Category Archives: Blog

Introducing Zack Wilks

Zack Wilks, the Urban Democracy Lab’s summer intern, will be taking on the duties of blog editor this summer.  Zack is a rising junior at Vassar College, where he is pursuing a major in American Studies. He describes himself as “super interested in DIY music scenes, particularly the tricky relationship between art scenes and gentrification.” He’s written for Impose Magazine and the Exploding In Sound music blog.

As the UDL’s public programs are on hiatus until we return in the fall, Zack will be sharing interviews with community leaders, scholars, and our summer fellows, as well as reporting on important events related to the UDL’s work.  Watch out for his excellent summaries and keen eye for detail.

Welcome, Zack!

Visualizing Tenant Activism: A Report from Our March 10 Event

nyc-apartmentsThe issues of tenants’ rights and affordable housing in New York City have become more visible in the past few years as rents have skyrocketed and long-term renters have been displaced. Chris Hendrick, an MFA candidate at Parsons, The New School for Design, and Claudia Prat, an M.A. candidate at the Studio 20 Journalism program at NYU, have taken that visibility to a new level. Continue reading

Volunteer for Democracy 2.1

Former UDL staffer and overall guru of civic engagement, Asher Novek, is now working for this great project.  Reach out to him if you’re interested in volunteering.

Democracy 2.1 ( is seeking volunteers with a strong interest in public policy to help run the first US based experiment alongside New York City Councilmember staff, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Councilmember Benjamin Kallos, and Councilmember Brad Lander.  D21 is an innovative anti-corruption voting model, designed by activist Karel Janecek and tested in cities around the world including London, Cambridge, Paris, and Vienna.  D21 is testing the voting system in New York City with the help of the New York City Council and the Participatory Budgeting Project to test an experiment during the coming Participatory Budgeting cycle.

We are seeking volunteers to help run the experiment in council districts around New York City.  Volunteers will work closely with the D21 team to implement the testing software and work with constituents coming out to vote.  Apply now for volunteer opportunities available in the week of April 11th-19th in districts around New York City.

A stipend to cover transportation and food will be provided, as well as a free t-shirt and invitation to our “wrap” party, once Participatory Budgeting ends.
Please email if you are interested.

Competition Open for 2015-2016: Murphy Institute’s Scholarship for Excellence and Diversity in Labor

Our good friends at the Murphy Institute (CUNY) have opened competition for this year’s Scholarship for Excellence and Diversity in Labor.  As you may know, this scholarship was designed to foster a more diverse leadership in the labor movement and also in the academic field of Labor Studies.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015-16 academic year. The Institute is hoping to attract those who desire education for social change, particularly those who aspire to leadership careers in labor and related fields. Applicants should come from underrepresented constituencies, including people of color, ethnic minorities, and women.

The scholarship is substantial: up to $30,000 for graduate students and up to $20,000 for undergraduates. Applications for the 2015-16 academic year can be found online here. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2015. Additional information about the scholarship can be found on the Murphy Institute’s website here.

If you or a potential candidate needs more information regarding the scholarship and the application process —please contact the Scholarship Coordinator, Dr. Janet Leslie, at 212-642-2083 or