Shea Jennings, Yale University
Shea Jennings epitomizes Yale’s tradition of and commitment to public service. Since her first day on Yale’s campus, Shea has participated in direct service through the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project (YHHAP). She grew into leadership, coordinating large numbers of students to “rescue” food from our dining halls and deliver it to local soup kitchens. Although the innovation and resourcefulness of the program are impressive, it’s Shea’s skillful handling of details that allowed others to become more deeply engaged. Her commitment to service deepened through greater responsibility in leadership, becoming a co-coordinator of YHHAP and joining the student executive committee of Dwight Hall at Yale, the Center for Public Service and Social Justice. She’s gained a valuable perspective on social dynamics working with community partners, and her activity has raised the collective awareness of Yale students of deeply rooted and complex social issues. Shea’s continued this trend of deepening commitment to public service through a co-coordinator role of the student executive committee at Dwight Hall at Yale, where her insight to public service and model for action continues to inspire other leaders on Yale’s campus.
-Peter Salovey, President
My motivation for civic service stems from deep commitment to social and economic justice in a community where Yale students enjoy enormous privilege relative to many of our neighbors. I believe that all human beings deserve to be treated with dignity—and especially people experiencing homelessness and poverty, who are too often marginalized by society. I believe in the transformative power of service, both for those serving and those impacted. By performing service and helping other students to do the same, I live out these beliefs. From delivering meals to soup kitchens to preparing taxes for low-income clients, my work with the Yale Hunger & Homelessness Action Project requires me to consider how to use my own energies to advocate for policy reform in my community. Moreover, I am a student leader at Dwight Hall, where I work closely with over eighty student groups to connect Yalies to our community through public service and social justice. These experiences have given me far more than bullets on my CV or memories to recount at class reunions. I will leave Yale a more thoughtful, compassionate, responsible human being for having served others—prepared to go into the world and do good work.