OpenCUNY: What It Is and My Role
OpenCUNY is a student-based, student-organized, and student-run open-source WordPress platform for The Graduate Center, CUNY community, operated on a day-to-day basis by three graduate student coordinators and advised by a board of four graduate students. On an annual budget of $20,000, we host over 500 websites of 800 graduate students, providing digital infrastructure for teaching and research. Its governance is participatory, meaning that all student participants have a voice and everyone owns their own data. As the Coordinator of Education and Support, I work both on the server level and at the social level, serving as the primary liaison to graduate student participants at The Graduate Center, CUNY.
OpenCUNY & Me: A Brief Institutional History
In Summer 2008, Dr. Gregory T. Donovan founded OpenCUNY, a participatory digital space for students to create academic media, especially critical at the time since there was no easy means for students to develop and publish digital projects at The Graduate Center, CUNY. In December 2010, I joined OpenCUNY as the first Coordinator of Education and Support and was tasked with helping Gregory grow OpenCUNY and developing workshops and online support for its participants. I facilitate community on OpenCUNY, creating & developing OpenCUNY.info, a repository of educational posts; maintaining a private digital archive of documents related to institutional memory; and penning each semester’s welcome message that details platform development and events. In the years since I’ve been part of the project, the number of participants has quadrupled and the number of websites has quintupled. Today, we host over 500 websites of 800 graduate students. I have trained two coordinators on server level operations, as well as on super admin capabilities within WordPress. Collaborating with these coordinators, we have recently completed large projects to ensure the future of OpenCUNY, renewing our participatory governance document, the Terms of Participation in Spring 2015, and redesigning our main website and affiliated websites in Summer 2015.
Updated November 2015.