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Introducing Amanda Hudson
Introducing Amanda Hudson

Amanda Hudson is a Doctoral Researcher in Participatory Democracy & Creative Community Development, Student Fellow and Community Coordinator for the Institute for Sustainable Solutions.

Tell us about yourself.

I am from Southern California originally. I completed my undergraduate degree in English and Writing from Southern Oregon University. I am currently working on my Ph.D. in Urban Studies, with a focus on community development and popular education. My dissertation looks at Participatory Budgeting, a participatory democratic process that allows residents to propose, design, and issue a binding vote using public funds. I am fascinated by the potential for participatory processes to increase people's civic capacity and their sense of empowerment. I am also interested in how participatory processes make use of nonconventional methods of engagement such as play and arts-based approaches. Outside of my research, I work as the community coordinator for the Student Fellows, and I am a project manager for Participatory Budgeting Oregon, where I design research and training to aid in the effort to launch the first Participatory Budgeting process in Oregon.

What drew you get involved with the Student Fellows program in the first place? 

I was drawn to the Student Fellows because I believe that the hardest part of being a student happens outside the classroom. In order to thrive and connect the knowledge we are accumulating, we have to build connections with our peers and create communities of support and collaboration. It is so easy to get overwhelmed or burnt out if we don't have opportunities to apply our knowledge, or people with which to collaborate to collectively envision meaningful systems change. Thus, I have the great pleasure of overseeing, growing, and nurturing this community by creating events and programs to connect students and provide them opportunities to gain meaningful experiences. 

What sustainability issues do you spend the most time thinking about? 

I love to think about sustainable governance and systems, particularly what does sustainable civic engagement and democracy look like? Our current models leave a lot to be desired. They concentrate power and create inherently unsustainable and inequitable balances of resources. How can we reform, or completely redesign, decision-making processes that are participatory and just; systems that don't rely on solely on experts and professional politicians, but also don't require exorbitant amounts of time and personal sacrifice? I think there are a lot of great examples, but the challenge is dismantling the status quo, and providing people opportunities to be a part of participatory processes so that they can begin to imagine alternatives.

If you could invite anyone (living or dead) to a holiday dinner party, who would be on your guest list? 

I joke that I host a podcast in my head on Feminist Fantasy, so my dream dinner party would be to assemble my favorites to discuss dismantling white supremacy, patriarchy, and imperialism in fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction (you know, just light dinner conversation). I would invite N.K. Jemisin, Nnendi Okarafor, Kameron Hurley, Ami McKay, Erika Johansen, Kat Howard, Katherine Arden, Zen Cho, and of course, Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler, and Ursula LeGuin. 

What's your favorite spot on PSU's campus? 

In the summer, I love to take my kids to the fountain in front of Hoffman Hall. For hanging out, or writing, I am a big fan of the many great spots in the Karl Miller center, especially the eco-roofs.