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Brewer Welcomes 15 CUNY Service Corps Students to Help Communities Navigate NYC Data

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 15, 2014

New York, N.Y. – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer today is welcoming 15 student members of the CUNY Service Corps who will work to help the BP’s office and Manhattan’s Community Boards navigate City data in ways that help neighborhoods make informed decisions and ensure City government is truly transparent.

“I was proud to sponsor NYC’s Open Data Law while in the Council, but that was only the first step. The wealth of City data available online needs to be made usable,” Brewer said. “Simply dumping data on the internet does not qualify as transparency. These technology interns – who will be with us the entire school year – will help both our office and our Community Boards navigate City data so that New Yorkers can use the data in meaningful ways and ask informed questions of our agencies and officials. Generous thanks to CUNY for making this exciting program possible!”

“We are so proud to welcome these 15 students,” said Aldrin Rafael Bonilla, Deputy Borough President for Community and Borough Operations. “With their expertise, we’ll be able to not just retrieve and access vital City information, but also create ways to visualize it – through spreadsheets, graphs, neighborhood mapping, and other organizational means – and get it to our Community Board chairs, district managers, and committee chairs. This way, our Boards can make informed decisions about planning, development, and land-use, armed with data on everything from demographics, to number of school seats, to safety statistics, and so on.”

“The Service Corps is about mobilizing CUNY’s talented students to give back to New York City, and we are very excited about our partnership with the Borough President’s Office,” said Rachel Stephenson, University Director of the CUNY Service Corps. “CUNY is thrilled that our Service Corps members will be working in Gale Brewer’s office and alongside the City’s Community Boards – our students will learn important lessons about what civic engagement looks like on the ground and how everyday New Yorkers can shape City policy.”

CUNY funds the wages of the students in the Service Corps program. By providing on-the-ground support to a wide range of non-profit and civic endeavors, the CUNY Service Corps both increases the availability of valuable services to New Yorkers and enables CUNY students to become more engaged in their communities throughout the city. Service Corps members are part of a University cohort of students from eight CUNY colleges practicing service that is aligned with their civic and professional goals. As a group, the Service Corps members include both college-age and older, non-traditional students. Many are also active in CUNY student government as well as professional societies. They will work 12 hours weekly – either three days a week for four hours a day or two days a week for six hours a day – for 24 weeks during the 2014-15 academic year.

The Service Corps students begin today and will work both at the BP’s Municipal Building office at 1 Centre Street and the BP’s Northern Manhattan constituent services office on West 125th Street, helping track and streamline constituent requests. Manhattan’s Community Boards are submitting applications for intern assignments, which will be made in the coming weeks.