Tsai CITY Engage is a community engagement initiative that provides opportunities for Yale students to collaborate with the Greater New Haven community to foster a vibrant entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. Tsai CITY Engage’s work comes in three interconnected forms: knowledge sharing, communities of practice, and capacity building. Our work has been featured in national media outlets such as Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Tsai CITY Engage projects have included:
- Participatory budgeting in schools, with budgetary decisions made by K-8 students
- Community health improvement initiatives with the Yale-New Haven Hospital
- Community-based development through participatory land use planning, zoning, and design workshops
Tsai CITY Engage provides two opportunities for knowledge sharing. First, we facilitate exchange between Yale students and Greater New Haven practitioners, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and other stakeholders and innovators. Second, we connect these local innovators with stakeholders engaged in cutting edge municipal- and regional-level work across the country. In our first years,Tsai CITY Engage has provided the following platforms for knowledge sharing:
- Neighbors in Residence (NiR) Program: We provide avenues for Greater New Haven leaders to share their knowledge of the structures and institutions of New Haven with students interested in launching a venture or working on a project in the Greater New Haven area. We primarily conduct this work through collaborating with local organizations and stakeholders to add capacity in areas of needs.
- Speaking Events and Engagements: In Spring 2019 we convened the Inclusive Economic Development Speaker Series, co-sponsored by The Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, Yale Law School’s Ludwig Center for Community & Economic Development, and the Yale School of Management’s Inclusive Economic Development Lab.
Communities of Practice
At Tsai CITY Engage we are aware of the unseen setbacks and missed opportunities that come with reinventing the wheel. With this in mind, we create lines of communication between student employees, practitioners, and partner organizations who are actively involved in Tsai CITY Engage work, and on sharing knowledge to improve Tsai CITY Engage's ongoing work. In this way, we establish communities of practice that stretch across occupational and sectoral bounds. This enables student employees and practitioners both to impart knowledge to each other and to build institutional knowledge in fieldwork that is carried forth in semesters and years to come. Our community-building formats have included:
- Community of Practice Dinners: At Tsai CITY Engage dinners, student employees share their challenges, achievements, and lessons from the field. Here, student employees are given the opportunity to deeply reflect on their work thus far, and to identify the support or tools they need to be most successful on the ground moving forward.
Tsai CITY Engage guides and supports student-led projects conducted in collaboration with community stakeholders. Participating in these projects, Tsai CITY Engage student employees are given a site placement where they actively seek to build capacity in areas of need defined by community stakeholders themselves. Tsai CITY Engage student employee are:
- Provided with active, consistent support in setting goals, tracking progress, and taking the lead in determining next steps in consultation with project stakeholders
- Encouraged to consistently engage and reflect on how project-work is expanding or adding capacity to primary stakeholders
- Equipped with knowledge and tools to navigate and troubleshoot any work-related difficulties that may arise in conducting a project
Want to learn more or share feedback?
Please reach out to Onyeka Obiocha, Tsai CITY managing director (firstname.lastname@example.org).