Ten Insights from Dr. Elizabeth Alexander’s Distinguished Mentor Conversation
On October 7th, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation President and former Yale English and African American Studies professor Dr. Elizabeth Alexander ’84 visited Dwight Hall and Yale’s campus, speaking on the evolution of institutions in response to shifting social justice contexts. Here are ten of Dr. Alexander’s tokens of wisdom to take with you.
Share your talents, whatever they may be and to whatever extent you can, with the community…. It will feed your soul. It can also exhaust you.
Move and think in the world always remembering that we are connected to each other as human beings.
“Life was something to belong to.”
Exist in spaces in ways that don’t dichotomize the here and there. Recognize that we are all here.
“You don’t have to leave campus to find your politics.”
Use your studies to have a clear sense of why we read what we read and study what we study to understand the here and now.
Evolve institutions from within by prioritizing innovative initiatives that have a focused lens to solve a social justice-oriented problem.
Love what you do deeply.
“You will learn a great deal of how to move in the world and move in the institution, if you also have a life outside of it.”
Have faith in the things you’re saying yes to.
Dwight Hall students extend their gratitude to Dr. Alexander for sharing her wisdom and look forward to weaving these essential learnings into their academic and public service pursuits.
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.