Queens College, Con Edison Bring Immigrants Into Civic Life
Queens College (QC) students are participating in a new project, launched with Con Ed’s help, to improve immigrant participation in the borough’s civic life. Funding provided through the Con Edison “Power of Giving” program will assist an Immigration Studies Center, in development at QC, in guiding students this semester as they conduct hands-on research on Participatory Budgeting (PB). PB is a multistage democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of the city’s budget. Through a public vote in March, residents—regardless of their citizenship status—will choose which proposals to fund. Students will conduct interviews with budget delegates, attend meetings, and observe voting by community residents. They will also analyze demographic and election data, as well as capital budget funds. At a recent visit to Queens College, Carol Conslato, director of Con Edison Public Affairs, discussed the details of the Power of Giving program. “We are delighted to partner with Queens College in this opportunity to engage immigrants in the democratic process, and raise awareness among students about ways to increase government responsiveness and accountability in neighborhoods with large immigrant populations,” said Conslato. Con Edison’s Power of Giving program provides financial or in-kind support to organizations whose activities advance strong, vibrant, and stable communities.