Susan Kalaz

Susan Kalaz

PhD Student | Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY)

Susan Kalaz is a PhD student in the English program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). She is a Board Director of Student Organization for Democratic Alternatives (SODA), through which she helped institute the participatory budgeting process at her undergraduate institution, CUNY Queens College. She is also one of the founding members of PB-CUNY, a coalition of the PB processes on four different CUNY campuses, which focuses on fostering the current PB processes, as well as spreading PB throughout the CUNY system.

Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?

Participatory democracy provides a platform where traditionally disenfranchised groups and individuals can feel empowered. Innovations in participatory democracy increase the chances of spreading these processes to such communities and fostering agency within those communities.

What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?

I’m excited to connect with the PB youth organizers that will be present and featured, and seeing how our processes can be improved through each other’s experiences. I’m also looking forward to learning more about other forms of participatory democracy, and finding more ways to be involved in spreading participatory democracy to more communities and institutions.