The City University of New York –

The City University of New York will host the annual Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN) Convening on October 28-29 at the CUNY Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island St. George in partnership with the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. The network, which formed in 2019, is a partnership of colleges and universities committed to applying technological skills, knowledge, design and practice to questions of individual rights, justice, social welfare and the public good. 

New America, a nonpartisan public policy think tank and action organization, formed PIT-UN in partnership with the Ford Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation.

“Having served the public interest for 175 years, it makes sense that CUNY, the country’s largest and most diverse urban public university system, is hosting this national event,” said Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “CUNY’s engagement with PIT-UN provides an opportunity to inspire and support innovations in interdisciplinary education and scholarship. CUNY and PIT-UN’s shared commitment to equity and social justice, curricular innovation and workforce development has blossomed into a productive partnership in this field-building enterprise.” 

“CUNY is so proud to host the national convening of PIT-UN. Ensuring that technology can deliver solutions for the public good is crucial, and interdisciplinary research, curriculum development and demonstration projects are core to this mission. The results will be a positive catalyst for social justice in vital areas like climate, health and economic mobility,” said Tamera Schneider, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor and university vice provost of research. “CUNY shows how innovative research and curricula can elevate student voices to solve challenges in their own communities. We are eager to help model this approach for leaders throughout higher education, in cooperation with PIT-UN and its member schools.” 

Inspired by Tech’s Potential

The notion of using technology to build bridges and heighten awareness among communities that have been underserved economically and academically inspired CUNY to become one of PIT-UN’s founding members in March 2019. Since then, more than 25 faculty members from both senior and community colleges have received funding for projects from the Network’s annual Challenge Grant competition. 

This year’s Convening co-chairs are Effie MacLachlan, Ph.D., director of grants and research programs in the Office of Research at CUNY and PIT-UN university designee, and College of Staten Island professor Katie Cumiskey, Ph.D., who is the recipient of more than $235,000 of Challenge Grant funding to build the PIT@CSI program and the CUNY PIT Lab. Last year, $3.61 million in PIT-UN Challenge Grants were awarded to 31 recipients; the awards were given exclusively to faculty at PIT-UN’s member institutions. 

The two-day PIT-UN Convening seeks to inspire the next generation of technologists working as engineers, designers, computer and data scientists and those interested in using their technological skills in service of the public good. The Convening will feature two dynamic keynote speakers, Julian Brave NoiseCat and Ingrid LaFleur, whose work spans policy, technology, journalism, culture, art, activism and advocacy. These speakers will support the event’s focus on climate justice, food justice and racial justice. 

To learn more about the two-day program and view the agenda, visit here. To register, visit here.

The Public Interest Technology University Network is a partnership of 48 colleges and universities convened by New America, the Ford Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation. The network and challenge grants are funded through the support of the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Mastercard Impact Fund, with support from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, The Raikes Foundation, Schmidt Futures and The Siegel Family Endowment. PIT-UN is dedicated to building the field of public interest technology through curriculum development, faculty research opportunities, and experiential learning programs, in order to inspire a new generation of civic-minded technologists and policy leaders. 

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving over 243,000 undergraduate and graduate students and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.

By The City University of New York