Despite the Elm City Resident Card’s rather controversial history, there were no protesters at today’s ID registration in Dwight Hall.
Introduced in July 2007, the Elm City Resident Card was designed to give all New Haven residents a form of identification, regardless of immigration status. Over 7,370 New Haven residents, of which about 800 are Yalies, are members. Though the ID itself has been a controversial subject in the past, the first day of a two-day registration period passed uneventfully.
Since its establishment, city officials have worked to enhance the card’s features. The Elm City Resident Card gives local residents access to all branches of the New Haven Public Library, Lighthouse Point, and the city golf course. The ID also possesses a debit card function for use at 34 local stores, at parking meters and at garages around the city.
“There are a number of stores around the city and at the Office of New Haven Residents where cardholders can come and add money to their card,” explained Ana Winn, project coordinator for the Elm City Resident Card.
In a move to entice Yale students to sign up for the card, the city is currently negotiating with local bars and restaurants to allow students to use the card as an additional means of accessing age-restricted venues.
“We are constantly putting things through to improve the cards’ features, and right now, we are working with local restaurants and bars to have this card serve as proof of age,” Winn said.
Anna Smith ’10, codirector of Dwight Hall, added that the card is another means of connecting Yale with New Haven.
“The whole purpose of this initiative is to help build a stronger community in New Haven so that Yale students can get more involved in the city,” Smith said.
But the card’s tenure has been a turbulent one. After the card was first established, the anti-illegal immigration group Community Watchdog Project attempted to force New Haven to release the names and addresses of every Elm City ID cardholder. Additionally, 36 hours after the city announced plans to implement the card, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency conducted its controversial Fair Haven raids, during which 32 immigrants were detained.
At Tuesday’s registration process, however, there was not a hint of controversy. Instead, a slow trickle of students calmly walked to the registration table, which never had more than two people in line.
Smith said there are practical reasons why Yalies should consider applying for the card, namely access to the New Haven library system and discounts at stores, such as Foot Locker, Subway and the People’s Laundromat.
Edie Joseph ’12, who received her ID card today, said she believes that it will encourage her to explore parts of the city that she would have otherwise ignored.
“The retail discounts means that I will visit stores that I wouldn’t normally think about going to,” she said.
Last year approximately 500 Yale students signed up for the card. Today, 20 students applied.
Registration for the Elm City Resident Card will continue today from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Dwight Hall Common Room.