City Engagement is the wing of Yale Democrats that engages with New Haven. Each semester, we partner with five to ten local politicians and community leaders to provide the support they need to bring their project off the ground. We have partnered with diverse individuals and groups, from promoting policy on behalf of Alders, to collaborating with the city engineer’s office and the New Haven Department of Public Health, to supporting and advocating for the needs of local Parent Teacher Organizations.

At Monday meetings, we call local Alders in support of policies we believe in, conduct research for our latest policy project, and promote our causes on social media and via petitions.

If you have any questions about what we do on City Engagement or are interested in getting involved, please contact our City Engagement Coordinator, Kaley Pillinger ‘21.

Ongoing projects

John C. Daniels  

Captain: Clare Wu

We worked with the PTO President of John C Daniels elementary and middle school, where 60% of students are underperforming in math, to connect Yale tutors with the school.

Air bnb

captain: Elizabeth “Lizzie” Dolan

Lizzie and her team conducted research for Alders Adam Marchand (25-D), Darryl Brackeen (26-D), and Hacibey Catalbasoglu (1-D) on the effect of apartment sharing sites like Airbnb on housing affordability and accessibility in New Haven.

Affordable housing

Captain: Ali Bauman

For Alder Aaron Greenberg (8-D) and a city-wide task force on affordable housing, Ali conducted research on housing accessibility and the use of SROs (single resident occupancies) in New Haven.

New Haven Public School Advocates

Captain: Kathryn Paton

Kathryn worked with the New Haven Public School Advocates, a not-for-profit of concerned families and community members, to increase accountability of the New Haven education system. She and fellow Dems members worked to transcribe, digitize, and publish online Board of Education meeting notes, as well as to analyze data for the NHPSA.

Kathryn also worked with the NHPSA to research traditional Board of Education appointment procedure to make sure that New Haven is upholding its responsibilities to provide an engaged and experienced Board for its students.

New Haven Dept of Public Health: Anti-Smoking

Captain: Grace Haviland

Working for the New Haven Department of Public Health, Grace coordinated an anti-tobacco education campaign at East Rock Community Magnet K-8 School. She talked with students in their health classes and had them sign pledges on a Tobacco-Free Pledge Wall.

New Haven Dept of Public Health: Maternal Health

Captain: Maya Pasic

Maya partnered with several local businesses to raise money for the New Haven Department of Public Health’s annual Safety Baby Shower, which educates and provides supplies for expecting mothers.

Sustainable Connecticut

Captain: Lena Chan

Lena and her team worked on promoting New Haven’s participation in Sustainable CT, a compact of Connecticut municipalities that aim to promote environmental sustainability. They researched ten environmental benchmarks that are part of the Sustainable CT guidelines to report to the city engineer’s office on what still needs to be done.

Municipal Broadband

Captain: Oona Holahan

Oona and her team worked with the city engineer’s office to explore the feasibility of public wifi in New Haven. The team examined both legal and technical jargon and amassed several useful briefs that the city engineers will use.

Civilian Review Board

Captain: Ioann Popov

The Civilian Review Board (CRB) is a proposed city ordinance that has been on the table for decades since activist Emma Jones and a coalition pushed for the policy in the wake of her son’s brutal shooting at the hands of police officers in 1997. (Read more here.) Ioann worked with advocates from Yale Law School to organize events (including one in which Dan Barrett, the legal director of the Connecticut ACLU, spoke in support of the CRB to Alders and community members); increased community awareness of the CRB; and spearheaded Alder outreach by coordinating a phone bank.

Elm City Digest

Captain: Steven Orientale

This year, we embarked on a new project to educate Yalies about the city we live in. Each week, Steven researched a different facet of city life--from Community Management Teams to New Haven’s dramatic Cold War history--and wrote about it in Thursday email blasts.