New Haven officials tour campus, U. City

Yale administrators hoped to learn how to engage with their city

· December 4, 2013, 5:56 pm   ·  Updated December 4, 2013, 9:11 pm

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Yesterday, administrators from Yale University toured University City and Philadelphia universities to learn about their outreach to the city.

Administrators from Yale University and New Haven officials visited Philadelphia on Wednesday to learn about how Penn and other local universities engage with the city.

The delegation toured Penn, Temple and Drexel universities, and their surrounding areas, in a trip sponsored by Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke’s office. Members of the delegation included public officials, Yale administrators, community representatives and developers.

The purpose of the visit was for the delegation to see firsthand how City Council, Philadelphia and local universities directed growth and investment around their campuses, said Jane Roh, communications director for Clarke’s office.

“The Connecticut delegation hopes to apply lessons learned to neighborhoods surrounding Yale University,” Roh said in a press release.

The day began at 11 a.m. with introductory remarks from Clarke, followed by presentations on the city’s partnerships with Philadelphia universities. Later in the day, the delegation received a tour of University City, led by Penn’s Assistant Vice President of Community Relations Glenn Bryan.

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About 15 to 17 people went on the tour, Bryan said in an email, including New Haven residents who were “largely interested in our initiatives pertaining to health care expansion, public education and economic inclusion.”

The delegation asked Bryan about Penn’s history with Philadelphia, and “acknowledged and congratulated Penn’s leadership amongst higher educational and medical institutions in local community engagement,” he added.

Bryan also said that members of the delegation were interested to learn more about how Penn’s First Thursday Meetings were created as “a consistent method for regular communication with the community.” These meetings, which occur at the Free Library on 40th and Walnut streets on the first Thursday of every month, allow members of the community to voice their opinions on local projects or issues. The agenda for the next meeting on Dec. 5 includes a discussion on public school initiatives, specifically one of Penn’s programs with the Henry C. Lea Elementary School.

Special Assistant to the City Council President Donna Johnson Bullock, who led Wednesday’s tour, said that because of the challenges presented by Yale’s expanding campus, the New Haven delegation wanted to learn about the way that Philadelphia has dealt with similar issues in the past.

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Penn, Drexel and Temple “have addressed those challenges in their own unique ways” by “offering homeownership incentives for faculty and staff to live near campus [and] ensuring jobs and wellness opportunities for longtime residents,” Bullock said in an email.

“We were especially pleased to bring the delegation to Paseo Verde, a new transit-oriented housing development near Temple University that offers both market-rate student housing and affordable housing for longtime residents,” she added.

The tour concluded at 4 p.m., after the Paseo Verde tour.

“We hope the New Haven delegation learned from this tour and that we will continue to learn from one another in years to come,” Bullock said.

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