Focusing Our Conscious Urban Service on New Haven
Established in 1991, FOCUS on New Haven is an end-of-summer, week-long pre-orientation program designed to introduce incoming first-years to the city of New Haven and help returning upperclassmen take a closer look at the city they’ve already lived in. FOCUS encourages students to step outside of the boundaries of the Yale bubble and explore their place in the greater community. FOCUS participants, along with their upperclassmen leaders, meet with local activists and organizers and examine controversial issues covering a wide breadth of urban issues, including immigration, education, politics, race, economic development, and town-gown relations. They learn about New Haven as a whole, taking part in tours of neighborhoods, discussion panels, and meetings with community leaders. In addition to this general view, FOCUS participants also get to engage directly with individual local non-profit organizations through small group service projects at a local non-profit. Having viewed New Haven from multiple perspectives over the course of the program, FOCUS challenges participants to reflect on their present and future roles in their community, gaining a better sense of both the city in which they live and the role they can play in it.
FOCUS is the only pre-orientation program run by Dwight Hall, the Center for Public Service and Social Justice at Yale. Check out our spotlight on the Dwight Hall website to learn more about the 2016 program.