Category Archives: Blog

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

Introducing UDL Blogger Melissa Bean

Earlier this fall, the Urban Democracy Lab welcomed writer Melissa Bean as our chief blogger. Born in Rochester, New York, Melissa earned her B.A. at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study in May 2014. Her concentration, entitled Deviance and Social Control: Realities and Representations, combined an in-depth study of sociology, literature, and psychology, allowing her to take an interdisciplinary approach to questions of social regulation. Melissa is also a creative writer whose fiction has appeared in Scissors and Spackle, Literary Orphans, and The Gallatin Review. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A in Fiction at New York University.

Over the next several months, Melissa will be speaking with activists, scholars, artists, filmmakers, community organizers, and other changemakers who are helping us all think more creatively and sustainably about what urban democracy looks like. She will uncover the motivations and challenges that have helped shape her subjects. And, crucially, she will ask these important leaders to tell us what tools are necessary to advance our shared goal of a just and thriving urban future.

Please join us in welcoming Melissa Bean to the Urban Democracy Lab!