James Larson

The Yale College Council released a handbook for students looking to stay in New Haven over the summer last Friday, concluding a project it began last spring.

The guidebook, titled “A Guide to Summer in New Haven,” was announced in a College-wide email on Friday evening. The new YCC City team compiled the guide in a bid to get Yalies more interested in staying in the Elm City over the summer and inform those who might stay about seasonal activities around town. The handbook arrives just as students begin to confirm their summer plans, both in New Haven and elsewhere.

“Over the years, I’ve had friends and acquaintances ask me for so much advice on how to maximize their summers here,” YCC City Director Sophie Cappello ’20, who grew up in New Haven, told the News. “When I joined the YCC as City Director last spring, [YCC President] Kahlil [Greene ’21] mentioned that the idea of a guide to New Haven in the summer had been floated, and I thought it had a lot of potential. People often have so many questions about staying in New Haven, ranging from sublets to volunteerism to transportation to local politics and more.”

Since the council established the City Director position — which operates under the purview of YCC Vice President Grace Kang ’21 — and Cappello subsequently took on the role, the YCC has co-hosted a fall festival at the Stetson Library in Dixwell with the Yale Black Men’s Union and various Dixwell community groups.

The YCC also held a New Haven business panel last month, which was a collaboration between YCC’s City and Business teams.

Greene told the News in an email that the handbook idea originated last year with the YCC New Haven-Yale Task Force, on which both he and then-Ward 1 Alder Hacibey Catalbasoglu ’19 served. But “the structure of the YCC at the time didn’t allow for the project to come to fruition,” Greene added.

“However, by prioritizing engagement with New Haven through our City Team, we were able to assemble, finish and publicize the handbook this year,” Greene said.

Catalbasoglu and Michael Harris of the Elm City Innovation Collaborative had been working with YCC on a number of different initiatives focused on connecting Yalies to New Haven — the handbook was one of several. Originally, the group planned to publicize the handbook to students before spring break last year, but it was delayed until the newly-formed City Team could dedicate the necessary time to the project. Within the structure of the City Team, Sarah Guan ’23 and Jillian Jolly ’23 worked to create the final product. Guan herself will be staying in New Haven to teach middle schoolers as a part of the US Grant Teaching Foundation program.

“For those who are more unsure about summer plans, hopefully this handbook makes a good case for why you should consider experiencing the city during summer break,” Guan told the News in an email. “Doing the research for this handbook and learning more about New Haven was what inspired me to spend my summer in the city!”

Guan said that Yale’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs, specifically Community Affairs Associate Karen King, was helpful in building the guide.

The handbook is split into seven sections about life in New Haven: Housing; Transportation; Fellowships and Programs; Community Service; Political Engagement in New Haven; Daily Living; and Food, Culture, Events. Each section details a number of tips and options for students for navigating various aspects of Elm City life.

According to Guan, the goal of the handbook is to convey the information that students need to tackle a New Haven summer. YCC also hopes that the handbook piques students’ interest in staying in the Elm City over the summer.

“I’m glad [Greene], [Cappello], and the rest of the YCC team made the handbook a priority, and I hope it encourages more students to explore and experience all the incredible things New Haven has to offer,” Ward 1 Alder Eli Sabin ’22 told the News.

Both Guan and Jolly praised the flexibility and opportunities for connections with New Haven that the City Team has offered to its members thus far. Upcoming and ongoing projects for the team include supporting small businesses, hosting a forum with Mayor Justin Elicker, and advocating for the Yale Prison Education Initiative, according to Guan.

YCC was founded in 1972.

Jose Davila IV | jose.davilaiv@yale.edu