The race to represent Ward 1 is not over. I am not finished fighting for your vote and I am not done asking for your help. This campaign has always been about more than just a seat on the Board of Alders. It’s about redefining and strengthening the Yale-New Haven relationship to improve the city for everyone who lives here — students and permanent residents alike.
I love New Haven because of the countless opportunities it has provided for my family since we first moved here in the middle of the 1990s. I owe it to New Haven to spend my time working for better schools and safer communities. New Haveners deserve a city where small businesses are able to thrive and where kids have opportunities to learn and grow outside of the classroom.
I know that my city has improved over the last several years, but I also understand how much more work we have to do. My own experiences, as well as the countless conversations I’ve had with Yalies and New Haveners, have equipped me with the ability to evaluate what the people of New Haven need most and have inspired me to think of ways in which New Haven and Yale can work together to achieve our shared goals.
My experiences affect my views, but they aren’t my only consideration. The representative for Ward 1 has a job unlike any other: With so many Yale students, we have a lot of potential to create change. Likewise, New Haven is a city where Yale students can learn, grow and live. But so far, this connection has been underutilized.
If I am elected as your alder, I will immediately create a Yale-New Haven Relations Committee, where Yale students, Yale faculty members and New Haveners will voice their ideas in a nonpartisan environment about bettering the place we all call home, building bridges between city and school. The goal of the committee will be to give all students — not just those who are already engaged in city politics — a seat at the table and a voice in the debate over our city’s most important issues.
Yale students deserve a Ward 1 alder who will be active and engaged with them beyond the few weeks leading up to election day, and the Yale-New Haven Relations Committee will provide a platform for sustained, meaningful engagement between Yale students and city government. Both Yale students and New Haveners will benefit from a cohesive, strong relationship with each other.
And this is where I need your help. Together, we can come up with many ideas that are bound to make a difference. Student-run organizations, research groups and programs here on campus interact with the city frequently. Organizations like the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project, the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project and the countless organizations within Dwight Hall have impressive and extensive experience working with New Haven.
Now it’s time for these experiences that Yale students have to impact policy and to truly improve the lives of our neighbors in New Haven. Whether you’re interested in impacting a specific policy within our city, whether you are part of a group looking to pursue meaningful policy change or even if you’re interested in improving our city just a little during your time at Yale, please, reach out to me and make your voice heard.
This campaign is not over. It’s actually just beginning. We are going to redefine the Yale-New Haven relationship. We are going to make Yale and New Haven better for the citygoers and students alike by strengthening relationships between the two. And we’re going to do it with your help.
Hacibey Catalbasoglu is a junior in Davenport College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .