Op-Ed | Our city needs CUNY, and CUNY needs you!

I by no means tire of listening to — or telling — CUNY success tales. They’re the tales of scholars from all backgrounds and so many locations, with all types of experiences and aspirations. They’ve labored arduous to get to varsity, and many would be the first of their household to earn a level. They’re passionate and perseverant. They usually profit from the various CUNY packages that assist their success, put together them for careers and propel them to realize their ambitions and goals. 

The journey of Hunter Faculty pupil Montserrat Lopez could be very a lot a narrative of CUNY success. Monti, as she’s recognized, was 5 when she arrived in Queens from Mexico along with her household. She grew up with goals of faculty that she ultimately realized could be arduous to realize as an undocumented immigrant. Most dauntingly, she didn’t qualify for the federal monetary assist that the majority low-income college students rely on to attend school. However now, Monti is a senior political science main with plans for regulation college and a ardour for immigrant labor advocacy fueled by the indignities and abuses she’s seen her mother and father endure of their restaurant jobs. 

Monti is on the way in which to realizing her goals in good half due to the assist and inspiration she’s gotten at CUNY. A lot of that assist has come from packages which might be sustained by the generosity of personal donors who imagine in CUNY’s mission. Monti is a recipient of Hunter’s Eva Kastan Grove Scholarship, which supplies tuition funding, mentorship and different assist to immigrant college students and others in want who’re dedicated to public service and human rights. And she or he’s discovered a robust sense of neighborhood as a pupil scholar at Hunter’s famend Roosevelt Home Public Coverage Institute. “Having that many people by my side means that I have a community behind me,” Monti says. “To me, it’s a sign that the college cares about its students, and it’s trying its best to provide all the opportunities that it can to its students.”

A Little Present Goes a Lengthy Approach

November 30 is GivingTuesday, the annual world marketing campaign to encourage folks to do good and give nicely. Annually since 2016, we’ve designated it CUNYTuesday, a day when our neighborhood and our supporters — each longstanding donors and new ones — come collectively to spend money on our mission to propel striving New Yorkers like Monti Lopez to the center class and past. 

Giving to The City College of New York helps maintain and develop the various revolutionary packages and initiatives that make CUNY the nation’s main city public college. It is important assist in more and more difficult instances for public larger schooling. This yr, it’s an funding in New York’s restoration from the pandemic. 

The returns on that funding are tangible — not solely within the distinction it makes within the lives of scholars but in addition in the way in which their success helps drive the city’s success. Greater than 80 p.c of CUNY graduates keep in New York and contribute to all features of the city’s financial, civic and cultural life. They diversify each sector of the city’s workforce and make it extra reflective of the city, an affect that goes to the guts of our mission. 

And right here’s one other highly effective impact: CUNY graduates from 1967 to 2019 earn $67 billion in a single yr — greater than double what they might have earned with solely a highschool diploma. That’s $33.7 billion of worth added every year to the city’s financial system. Because the city’s financial system begins to maneuver ahead from the pandemic, CUNY graduates turn out to be ever extra essential to the general well being of the city. 

CUNY’s neighborhood of greater than 300,000 college students, school and employees have sacrificed, tailored and persevered by means of the pandemic, and now our 25 campuses are buzzing with life as soon as extra. We’re forgiving tens of millions of {dollars} of our college students’ debt and increasing our efforts to assist their well-being past the classroom. We’re discovering methods to assist our school turn out to be one of the best lecturers they are often and we’re selling range, fairness and inclusion with new approaches that assist us break down extra obstacles for our college students than ever earlier than. Over the previous decade, the variety of levels we’ve awarded has soared: from about 45,000 to this yr’s record-breaking 59,000. 

We’re extraordinarily grateful to the various donors, massive and small, whose generosity has performed a fantastic function in all of those advances. Their funding is supplementing our city and state funding at a time of accelerating monetary stress for all public larger schooling. Annually since its inception 5 years in the past, CUNYTuesday has generated a larger diploma of essential assist for our campuses and their college students. In 2016, CUNYTuesday raised $300,000. Final yr — on the top of the pandemic — it raised $2.7 million. We hope to set yet one more file this yr. 

By making a CUNYTuesday donation at present or on November 30, New Yorkers assist us reimagine a greater and extra equitable post-pandemic CUNY, one through which college students proceed to realize their goals and lead the New York City of the long run. To present, go to CUNYTuesday and select the school and even this system you’d wish to assist. 

Now greater than ever, our city needs CUNY, and CUNY needs you.

Félix V. Matos Rodríguez is the chancellor of The City College of New York (CUNY), the biggest city public college system in america.

Source link