CUNY SPS Draws Record Virtual Turnout and Support on #CUNYTuesday

CUNY SPS student holding #CUNYTuesday sign

On December 1, 2020, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) hosted its annual fundraising event in honor of #CUNYTuesday, the University-wide day of giving inspired by the global generosity movement GivingTuesday. In record-breaking highs for both turnout and support, more than 120 members of the CUNY SPS community attended the virtual event and over $110,000 was raised to support the School.

This year, the featured #CUNYTuesday event was an online career panel entitled Inclusive Workplaces and Career Development: How Inclusive Workplaces Lead to Better Career Outcomes. Organized jointly by the CUNY SPS Offices of Alumni Relations and Career Services, the panel explored the need for and value of inclusivity in the workplace.

Kelsey Richardson, CUNY SPS career advisor, moderated the panel discussion, which featured members of the CUNY SPS community. Panelists included alumni Lattina Brown (BS in Business ’18); Elaine Montilla (MS in Business Management and Leadership ’15); Steven Dupré, (BA in Communication and Media ’14), who is also a member of the CUNY SPS Foundation Board of Directors; and student Phara Souffrant Forrest (BS in Nursing), who is a member-elect of the New York State Assembly. 

During the one-and-a-half-hour event, Richardson facilitated a spirited and insightful conversation about inclusivity in the workplace, and ways to address systemic racial inequity in careers and workplaces. In response to questions posed by both Richardson and the audience, panelists shared their own expertise and offered suggestions for ways that attendees could empower themselves in their own workplace. 

Throughout the discussion, one common thread stressed by the panelists was the need for community. In particular, Brown urged students to stay in touch and advocate for each other when possible. “It’s all about uplifting one another, being supportive, giving each other advice… That connection should still continue to happen after we graduate. You need someone you can talk to, who can be your ear, be your voice. … So my advice to CUNY SPS students is—always have a friend. Connect with your classmates, and connect with alumni.”

Similarly, Forrest encouraged students to reach out to their community for support when they need it. “I’m still a student now, but I’m hoping to graduate this semester. The reason why I have gotten so far because closed mouths don’t get fed. …So if you need help, go and talk to your professor. Talk to your advisor.” urged Forrest. “I have reached out to everybody I can at CUNY SPS, both inside and outside my department, and this is why I can be a state assembly-elect, working, and a wife and a student, and still manage to have time to sit on this call right now.”

In addition to the turnout, #CUNYTuesday also drew a record number of donations. Though CUNY SPS had originally set an ambitious fundraising goal of $70,000, that number had been quickly surpassed by the end of the day. As of the time of this writing, more than $118,000 has been raised to support CUNY SPS students, with gifts still being counted. Those interested in making a donation online may still do so by visiting #CUNYTuesday website.

About the CUNY School of Professional Studies

For over 15 years, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) has been leading online education in New York. Offering the most online Bachelor’s and Master’s degree options at the City University of New York, CUNY SPS meets the needs of adults who are looking to finish a bachelor’s degree, progress from an associate’s degree, earn a master’s degree or certificate in a specialized field, and advance in the workplace or change careers.

The School’s growth has been remarkable, with twenty-four degrees launched since 2006. Enrollment has risen by more than 30% in the last four years to over 4,000 students in the credit-bearing programs and thousands more who are enrolled in non-degree and grant-funded workplace learning programs. In addition, the School has an active Alumni network and has established the CUNY SPS Foundation, which offers multiple scholarship opportunities to current students.

CUNY SPS has been ranked in the nation’s top 5% by U.S. News & World Report for the past six years, most recently in its list of the 2020 Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs, making CUNY SPS the highest nationally listed program in New York State and New York City.

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