Student Executive Committee Acts Boldly in Response to the Pandemic

Led by Co-Coordinators Daud Shad ’21 and Sasha Thomas ’22, the team includes Max Ackerman ’21, Savannah Crichton ’21, Cam Do ’21, Jose Garcia ’22, Mauricio Gonzalez-Sanchez ’22, Hannah Kiburz ’22, Lauren Lautermilch ’22, Wei Li ’22, Akhil Rajan ’21, Noa Rosinplotz ’22, Naomi Shimberg ’22, Nicholas Sulich ’22, Shawn Thacker ’22, and Xiao Zheng ’22. From homes in Mississippi, Texas, Iowa, Colorado, and beyond, students have adjusted Dwight Hall programming, allocated resources, and facilitated remote service opportunities.

ExComm 2020 Zoom MeetingThe Student Executive Committee (ExComm) supported the university’s most vulnerable students by endorsing “universal pass” as Yale moved to online classes for the remainder of the spring term. Through the Dwight Hall Advocacy Network, ExComm helped ensure administrators recognized equity issues when grading undergraduates who may have challenging home lives, lack reliable internet access, or live in distant time zones.

ExComm encouraged the Yale administration to extend care and compassion to all neighbors through additional university responses to the pandemic, and co-signed petitions to protect individuals in Connecticut prisons and jails and to safeguard Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons. The Dwight Hall Peace Initiative co-sponsored the Fast4Yemen campaign, raising funds for urgent relief and drawing attention to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Volunteer Corps thumbnailVirtual Day of Service poster thumbnailVolunteer Corps was launched by ExComm to serve as a hub for volunteer and advocacy efforts in response to the pandemic. Its Facebook group regularly shares opportunities with over 400 Yalies. In mid-April, ExComm hosted a Virtual Day of Service with nearly 60 volunteers that collaborated on projects with six different community partners, including Junta for Progressive Action and United Way of Greater New Haven. This event maintained the tradition of Dwight Hall’s annual spring Day of Service by building relationships between students and community members.

ExComm’s membership team checked in with more than 80 student-led member groups, ensuring that organizations continuing service are supported with funding and apprised of guidelines. New member groups were recently voted in, so that additional student efforts have access to Dwight Hall resources. Through a Bulldog Days video, ExComm exposed incoming first-year students in the class of 2024 to the diverse service, leadership development, and social change opportunities available at Dwight Hall.

To help meet the educational needs of New Haven students, the Student Executive Committee initiated “Operation Chromebooks,” which aims to place thousands of remote learning tools in the homes of third through eighth grade New Haven Public School students. Thus far, ExComm has supplied 106 Chromebooks by contributing its remaining $12,000 budget through the Yale Community Fund for New Haven. To close the divide between students who can learn from home and those who cannot during the coronavirus pandemic, please visit: TheGreatGive.

This special group is achieving remarkable results for Yale students, New Haveners, and people in need globally. As Co-Coordinator Daud Shad ’21 encapsulated, “Although dispersed across the country, the members of ExComm are staying connected and working hard to maintain the spirit of Dwight Hall.” The Student Executive Committee’s quick actions illustrate how a coordinated response to societal needs in a time of crisis defines true civic engagement.

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