Dwight Hall’s Student Executive Committee Hosts Night Market and Panel for Hundreds of Admitted Students at Bulldog Days 2024

On April 15th and 16th, 2024, Dwight Hall’s Student Executive Committee (ExComm) organized a Night Market and panel discussion as a part of Yale’s official Bulldog Days programming. Bulldog Days is an annual opportunity for students who have been admitted to Yale to visit campus, attend classes, and explore the extracurricular and academic programs that Yale has to offer. 

The programming organized by Dwight Hall’s ExComm exemplifies the Engage pillar of Dwight Hall’s Engage, Grow, and Advance program delivery model, illustrating for prospective students how undergraduates forge trusted partnerships with New Haven neighborhoods, organizations, and agencies through community-engaged service.

On April 15th, ExComm hosted a Night Market that featured Dwight Hall programs such as FOCUS on New Haven and the Yale Prison Education Initiative (YPEI) and student-led member groups like Camp Kesem and Yale Votes. Student representatives highlighted the work of their respective organizations and connected with prospective members of the Class of 2028 interested in service. 

The following day, Dwight Hall organized a panel for admitted students in Battell Chapel. According to a statement from the admissions office, the panel was meant to “give pre-frosh a sense of what opportunities exist for service, social justice, and civic engagement both on campus and in New Haven and further afield.” The panel consisted of Dwight Hall Director of Community Outreach and Engagement Johnny Scafidi ’01, Doreen Abubakar, the Founder and Executive Director of the Community Placemaking Engagement Network, and three students: Jacob Mansfield ’25 from New Haven Urban Debate League, a Dwight Hall member group; Christian Baca ’26 from FOCUS on New Haven; and Bintou Leigh ’27, New Membership Coordinator on Dwight Hall’s 2024 ExComm.

Vy Nguyen ’27, one of the organizers of the Night Market and Communications Coordinator on the 2024 ExComm, expressed both satisfaction with the event and hope that it got students excited about service. “The Night Market’s main goal was to efficiently engage pre-frosh with Dwight Hall member groups in a warm, relaxed environment. The reality is, if you’re at Yale, the hope is that you’ve volunteered to some extent in your academic career. We wanted the Night Market to mark a fresh start to students’ community service journeys and also show the possibilities of service work, beyond what goes on a college application.” 

Melanie Nguyen ’25, who represented Camp Kesem at the market, also expressed excitement at the connections that could be made at the event. “I really like that the people who come here are interested in service, meaning they are the type of students who might be interested in Kesem. The larger extracurricular bazaar during Bulldog Days is kind of big and crowded and overwhelming, but here people are open to talking to you.”

More than 400 prospective students attended the event to engage with current undergraduates, and many found organizations that either connected with their interests in high school or that introduced them to new and exciting modes of service. David Dickson, an admitted student, shared the positive experience he had with many of the organizations and programs at the market, including YPEI. “One stand I really liked was the Yale Prison Education Initiative,” David said. “I’m really interested in educational equity and I think it is a really cool mission to help students who are incarcerated achieve a degree… [YPEI] talks about another dimension of how educational equity can be advanced. I think all the posters and stands at the Night Market did a good job of exploring things that we might be familiar with at a deeper level.”

Overall, Bulldog Days 2024 offered a great opportunity for thousands of admitted students who participated to learn more about Dwight Hall and its offerings and for student organizations to begin outreach to new Yalies before they arrive in the fall. 

Watch an Instagram Reel of the Night Market here!

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