The CUNY Peer Leaders program (CPL) supports and teaches City University of New York Undergraduate (CUNY) students from across two and four year campuses, leadership and mentorship skills that they in turn use to create pathways for Humanities based scholarship with a core component on a culture of care and social justice. This program is a new iteration that has blended elements from both the Futures Initiative Undergraduate Leadership Program and the LaGuardia Mellon Humanities Scholars

“We all come from different backgrounds and campuses but have a similar goal,
and bring our experiences together in a way that only we as a community can. ”



17 out of 21 undergraduate CUNY schools are represented in our program.



86% notice an increase in their confidence and ability to participate in academic spaces.

“I felt part of a close-knit community where everyone supports, encourages and inspires each other. I feel that after each meeting I learned something new to improve as a person and as a scholar.”

“We talk about programs that can change the world for the better. This is definitely one of those programs that will change the world one student at a time.”



92% find our bi-weekly meetups beneficial.



100% value our culture of care
(check-ins and wellness exercises).

“The safe space that this program provides is one that I haven’t had in my life. You can be a part of a group that is committed to providing you opportunities to grow, spaces to be yourself, and on top of that a stipend in these turbulent times.“

The CUNY Peer Leaders program began in Fall 2020 through the CUNY Humanities Alliance  (CHA) which is a project at the Graduate Center that connects doctoral students to humanities teaching and learning experiences at CUNY’s community colleges.  

Thanks to generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we welcome 40 undergraduate students annually. During the program, CUNY Peer Leaders have the opportunity to attend an annual kick-off and start of the program where they learn important resources that will aid them in their service as a CPL. Students attend bi-weekly meet-ups in person at the CUNY Graduate Center and remotely designed to explore various themes and topics including social justice issues, social and emotional wellness, health disparities, as well as academic and professional development. Students also will write a portfolio of public writing pieces on the program blog, attend cultural and enrichment outings and develop a humanities themed project that is displayed in a remote or in person showcase at the end of the year. 

It is our hope that as students participate in the different components of this program, it will be the first steps toward a year-long effort to develop and strengthen their leadership and mentoring skills in order to seize new possibilities in their personal and professional lives. 

In their role as leadership fellows we hope that they will not only build on these newfound talents and strengths for their own advancement, but also share them with their peers at their respective colleges, future careers and endeavors.