Giving Back: Family Support Fellows and Community Response Fellows at Dwight Hall

This fall, Dwight Hall launched two NEW fellowships for students: Family Support and Community Response Fellows! 

Over the course of an academic year, Dwight Hall administers a number of fellowships that are designed for Yale students to have intensive experiences learning from community partners and peers.

The Community Response Fellows: This program was 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. Five Community Response Fellows will continue their work with community partners and address pressing societal needs, such as responding to COVID-19 or creating an anti-racist society. This program helps sustain students who are active within the social sector and the communities they serve by providing modest financial support, a cohort of peers, and professional platforms for reflection, communication, and personal development.

Family Support Fellows: This program was conceived from our desire to support Yale students who are caring for their needs of younger siblings during COVID-19, and after talking with students grew to support students caring for any unique family need during this challenging time. Thirty-four Family Support Fellows, who are balancing academics with unique family needs, received funding from Dwight Hall this academic year. This fellowship creates a community of peers for students who have chosen to stay home and serve their own family over having a resident college experience during the global pandemic. Dwight Hall wants Yale students who may be at home as a caregiver or helper to know they are not invisible. 

Director of Programming and Evaluation Mark Fopeano, shares, “This program really came about after conversations with students – we learned that a lot of students have  many responsibilities beyond academics and that no student is the same. I’m really thankful that Dwight Hall can offer support so quickly, and both of these programs really show how Dwight Hall occupies a unique space on campus.”

Dwight Hall recognized that many students have chosen to stay home this semester, sometimes to support the unique situation of their family.  The COVID-19 pandemic has affected students in ways that require support, and we want our students and families affected by the pandemic to know that they are not alone.

About the Author

Lydia Burleson

Lydia Burleson served as the Communications and Alumni Engagement Associate for Dwight Hall at Yale, Center for Public Service and Social Justice from June 2021-June 2022. A first-generation low-income student from rural Texas, Lydia graduated from Yale cum laude in 2021 with a degree in English and a nonfiction creative writing concentration. During her college years, Lydia increased awareness of marginalized voices with the public writing she did for The Yale Daily News and the Yale Admissions office. Her Dwight Hall experiences included free college advising with student-led member groups REACH and Matriculate. Dwight Hall empowered Lydia to uplift other disadvantaged students and to increase access to education for people who might not have otherwise received these resources. She is currently completing an English PhD at Stanford University with a Knight-Hennessy Fellowship.