Rachel Treisman

Prominent state politicians mingled with 40 Yale students and community members on the outdoor patio at Temple Grill this weekend to raise money for the Yale College Democrats.

The Dems decided to hold a fundraiser this fall to cover the extra costs associated with supporting Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 in the presidential election, Dems Communications Director Makayla Haussler ’19 said. The group will be spending more money than usual this semester on subsidizing members’ travel expenses for out-of-state canvassing trips to New Hampshire and Philadelphia, she said. They are also bringing in high-profile speakers, including actor Joshua Malina, and working to register freshman voters.

“[It’s] expensive to canvas in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, so obviously there’s that purpose, but also just to gather our community” said Azeezat Adeleke ’17, Dems vice president. “It’s very rare that we can have people that we work with in New Haven, like the mayor and alders, [who] come together with students. It’s just a nice chance to get the community together in one place.”

The event, a fundraiser featuring speakers like Mayor Toni Harp and state Sens. Gary Winfield and Martin Looney, was intended to support the organization’s community-building and canvassing efforts, said Dems treasurer Laura Leon ’18. Each student attendee paid $10 and community members paid $25, collectively raising roughly $1,300.

The money raised Saturday will enter the organization’s general account to cover in-house costs and other community-building efforts, Leon said. These funds will also go to the group’s efforts in supporting local legislation in the spring, she added.

“We’re looking to get out of this not only a more sustainable source of funding, but also to build a network of contacts within the larger New Haven and Connecticut community that we can rely on not just for fundraising purposes but also for doing legislative work and supporting community organizations,” Haussler said. “I’m hoping we can make sure that going into this election cycle, and also our work in the spring with legislative advocacy, that we have a really good base of membership at Yale and people invested in the work the Dems are doing in the community.”

Most of the Dems’ available funds come from merchandise — such as T-shirts sold at the event — and donations, former Dems legislative captain Alissa Wang ’19 said. And to advertise the milestone fundraiser to the community, group members asked city residents to advertise the event to their friends and neighbors, Leon added.

At the event, the speakers praised the Dems for their efforts and encouraged attendees to vote for Clinton this fall.

“What I’m asking you all to do is, we’ll come here, we’ll help you, I’ll even help you raise some more money,” Winfield said in his speech. “But what I need in return is for you to go out and do what you have to do for this country, and that means that the Yale College Democrats and their allies are out there helping us to elect Hillary Clinton as the President of the United States.”

The presidential election will take place Nov. 8.