Northeastern Crossing was formally unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday afternoon, when President Joseph E. Aoun, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and City Councilor Tito Jackson joined members of the campus and Boston communities to celebrate the latest partnership between the university and city.
Northeastern Crossing, which is located on Tremont Street, is the university’s first formal venue dedicated to fostering dialogue, creative collaboration, and new connections between city residents and Northeastern faculty, staff, and students.
Aoun, in his remarks at the ceremony, said he views Northeastern Crossing “as an innovation hub for the community, with the community.” He said community members as well as Northeastern students, faculty, and staff will all benefit from these collaborations.
“When this community succeeds, we all succeed,” Aoun said, “and that’s really why we are here.”
Walsh said Northeastern Crossing exemplifies what he called the university’s leadership as a “connector,” pointing to its signature co-op program that places students in real-world work experiences in 128 countries worldwide.
“I want to thank Northeastern for sharing this wonderful resource with our city,” Walsh said,” and I want to thank them for their continued partnership with the city of Boston on encouraging people to get engaged.”
Walsh added that the space will inspire dialogue and creativity in many ways, including those aimed at the city’s Imagine Boston 2030 initiative.
“We want our students not only to be educated here, but we also want them to call Boston as their second home,” he said. “We want them to engage in the city and be part of the dialogue in how they can work on how this city is growing and changing.”
When this community succeeds, we all succeed, and that’s really why we are here.
— President Joseph E. Aoun
Walsh also recognized Mabel Gonzalez Nunez, a freshman and Torch Scholar at Northeastern, who served for four years on the Mayor’s Youth Council. The student, who is from Boston’s Mattapan neighborhood, described how opportunities such as the youth council and getting involved in city community centers “gave me the platform to become deeply involved with my community and tackle issues that were preventing other young people like myself from succeeding.”
“This space that we are here to celebrate today is an example of the type of community collaboration that makes me proud to be a student here at Northeastern,” she said, “and I look forward to watching the use of the space bring additional life and vibrancy to campus and the surrounding community.”
Derek Lumpkins, a community leader and former director of Discover Roxbury, is running Northeastern Crossing as director of neighborhood partnerships and programs. The multi-use space offers a range of benefits, from co-working opportunities to hosting events. The space includes an open lounge, an Internet counter with four computers as well as WiFi access, a conference room, and a lecture room with multimedia equipment.
Northeastern Crossing will also display the work of local artists.
I look forward to watching the use of the space bring additional life and vibrancy to campus and the surrounding community.
— Mabel Gonzalez Nunez, a freshman and Torch Scholar
Jackson said the center will continue to strengthen ties between Northeastern and the community, and he hopes that the resources and dialogue that exist there will help close the gaps in education and wealth disparities among Boston’s communities.
“Higher education brings people higher, and we want to make sure the people who live across the street also are taken to that next level,” said Jackson, looking out onto Tremont Street where Northeastern Crossing is located at the edge of the Roxbury neighborhood.
Jackson said that while Northeastern’s international presence and profile has grown, the university remains committed to the communities surrounding campus, noting its investments and programs focused on buying from local businesses and connecting community members with employment opportunities.
“We have an opportunity right now to seize the day and to have a model that you don’t see in any other place in this country and in this city,” he said,” and that’s based on the partnership that we have here today.”