Community Outreach

Yale University is proud to call New Haven its home. 

Many university departments and organizations volunteer their services and expertise to the broader community. Listed below are some examples of the ways these Yale organizations contribute to a strong New Haven. (If you are part of a Yale organization focused on community outreach and are not currently listed here, please email 

Yale College
Dwight Hall at Yale is an umbrella organization which serves as a central hub for undergraduate outreach. It fosters civic-minded student leaders and promotes service and activism in New Haven.

Elmseed Enterprise Fund’s mission is to facilitate the creation of successful small businesses in New Haven. By providing access to small, low-interest loans and technical assistance, Elmseed seeks to open the capital markets to motivated entrepreneurs who lack the capital or resources to start or expand small businesses.

Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
The Public Service Fellows help connect students with organizations, events and volunteer opportunities in the greater New Haven community, including tutoring positions in the New Haven public schools and the New Haven Reads book bank, as well as on-campus through the Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center and the Science Outreach office. Other avenues for involvement include food banks, blood drives, voter registration, immigrant advocacy organizations and regional conferences on hunger and homelessness. 

Yale Indian Papers Project
The Yale Indian Papers Project, housed at the Yale Divinity School, is a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded scholarly editing endeavor and collaborative research initiative that promotes understanding of, and dialogue on, the historical and cultural forces that have shaped New England life for several hundred years.  Currently focused on Connecticut Native communities, the Project represents a partnership with local, regional, and international institutions and several local tribes.

Yale Law School
The Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization (LSO) links law students with individuals and organizations in need of legal help who cannot afford private attorneys. The law school also provides numerous clinics including advocacy for children and youth, immigration legal services, landlord-tenant disputes, mortgage foreclosure advice, veteran services and community and economic development expertise.

Yale School of Architecture
The Yale Urban Design Workshop (YUDW) is a community design center based at the School of Architecture. Since its founding, the YUDW has worked with communities all across the state of Connecticut, providing planning and design assistance on projects ranging from comprehensive plans, economic development strategies and community visions to the design of public spaces, streetscapes and individual community facilities. Clients include small towns, city neighborhoods, planning departments, Chambers of Commerce, community development corporations, citizen groups, and private developers. After a number of years on the Yale campus, the YUDW is currently located in a storefront space on Chapel Street in New Haven’s Dwight neighborhood, two blocks from the School of Architecture.

In all its work, the YUDW is committed to an inclusive, community-based process, grounded in broad citizen participation and a vision of the design process as a tool for community organizing, empowerment, and capacity-building. A typical YUDW project may include design charrettes, focus groups, and town meetings, as well as more conventional means of program and project development. These projects are staffed mainly by current graduate professional students at the Yale School of Architecture supervised by faculty of the School, but often also include Yale College undergraduates, recent graduates of the School as full-time staff, faculty and students from Yale’s other professional schools (including the Law School, the School of Forestry and Environmental Science, the School of Management, the School of Public Health and the School of Art), as well as outside consultants and other local professionals.

Yale School of Drama
The Dwight/Edgewood Project is an after-school program in which New Haven middle school students spend the month of June learning about theater and writing original plays under the guidance of graduate student mentors from the School of Drama. The program includes one-on-one mentoring, theater games, numerous playwriting exercises and an overnight retreat to Camp Wightman in Griswold, Connecticut. The project aims to foster positive self-esteem, self-awareness and self-respect. Each year’s session ends with two performances of the plays written by the middle school students that are directed, designed, produced and performed by School of Drama students.

Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Services
The Urban Resource Initiative fosters community-based land stewardship, promotes environmental education and advances the practice of urban forestry.

Programs include:
The TreeHaven 10K campaign which will plant 10,000 trees throughout New Haven over five years (finishing in 2014). This ambitious partnership between URI and the City of New Haven will provide local employment opportunities, restore a diminishing tree canopy, and improve urban quality of life, among other benefits.

URI GreenSkills is a local green jobs program that employs high school students and ex-offenders through the planting of trees. GreenSkills connects people to their communities, their environment, and each other.

The Community Greenspace program provides material supplies, technical advice, and classroom-based and hands-on training to support the reclamation and maintenance of abandoned land in New Haven’s distressed urban neighborhoods. Since 1995, Greenspace has completed more than 221 diverse urban restoration projects with an annual participation of more than 1000 New Haven residents.

URI is a not-for-profit university partnership.

Yale School of Management
SOM Nonprofit Board Fellows volunteer their time to serve on nonprofit boards in and around New Haven.  In addition, the Social Impact Consulting Club provides pro-bono consulting to several New Haven nonprofit organizations each year.  Many student clubs also convene annual conferences that feature local leaders among their speakers.

Yale School of Medicine
The Committee Overseeing Volunteer Services (COVS) is the student-run umbrella organization for many volunteer services. 

Started in 2005, the Haven Free Clinic is a student-run clinic which offers free primary care services supervised by attending physicians. Organized by students in the health professions, the clinic is run out of the Yale Physicians Building from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

SAY New Haven is a four-day, pre-orientation program in which students help with a range of service projects throughout the city. Habitat for Humanity, volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and paint projects are some of the things students have done in the past.

Yale School of Music
The School of Music supports the work of the public schools of New Haven, the region, and the country through its broad Music in Schools initiative. It provides programs in New Haven public schools that complement the work of full-time music teachers, hosts a biennial symposium for teachers in public schools from around the United States, and hosts visiting professors to work in music education and train School of Music students and New Haven public school teachers.

Yale School of Nursing
YSN is recognized throughout Greater New Haven for its role in improving the health of our local community, especially among the community’s most vulnerable populations, for providing health education and mentorship in public schools, for advancing diversity training and education throughout Yale University, and for increasing opportunities for high school students to pursue university education and careers in the allied health sciences. 

Yale School of Public Health
CARE was established in May 2007 as an integral component of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI).   The establishment of CARE at the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation provides an unprecedented opportunity to foster rigorous community-based research and to translate findings of scientific breakthrough and discovery to enhance health care. CARE’s efforts to develop new models for conducting community-based research have real potential for improving the health of the residents of New Haven and beyond.

The Wednesday Evening Clinic is the longest running student-run clinic at Yale, currently run out of the Primary Care Center. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program at Yale has been training physician health leaders for more than three and a half decades. The Yale Program is committed to developing health leaders to improve health and the quality of healthcare. Through coursework, mentored clinical and community research, exposure to senior level leaders, and patient care, Scholars develop the experience and skills necessary to lead positive change.

Yale University: Contributing to a Strong New Haven