How Yale relates to its urban neighbors

In the current issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine, Yale President Rick Levin talks about Yale's relationship with New Haven. Here are some excerpts:

We needed our host city to be a place that attracted students and faculty, as it does today.

We squeezed the budget pretty hard... in order to make room for... the investments we made in New Haven, starting with the homebuyer program [which subsidizes mortgages for Yale employees buying homes in New Haven]. We also made it a priority to reach out to the city of New Haven. The deans and directors at Yale all got the message that their programs had to have a local outreach component.

Here are two recent examples of how Yale makes this local outreach real.

At the Yale School of Architecture:
The latest home built in the Jim Vlock First-Year Building Project, a wheelchair-accessible duplex for a disabled female veteran, was dedicated on September 25. The Building Project began in 1967 and is a requirement for every architecture student at Yale. This year the students worked with Common Ground Community, a nonprofit developer, as well as the Veterans Affairs Office to build the home in a low-income New Haven neighborhood. The design incorporated sustainable materials, including cedar and bamboo, and energy-efficient materials and technology, such as a precast concrete foundation system.
At the Yale School of Management:
Just a few hours into orientation, students of the Class of 2010 were launched into a two-day exercise called the Audubon Street Project, designed to introduce them to each other and to the SOM approach to solving business problems. Divided into groups of six or seven, each team had to devise a hypothetical business concept for an unoccupied storefront on New Haven's Audubon Street, near the SOM campus. Students were given background information -- maps, photographs, information about tax rates and other fixed costs -- but little more. The concepts had to be economically viable; have a social impact that reflected SOM's mission of educating leaders for business and society; and reflect Yale's desire to have a positive impact on the New Haven community.

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