Student Democrats from several Connecticut colleges met as a newly formed coalition Sunday morning at the Huntington Street home of U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro.

A group of about 30 student delegates from Yale, the University of Connecticut, Connecticut College and Trinity College listened as DeLauro, state Democratic party chairman John Olsen and four Democratic candidates for state offices extolled the virtues of student involvement in politics.

State Sen. George Jepsen, one of two candidates seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination for the 2002 election, and Comptroller Nancy Wyman were among the speakers.

DeLauro said she opened her home to the fledgling organization because she felt she had to.

“We have to reach young voters. It’s a goal of mine,” she said. “We have to engage young people in the political process.”

As the students sat intently in her living room, the six-term congresswoman tried to inspire them with the story of her own political call to arms.

DeLauro, 58, comes from a political family — her father was a New Haven alderman — but she said her “true beginning” in politics came in 1960 when she campaigned for John F. Kennedy.

“I drove all over New York that year,” she said, smiling excitedly. “It sparked my interest. It’s important that everyone have an experience like that — something they feel passionate about.”

Under the leadership of former Yale College Democrats President Lex Paulson ’02, the College Democrats of Connecticut contributed more than 1,100 hours of volunteer time to campaigns across the state last year.

–James Collins