Each year, hundreds of Yale alumni, students, staff, family, and friends take part in Yale Day of Service, giving back to local communities across the country and around the world. In this series, we’ll be spotlighting a few of those Yalies, who discuss how they got involved and what service means to them.
This week, we feature Caroline Dewing ’12 who, below, reflects on her time with the Yale chapter of Engineers Without Borders and how the university's service community combines her love of Yale with volunteering.
How did you become part of Yale’s alumni service community?
After graduating Yale, I started volunteering with the National Park Service (NPS) on the weekends. Guiding visitors through the house and grounds of the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site was the perfect juxtaposition to my weekday desk job and helped me feel part of my new Boston environs. At about the same time, I started attending Yale Boston alumni events and, over time, became part of the Yale Boston board. So, when an NPS ranger and I started discussing different ways to bring others to the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site and the Emerald Necklace (a park system in Boston that Olmsted designed), we immediately thought of Yalies. One tour turned into numerous trash pickups, and for me, a commitment to make many more connections between Yalies and our communities.
Tell us a story that exemplifies service for you. Or perhaps a favorite Yale Day of Service memory.
When I think of service and Yale, I immediately think of the professional mentor of the Yale chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Dave was a guiding force during my years at Yale, and for myself and many others, has been an exemplar of selfless service – mentoring and inspiring numerous undergrads and helping bring clean water, latrines, bridges, and other engineering feats to underserved areas around the world. He has poured hundreds, if not thousands, of hours into making the world, near and far, a better place. I was the recipient of his teachings on everything from topographical surveying to concrete pouring to how to respectfully interact with Cameroonian elders. While concrete pouring has not featured prominently in my career, Dave has shown me the tremendous impact that bringing others together in the name of service can have – on all those involved.
Why is service through Yale a priority for you?
We have a tremendous privilege being part of the Yale community. I feel responsible to harness this privilege to bring my and the Yale community’s time, treasures, and talents to our communities. Through service, there is always something new to learn, interesting people to meet, challenges to be had, and much to contribute. I love Yale and enjoy volunteering, so it seems perfect to combine the two.
What would you say to a fellow alum about meaningful reasons to get involved in Yale service activities?
Service is an incredible way to broaden your horizons. It provides a forum to meet other Yalies, learn about your community, and better understand and hopefully impact the lives of others. It’s humbling and inspiring to build a more intricate understanding of your community and find ways to make it a brighter place.
To find a service project near you, visit our 2022 Yale Day of Service project page.
And visit our Spotlight on Service page to see all the service spotlight conversations.