Zoraya Hightower is a Burlington City Councilor and the Executive Director of the Peace and Justice center in Vermont. In these roles she leads economic, environmental, and racial justice education and initiatives. A graduate of the Yale School of Environment, Zoraya has been working on environmental issues across the globe for 10 years.
2013-2016: Yale School of Environment
Zoraya completed a Masters of Environmental Management focused on energy policy analysis and business sustainability.
Zoraya worked on environmental issues across the globe as a project manager and analyst before becoming Resonance's innovation manager, where she led projects across all sectors.
2020-Present: Burlington City Council
Zoraya serves as a city councillor to help make Vermont's Queen city greener, more equitable, and more inclusive.
2021: Running for the Yale Corporation
2021-Present: Peace & Justice Center
Zoraya is the Executive Director of the Peace and Justice Center of Vermont, where she works to advocate for economic, social, and racial justice.
GET TO KNOW ZORAYA
Why are you running for the Yale Corporation?
I am running for the Yale Corporation because I believe we are at a critical inflection point. The University has the opportunity to be a leader in the global transition to a new 100% clean energy economy. From world-class education and research, to rapidly building a zero-emission campus, to implementing a first of its kind ethical investment strategy, Yale can continue to show how a world-class university can lead in our fight against climate change.
How will increasing democratic engagement improve the ethical management of Yale’s endowment?
The Board of Trustees makes decisions that affect all Yale students and alumni, and that’s exactly why all alumni should be able to participate in the Board elections. Right now, Yale College graduates can only vote once they have been alumni for five years. As alumni, the University should welcome our participation and continued engagement, starting from the moment we graduate.
What makes you the right candidate for the Corporation?
ON THE ISSUES
Yale Graduate Student Union
I stand behind Local 33 as student workers work towards securing a fair and equitable contract. I urge Yale administrators to recognize its graduate students, research assistants, and teaching assistants as employees, and to recognize Local 33 as the representative body of those employees.
Yale’s Holdings of Puerto Rican Debt
Yale University should not derive profit from predatory loans collected at the expense of the financial security of the Government of Puerto Rico or the health of the Puerto Rican people. Puerto Rico’s unincorporated status as a colonial territory of the United States has left it unable to legally default on its loans, a privilege otherwise extended to all U.S. States, and has resulted in a lack of access to much of the same financial assistance afforded to Americans living in the States.
Yale's Relationship with New Haven
New Haven residents and workers provide the essential services that keep Yale’s lights on, streets swept, and students fed. Yale’s success as an institution is the result of the hard work not only of its faculty and students, but also of its support staff and the City of New Haven.