June 25, 2021

Dear Class of 2025,

This week, I would like to introduce you to Dean Howard, one of the senior associate deans for Yale College. He wears many hats, but one of the main areas he focuses on is civic engagement and helping students think about how to participate in their new community. New Haven is an amazing place! Located on the traditional land of indigenous peoples and nations, including Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden 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 you to jump in and begin to explore!

Dean Hannah Peck
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs
Yale College Office of Student Affairs

June 25, 2021

Hello, new students --

We hope that your summers are off to a positive start and that you are getting excited for the year ahead. My name is Burgwell Howard and I am one of the Senior Associate Deans here in   the Yale College Deans Office, who is focused on student engagement. During your time at Yale you will frequently hear 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 across the university. The Yale community exists within and among the multi-ethnic, multi-faceted community that makes up the City of New Haven, and we hope that during your time here, you will throw yourself fully 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 Yale students be engaged citizens and develop a sense of belonging.

Another major avenue for those who are eligible is to register to vote; this is a critical civic responsibility, particularly for young people so that your 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 register and get information about voting here in Connecticut or in your home state or territory. As you are likely aware, there has been a great deal of discussion about voting rights and access to voting over  the past year, and we see your engagement in this process as critical to being an informed and engaged citizen here at Yale, in New Haven, or in your home community or country. For those of you who are not eligible to vote in the U.S., there are still ample opportunities to learn more and volunteer with community groups who can benefit from your engagement, so stay tuned for more about the myriad community-focused groups and organizations here in the Yale/New Haven area.

However, as a first step, 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, state, and 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. A  hope of the university is that your time at Yale will play a significant step in building a culture of powerful, responsible citizenship. Be sure to take the first steps this summer and when you arrive on campus!

Welcome to New Haven,

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