Testimony of Jesse Rueckert
Class of 2013
New York University
Before the New York City Council
For the Public Hearing on the New York University Core Project
June 29, 2012
Dear Chairman Weprin and Fellow Council Members,
My name is Jesse Rueckert, and I am a rising Senior at New York University here to testify in favor of the NYU 2031 plan.
One of the most rewarding things about my experience at NYU is the opportunity that I’ve had to engage intimately with the New York City community, particularly the underprivileged. For the past year and a half, I’ve had a University-funded internship at the Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGBT Youth, where I’ve worked on expanding community awareness of and service to our city’s homeless youth. One of my major projects this year was creating a student advocacy group to actively work to support the homeless youth community. Unfortunately, despite high student interest in the issue, organizing meetings, projects, and activities with on-campus volunteers was made extremely difficult by the lack of University space. With hundreds of student clubs and organizations on campus and an extremely limited amount of meeting spaces, it is often literally impossible to find appropriate space without reserving it months in advance.
Although my advocacy group was able to complete several fundraising and awareness projects during the year, there were many opportunities for us to host lectures, conferences, and other large community events that we were forced to turn down due to lack of space. The University provided our group with an incredible amount of opportunities, support and guidance, but our ability to effectively serve the community was severely limited without the space to fully utilize the University’s resources.
I know I speak for many of my fellow students when I say that one of my favorite things about NYU is its unique, semiotic relationship with the Village and the City at large, and that one of the most valuable experiences I’ve gained from NYU has been becoming a part of the New York City community. Expanding existing University spaces would allow us to build a more dynamic and meaningful relationship with the surrounding community, making our University and our city better, stronger places to live and learn — for everyone.
Thank you for your consideration,
Jesse Rueckert, New York University Class of 2013