Statement of Lilly Padia
Bachelor of Arts in Metropolitan Studies, Class of 2011
New York University
Before the New York City Council
For the Public Hearing on the New York University Core Project
June 29, 2012
My name is Lilly Padia. I moved to New York City from Oakland, California in 2007 to attend New York University. I received my bachelor’s degree in metropolitan studies in 2011. I am now a NYC resident and live on West 106th Street in Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito’s district.
During my undergraduate work at New York University I had the opportunity as a work study student in the Office of Community Service to work with hundreds of non-profit agencies and public schools. I worked as a community service liaison, leading students in their service initiatives. I painted homeless shelters, weeded parks, stirred soups, visited seniors and tutored inner-city youth. It was these experiences that led me to a career in education. I am currently a NYC Teaching Fellow, in fact I just finished my first year on Wednesday! I teach kindergarteners with Autism in the Hillman Children’s Center on Hillman Avenue in the Bronx.
I was also involved in dozens of activities every semester, working in an office which provided advisement to community service student clubs. I worked closely with Best Buddies, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities by pairing high school and college students with buddies for one on one friendships and group outings. NYU has one of the largest chapters in the country. In addition I worked with clubs who conduct blood drives with the New York Blood Center, provide free blood pressure screening to senior citizens, raise funds and awareness for individuals living with HIV/AIDs, collect useable leftovers from dining halls and deliver to local soup kitchens, just to name a few. The biggest challenge I faced during these assignments was finding a place to hold activities. Students are always scrambling, competing for spaces to host programs. NYU is greatly in need of space, near Washington Square, to continue to serve the organizations to which students bring so much talent. We start planning nearly 18 months in advance just to ensure we have spaces – even then we only secure about half the space we need. We improvise, the New York Blood Center brings in mobile vans – the drives don’t do as well, but it is all we can do. We take the Senior Citizens to an off-campus location for their annual Valentine’s Day Prom, which is not the same as inviting them to the university, and our student budgets do not go as far.
I know it appears that the university has a lot of real estate, but when I would try to find a study spot in Bobst Library I would sometimes walk around for an hour before I could find a desk. The university is over capacitated in every building. Any college student will tell you, walking from the library at 2 AM, when you are tired and distracted to a dorm 20 blocks away, is unsettling. Trying to get from a class on Mercer and Houston to a class on East 12th Street in 15 minutes is a bit hectic, and going any further would be impossible.
I am here today, proud and grateful for the education and experiences provided by NYU and aware that the university desperately needs more space. I am here to ask the City Council to please support NYU 2031 and ensure that future classes have the rich opportunities I have had and the space to provide all they can to our non-profit neighbors and friends.