The Humanities Alliance & crafting communities.

Though The City University of New York often advertises itself on buses, subways, and the like as an “indespenisbile institution” that “lifts New York,” navigating its labyrinthine system and bureaucracy can pose a disastrous threat to its students, both current and prospective. Luckily, we have each other. A month ago on October 25th, 2023, I was honored and delighted to have spent part of my afternoon receiving guidance from an assortment of CUNY graduate fellows through CUNY’s Humanities Alliance.

The alliance (which specializes in instructing “Ph.D. students in the most successful methods for teaching humanities courses in some of the country’s most diverse undergraduate classrooms.”) can serve as a much-needed boon to undergraduate CUNY students interested in more intimately engaging in and with philosophy, human history, and the performing and language arts, especially at a time when said subjects and arts seem to be under national attack.

For our schools and universities to survive and thrive, they must be safe, academically sound, rigorous, comprehensive, progressive, accessible, and free (or at the very least affordable for citizens at or below the U.S. poverty level). CUNY campuses are safe, sound, rigorous, comprehensive, and affordable. However, thorough accessibility to and enthusiastic emphasis on the performing arts and other similar subjects remain lackluster, leaving CUNY less able to label itself as progressive honestly.

But with platforms such as the Peer Leaders program and the Humanities Alliance at CUNY, I feel confident that this can potentially change. Learning to properly advocate for the humanities is crucial to ensuring that the next generation can fully enjoy them and see their value. But building a full, dedicated, and warm support network for each and every advocate is even more so. Though we only had a limited amount of time to spend with the fellows, I am supremely glad that we could spend that time in the first place. It reminded me that a probable movement is only as potent as the community that made it, and it’s time for me to start creating my own!

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