Aid.
  • A Service Award of $16.25 per hour for students that receive Financial Aid.
  • Platforms for reflection and community-building.
  • Communication channels between students and supervisors.
  • Professional development and networking opportunities.

Acceptable Activities

Community Response Fellows may request funding to support a project, informal internship, or formal internship. Activities will be accomplished within the course of a semester, and must be fully supported by a supervisor/mentor. Further definition and examples:  

  • Project – Planned and designed to achieve a particular aim, projects build the capacity of an organization to fulfill its mission. Projects have a clear, demonstrative end.  Example: developing and testing the social media strategy of a partner organization.
  • Custom-Designed Internship – Many students develop relationships with host organizations after volunteering for a period of time, but leave the volunteer opportunity to work elsewhere or because other funding has run out. An informal internship will build off of previous experience and relationships. Example: working with the programming department of a host organization.
  • Formal Internship – Covering a specific period of time, formal internships are professional experiences designed and guided by the host organization that typically require an application. A formal internship is rare to find for one semester during an academic year.  Example: “Fall 2021  Communications Intern” with a partner organization. 


There will be one formal deadline and, depending on interest, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the fall semester.


The application is comprised of several short answer (150-200 word) and some long answer (500 word) questions. Applicants will be asked to share information about themselves, the activity they hope to take on, and the nature of their relationship with their guiding community partner.

Before completing the form, students should consider their answers to these questions:

  • Please briefly describe why you picked your major. (150-200 words)
  • What are your (tentative) career goals? (150-200 words)
  • Please provide a brief description of your activity. (150-200 words)
  • Contact information on your sponsoring agency and mentor, including a date that you expect a support letter to be provided.
  • Briefly describe your relationship with your sponsoring agency and how you will work with your supervisor/mentor. (100-150 words)
  • Describe your motivations for pursuing this activity and its anticipated impact on the community. (500 word limit)
  • Please provide us with a breakdown of milestones and/or aims for this activity. How will you be able to measure whether it was successful? (500 word limit)
  • Please describe how this activity will impact your academic and/or professional career. (150-200 words)

Upon submission, a copy of your responses will be sent to your email address and to staff at Dwight Hall at Yale.  Your supervisor/mentor will also be notified that an application has been submitted.

Visit the ’23-’24 application page here.

Letter of Support

The application may be submitted without a Letter of Support, but a funding decision cannot be made until a Letter of Support has been submitted. This person will serve as a supervisor and mentor for the duration of your experience.

Please see this link for a preferred Letter of Support format.


Each applicant is screened to ensure that the student and activity meet basic eligibility requirement. Then the application is blindly reviewed by a committee of Dwight Hall professional staff, students, and other stakeholders with these evaluative questions:

  1. Does this student show a commitment to social change?
  2. Is the proposed activity feasible? Will it be able to be completed remotely?
  3. Does this activity value the knowledge and guidance of community experts?  Does the applicant have an adequate support letter?
  4. Does this activity have a meaningful impact on the student’s academic and professional aspirations?

This program will additionally consider whether students are supporting New Haven and/or the students’ home communities.

Furthermore, there may be consideration for whether this proposal works to benefit pressing societal needs, namely a response to COVID-19 and/or creating an anti-racist society.

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