Our Goals: Why Participatory Budgeting?

The Doctoral and Graduate Students’ Council (DSC) aims for Participatory Budgeting (PB) to have the following outcomes:

  1. Open up Spending of Student Activity Fee: Allow students a greater role in spending decisions, and inspire increased transparency throughout CUNY.
  2. Develop New Community Leaders and Infrastructures: Build the skills, knowledge, and capacity of students.
  3. Expand Civic Engagement: Engage more students in activities within the GC community.
  4. Build Community Infrastructure: Inspire students to more deeply engage and invest in the GC community, while also developing a sustainable project to improve the community.
  5. Make Spending More Equitable: Generate spending decisions that are fairer, so resources go where they are needed most.

Ad-hoc Committee on Participatory Budgeting Eligibility

The Ad-hoc Committee on Participatory Budgeting Eligibility will be responsible for overseeing the PB process. The committee will determine which  proposals meet the guidelines for PB eligibility. This committee was initially constituted at the DSC Plenary on September 21, 2018; it must be reconstituted every year at a DSC Plenary meeting, and it must include at least 1 member of the DSO.

  • Membership on this Ad-hoc Committee shall consist of at least 1 DSC Co-chair, 1 member of the Doctoral Students’ Council, and 1 member of the Doctoral Student Organization who is not also a DSC Representative at the time the committee is convened.
  • The budget delegate (applicant) working in conjunction with the Ad Hoc Steering Committee shall conduct the necessary research, organizing, media, online engagement, social media, policy & budgeting, data visualization and design as needed for the project.
  • Promote the Participatory Budgeting process through the press, social media, and other networks, using protocol agreed-upon by the DSC Steering Committee
  • Create and distribute educational and promotional materials about Participatory Budgeting
  • Mobilize broad, inclusive, and proportional community participation
  • When possible, facilitate and observe Voting
  • Evaluate and summarize the extent to which Participatory Budgeting has achieved its goals and communicate insights to the DSC Steering Committee members

Submitting Project Proposals

Proposals can be submitted online and are due no later than February 29, 2020 at 11:59 PM. Please see example of successful project proposals here. Proposals must be submitted online here: https://tinyurl.com/DSCPB2019-20.

Submission Guidelines

The purpose of Participatory Budgeting is to invest in some long-term aspect of the infrastructure at the GC. We are especially looking for projects that could improve the quality of student life for members of underserved communities.

Eligibility for Project Representatives

Those who wish to submit projects, hereafter, “project representatives”, must meet all of the following criteria in order to submit a proposal that will be considered eligible for consideration:

  1. Individuals must be matriculated students in the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semester at the Graduate Center in order to submit a proposal. All DSO members are eligible to apply.
  2. Submissions may be made on behalf of an individual or a group of individuals. If made on behalf of a group, all decision-making individuals must be listed on the proposal.
  3. Project representatives may only submit or be listed on one proposal and no more.

Project Eligibility

While only those statements where eligibility is expressly stated will be considered by the review committee, strong project proposals should take into consideration each of the following points:

  1. Eligible projects should not be redundant with already existing services.
  2. The timelines of eligible projects should be feasible and adhere to the budget restrictions. Projects involving changes to the building infrastructure will need the approval of administrative entities such as the Office of Facilities. Funds will likely not be made available until early April 2020 and will require spending before May 15, 2020. Please bear this in mind when developing your project timeline.
  3. Proposals are encouraged to outline realistic projects with foreseeable outcomes that will significantly improve the quality of student life of the Graduate Center CUNY.
  4. Desirable projects should have the potential to generate sustained effects outside of the spending period.
  5. Projects proposals should make an effort to demonstrate that the project is interdisciplinary (i.e., involving students and resources across multiple programs).


All students registered during the Spring 2020 semester will be eligible to vote.


  • February 29th: Deadline for proposals.
  • March 1st to March 15th: Committee review proposals.
  • March 15th to March 31st: Student voting on proposals.
  • April 1st to May 15th: Spending and implementation.

How to Apply?

Submit a complete proposal, including a link to the proposal document, through the following link http://tinyurl.com/DSCPB2019-20.
Here is a link to the proposal submission document.  In preparing your proposal, you may want to make a copy of this document and use as a template as you draft your proposal.


For questions about the Participatory Budgeting proposal process, please email dsc@cunydsc.org.