Yale Senior One of Five U.S. College Students to Receive Humanitarian Award

A Yale senior majoring in Latin American studies has been named one of five recipients of the 2000 Howard R. Swearer Student Humanitarian Award for his commitment to community service during the opening session of the national Youth Leadership Council’s national conference in Providence, Rhode Island.

Gregory Duff Morton, of Riverside, Calif., was honored for his work in understanding and improving the lives of disadvantaged members of the New Haven community. His concern for the well-being of others and his desire to make positive changes in the local community led him to create a program called Outreach in the fall of 1998. Through Outreach, Morton helped train Yale students to serve the needs of the homeless population, connecting people with shelters, food, drug rehabilitation programs and job programs.

Morton’s long-term commitment to improving conditions in New Haven and the integrity he brings to his service work led Yale President Richard C. Levin, who nominated Morton for the award, to describe him as “both visionary and someone who rolls his sleeves up and goes to work,” an inspiration to members of the Yale and New Haven communities.

Concerned that Outreach was not adequately addressing the needs of the homeless population, Morton worked with members of the homeless community to expand Outreach into Harmony Place, a community center run jointly by Yale students and homeless people, which meets people’s basic needs for food, clothing and shelter, and advocates for structural change.

As a Latin American studies major, Morton understands homelessness in a global context and as part of larger First World-Third World inequalities. He brought this academic background, as well as first-hand experience working with homeless children in Mexico City, to bear on the structure and function of Harmony Place.

The award honors the life and work of Howard R. Swearer, 15th president of Brown University. It is presented annually by Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 660 college and university presidents who are committed to making community service an integral part of undergraduate education. Swearer was one of three university presidents who founded Campus Compact in 1985. Each award includes a $1,500 contribution to a community service project of the recipient’s choice.

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