Dwight Hall Launches the Spring 2023 Service Series

In January 2023, Dwight Hall launched the Spring 2023 Service Series, a calendar of meaningful service events that are readily accessible to students. Every week, Dwight Hall and a community partner will offer a service opportunity that addresses a community partner’s needs. 

Many Dwight Hall students expressed a need for additional support as they returned to in-person engagement in the 2022-23 academic year. Coinciding with the Hall’s strategic objective to facilitate service opportunities for all students, it launched the Spring 2023 Service Series with several goals in mind. 

First, it wanted to ensure that students experience Dwight Hall as a resource for knowledge and as a community of support for their engagement. Second, it strove to curate opportunities that encourage deeper exploration of the New Haven community and inspire continued action for social change. Third, it sought an opportunity to strengthen relationships with valued community partners and address unmet community needs.

The initiative allows for flexible commitments from volunteers without compromising impact. For example, Dwight Hall is hosting a recurring service day at Sunrise Cafe, a free breakfast program for those experiencing homelessness or hunger in our community. Sunrise Cafe is built on the values of respect and dignity, which yield trust and mutual respect between volunteers and guests. Guests are greeted warmly and seated at tables by volunteers, who then take their orders from a varied and nutritious menu of offerings.

Volunteer Coordinator Danielys Batista ’25 meets students in front of Dwight Hall at 6:00 am every Wednesday and accompanies them to Sunrise Cafe’s home at St. James and St. Paul Church in Wooster Square. The group returns to campus by 9:00 am after serving nearly one hundred and seventy-five guests.  

“Sunrise Cafe is a place for community members to experience lively tunes, high-spirited conversation, and enthusiastic piano-playing and dancing,” reflected Danielys. “I am grateful that Dwight Hall has created a bridge between the curious student body at Yale and such a special piece of New Haven, particularly as volunteers are highly valued at the Cafe. Every Wednesday morning, regardless of whether they are a first-year undergraduate or an exchange student from Singapore, Yale students come together with community leaders to deliver compassion in the form of a hot meal.”

The volunteer pool for the Series includes a mix of undergraduates, graduate and professional school students, exchange students, and research fellows who can instantly build community with each other through a shared experience. Opportunities range from staffing the first Northeast Disability and Agriculture Conference with Healing by Growing Farms, supporting neighborhood cleanups with Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven, and equitably distributing basic necessities through the Connecticut Diaper Bank.

To view the full calendar of events for the Spring 2023 Service Series, visit the initiative’s landing page

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