FREE Software has an important place in teaching both practical skills as well as political and social empowerment. Although the growth of FREE Software has only recently begun to grow as an institutional priority at CUNY, the CUNY-Graduate Center Digital Fellows will share their strategies, failures and plans for the future. Active contributors and maintainers of FOSS projects are encouraged to attend.
Today's City University of New York dates back to the 1847 founding of the Free Academy by Townsend Harris, an early champion of public education and a pioneering diplomat who was the United States' first ambassador to Japan. With an inaugural class of 143 academically qualified young men, the Academy set upon a mission to, in Harris' words, "let the children of the rich and the poor take their seats together and know of no distinction save that of industry, good conduct, and intellect." The university's mission includes promoting social and economic mobility as well as workforce development.