Now these leaders are retiring from the scene, making room for new talent. “The baby boomers took up a lot of space,” says Stephanie Pol­lack, who teaches public policy and urban affairs at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity. “They stayed in public life and owned it for years.” With the chan­nels clearing, Pol­lack sees a hunger in her stu­dents to make a dif­fer­ence in the city many have adopted as home. “They want to influ­ence the future, not just be pas­sive con­sumers of the city,” she says.

At North­eastern, grad­uate stu­dents worked with Boston offi­cials to develop the tech­nology that allows food stamp recip­i­ents to buy pro­duce at farmer’s mar­kets with their elec­tronic ben­efit cards. Another group worked with the city of Quincy to re-​​imagine the Quincy Center MBTA sta­tion. “These stu­dents are great, and truly engaged,” said Christo­pher Bosso, the North­eastern pro­fessor who oversaw many of these projects. “The next mayor needs to main­tain these con­nec­tions and expand on them.”

 

 

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