Founded in 2008 by GC student Greg Donovan, OpenCUNY is a DSC-sponsored, student-run, open-source WordPress platform that is free and open to all students at the Graduate Center, CUNY. It is ideal for professional portfolios (using your own domain, if you have one), academic blogs, community organizations, research projects, and more.
What Makes OpenCUNY Unique
- OpenCUNY is student-run and student-funded.
OpenCUNY is a professional digital platform run by students, for students. Three student coordinators manage the day-to-day operations and provide personal support for users. The Coordinators also work with a DSC-elected board of OpenCUNY users to develop and improve the OpenCUNY platform annually.
- OpenCUNY helps you keep control of your own work
Data ownership and copyright are tricky issues online. Even free-to-use proprietary sites often have policies which allow them to exert ownership and control over your data because its hosted on their servers. This can also be true of school-sponsored platforms. Because OpenCUNY is not hosted on school servers and because we make every effort to protect your digital rights (see our terms of service), you can feel safe hosting your personal, professional, or organization’s data on this platform.
- OpenCUNY uses open source software
Using free and open source software is a political and ethical choice. Free software is accessible and open source software is free to study, customize, and distribute. OpenCUNY uses the open source version of WordPress (wordpress.com is not open source), and works to find open source plugins and solutions whenever possible in an effort to protect the digital rights of students.
What You can do with OpenCUNY
To date, GC students have used OpenCUNY to develop websites for DSC chartered organizations, program student associations, courses, conferences, research, health initiatives, student and community organizing, personal and professional websites, and an array of DSC initiatives.
If you have an idea for a project or site and are not sure if OpenCUNY is the best tool, ask us! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our coordinators will be in touch to discuss your idea and ways to make it work.
Visit OpenCUNY Activity to keep up on all the public activity happening at OpenCUNY.org.
Current OpenCUNY Coordinators
Room: 5397 | Phone 7887 or 646-926-1796 | zach@OpenCUNY.org
Zach is pursuing a PhD in English at the Graduate Center, CUNY. His research lies at the crossroads of critical pedagogy, writing studies, and the digital humanities. Following a student-centered learning model, Zach’s work integrates process writing pedagogy with open educational resources in an effort to support first-year composition instruction. He is also an advocate for open infrastructure in the context of digital publishing mediums — like CUNY’s installation of Manifold — which aim to democratize academic knowledge through their open-source use of interactive tools and technologies. Before joining The Graduate Center in Fall 2019, Zach worked as an instructional support assistant for SUNY Geneseo, helping adopt and iteratively revise a large-scale OER writing course to supplement the college’s first-year writing program.
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Room: 5397 | Phone: 7887 or 646-926-1796 | Email: paul@OpenCUNY.org
Paul is a doctoral candidate in the English Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He teaches at Queens College. His courses have included English Composition, Great Works of American Literature , Literary History, and Literary Theory. Paul’s dissertation is about early nineteenth century popular maritime literature focusing on the ship as a critical paraspace. His research interests include Critical Race Studies, Transnational Literature, and Queer Theory. Paul is also a Social Media Fellow at the Graduate Center, CUNY. In 2014-2015 he served as co-chair of the English Student Association (ESA) and co-chair of the 2012-2013 ESA Conference. In his teaching, Paul emphasizes democratic pedagogy and open access.
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Kristen Hackett | Environmental Psychology | Coordinator for Planning and Development
Kristen Hackett is pursuing a PhD in the Environmental Psychology Program at the Graduate Center of the City of New York. Her research interests are in housing and community development in NYC, political and social responses to increasing insecurity and precarity and how art and technology can be used in consciousness-raising and resistance efforts and to advocate for community/human-centered policy development.
These interests have guided her past and present research endeavors – including her recent project entitled ‘Walking in My Shoes‘ – as well as her professional pursuits. In this vein, she currently works as a Digital Fellow at the CUNY Gradaute Center, as a Digital Pedagogy Fellow with City Tech’s OpenLab, and as an Adjunct faculty member in the Urban Studies Department at Queens College. Kristen is also the Chair of the Graduate Student Committee of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) (2016/2017).
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Former OpenCUNY Coordinators
Laurie is a doctoral candidate in the Environmental Psychology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research and work falls at the intersection of digital/physical space, pedagogy, and critical university studies. She is interested in the role that technology plays within the university and how technology shapes student learning processes.
She is also an Instructional Technology Fellow at the Macaulay Honors College and a Hybrid Coordinator in Baruch College’s Center for Teaching and Learning. Collaborating with Professor Shelly Eversley, she developed the Equality Archive, an open access resource about the history of sex and gender equality in the United States. She has taught psychology and digital media classes throughout CUNY.
Christina Nadler | Sociology | Coordinator for Organizing and Action
Christina received her PhD in sociology in 2017. Prior to her graduation, she served as Coordinator for Organizing and Action. As the first person to hold this position, created in 2013, she crafted the role and found her place in the community, helping to support many student and student organization’s projects.
During her six-year tenure as Coordinator for Education and Support, Maggie Galvan created and developed systems to provide online and in-person support for participants on OpenCUNY. One of her more visible contributions, the creation of OpenCUNY.info, provided participants with a repository of how-to guides and forms designed to handle FAQ on the platform. She also ran a series of events, from hands-on workshops to collaborations with the Graduate Center’s librarians and Office of Career Planning and Professional Development as well as NYC-based techno activists. From these larger scale projects to the welcome messages she penned each semester, Maggie strove to build OpenCUNY as a socially active platform of engaged participants aware of the changing landscape of the digital world around them. During her time with OpenCUNY, the number of participants more than quadrupled and the number of websites quintupled. For more information on her current digital work and research on 1980s women’s visual culture, visit her personal website.
Gregory Donovan received his Ph.D. in Environmental Psychology and a certificate in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is currently a Senior Instructional Technology Fellow at the Macaulay Honors College, a researcher at the Public Science Project, and a member of the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy’s editorial collective. He has held fellowships at The Center for Place, Culture, and Politics and The Stanton/Heiskell Center for Telecommunication Policy, and has conducted research at The CUNY New Media Lab, The Center for Human Environments, and Sesame Workshop. His research focuses on young people’s everyday development within proprietary information ecologies and operates at the intersection of Urban Studies, Youth Studies, and Media Studies.