Dear Class of 2026,

This week, we would like to introduce to you Dean Howard, one of the Senior Associate Deans of Yale College. While his roles on campus are many, one of his main areas of focus is civic engagement
by helping students think about how to participate in their new community. New Haven is the traditional lands including Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghtic Hill Paugussett, Niantic, and the Quinnipiac and other Algonquian speaking peoples. It is full of history, exceptional food, creativity, and kindness. We are excited for your arrival as you begin to explore Yale and New Haven!


Dean Peck and Dean Hawthorne

Hannah Rose Peck
Dean of First-Year Affairs
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs
Yale College Dean's Office

Tasha M. Hawthorne, PhD
Interim Assistant Dean of Student Affairs
Yale College Dean's Office



Hello, new students,

We hope that your summers are off to a positive start and that you are getting excited for term ahead. My name is Burgwell Howard and I am one of the Senior Associate Deans here in the Deans Office, who is focused on student engagement. During your time at Yale you will find that we are a ‘community of communities’ – a place where students are engaged in their scholarship, their residential communities, clubs and activities and with students, faculty and staff from a university. The Yale community exists within and among the multi-ethnic, multi-faceted communities that make up the City of New Haven, and we hope that during your time here, you will throw yourself into the richness of both Yale and New Haven. As you explore campus and the city, we encourage you to take advantage of the arts, the culture, the food (yes, including the famous pizza!) and the spaces that make up our city and region. It is the expectation that students will learn from and add to the richness of these communities.  

A first avenue for many is engagement with the many groups and organizations affiliated with Dwight Hall at Yale | Center for Public Service and Social Justice or through one of the scores of student organizations available on Yale Connect who work with youth, elderly and civic and cultural groups on campus and within the city. Exploring these groups is a positive step toward our goal of having students be engaged citizens and develop a sense of belonging.  

Another major avenue for those who are eligible, is to register to vote and vote whether absentee or in person. This is a critical civic responsibility for all citizens, particularly for young people so their voices are heard and opinions represented. If you have not yet registered (or even if you have) we encourage you to take a few moments to check out the Yale Votes website – as we make it easy for you to get information about voting here in Connecticut or in your home state or territory. Then we hope that you will register before you arrive on campus – whether here in Connecticut or in your home area, using our TurboVote platform so that you can stay up to date with local municipal federal elections that will occur during your time at Yale, including those here in our host city where you will be living for nine months of the year.  

As you are likely aware, there has been a great deal of discussion about voting rights and accountability over the past year, and we see your engagement in this process as critical to being an inform and engaged citizen here at Yale, in New Haven, or in your home community or country. For who are not eligible to vote in the U.S., there are still ample opportunities to learn more and with community groups who can benefit from your engagement.  

On our campus, Yale Votes is the foremost organization dedicated to student voting and the one responsible for making voting easy and accessible to Yalies. They’ve built a pledge-to-engage ( which allows you to communicate your voting preferences, be reminded of your specific voting deadlines and never miss an upcoming election. The form is not a commitment of any kind. The form will also allow you to stay in the know about voter engagement events on campus and connect you with student voting resources.   

A hope of the university is that your time at Yale will play a significant step in building a cultu of powerful, responsible citizenship. Be sure to take the first steps this summer and when yo campus! 

Welcome to New Haven, 

Dean Howard  

Burgwell J. Howard 
Assoc. Vice President for Student Life 
Dean of Student Engagement 
Yale University


This week’s important dates and reminders include:

  1. FOOT health form
  2. Harvest health form



Please go to New Student Dates and Deadlines for a full list of deadlines.

Please go to New Student Forms & Tasks for first steps and important resources.