Meeting Place

FOCUS on New Haven takes place in and around New Haven, but our central meeting place is on Old Campus (the quadrangle where most first-year students live) inside of Dwight Hall.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will we get from our dorms to our volunteer sites?

The mode of transportation between campus and the volunteer sites will vary between FOCUS families depending on the location of the volunteer site, but participants will always be accompanied by FOCUS leaders, directors, and/or members of their FOCUS family. Participants assigned to nearby volunteer sites will walk, while groups located further away from campus will take public buses or be driven in Dwight Hall cars by licensed FOCUS leaders/directors who have completed Dwight Hall’s driver certification process.

How does FOCUS ensure the safety of its participants?

FOCUS on New Haven treats the safety of its participants as its highest priority. As a participant, you’ll be a part of a small group of no more than 6-10 other student participants, led by two upper-level students who have received leader training through the Office of Gender and Campus Culture. FOCUS on New Haven follows the general guidance of Yale’s Undergraduate Regulations and goes further to include a zero-tolerance policy concerning alcohol and other potentially harmful behavior. The program is built to be a safe place for students of all backgrounds and identities.

What type of training do FOCUS leaders receive?

Through the Office of Gender and Campus Culture, all FOCUS leaders complete training on building a positive culture, recognizing bias, and handling situations involving prohibited substances and sexual misconduct. Before the program begins, leaders come together for two days for additional skills training in managing small groups, communication, and leadership. All leaders are admitted through a competitive application process in the prior Spring.

Is it FOCUS or Focus on New Haven? What does “FOCUS” stand for?

The program has changed quite a bit since its founding in 1991, and we anticipate it changing in the future as we learn more about how Yale students can most effectively and appropriately engage with New Haven. For this reason, the meaning of our acronym has changed over time. In the past, students have proposed “Focusing Our Conscious Urban Service on New Haven,” but we want to emphasize that FOCUS is about engagement and collaboration with New Haven communities, and “service” sometimes comes with other connotations about who has power and agency in the relationship. Others have pointed out that complicated acronyms are emblematic of a distinctly Yale culture, and that we can best live up to our name by removing any acronym. This year, will keep using the name FOCUS because we like the enthusiasm of all-caps.