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Campus buzzes with excitement during Parent and Family Weekend

President Aoun converses with students during a game-show style event as part of Parent & Family Weekend. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Husky Pride and family bonding were in full effect this weekend, as more than 5,000 students and family members—from 25 countries and nearly all 50 states—attended athletic events and performances, toured the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex and the Marine Science Center in Nahant, Massachusetts, and learned about research, co-op, and other experiential learning opportunities.

And the sunny, fall weather allowed for taking a lot of family photos throughout campus to capture the memories.

One of the signature events took place Saturday morning, when hundreds of guests filled Blackman Auditorium for a game-show style event hosted by Double Husky Binja Basimike, BHS’12, MPH’13. The event featured six students—three pairs of siblings—with experiences representing much of what Northeastern can offer. They shared their best stories with President Joseph E. Aoun who joined the group on stage.

Photos by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Louis Dumortier, DMSB’18, who is from Belgium, said connecting with other international students helped him tremendously his freshman year. “There is so much diversity in this school that you’re going to find a group of people or a shared interest with others that you’re really going to be able to settle in very quickly,” he said.

Andrew Hughes, E’21, encouraged students in attendance to try Northeastern’s club sports, noting that he plays on the lacrosse team. His older brother, Peter Hughes, DMSB’18, discussed his current co-op at Bluewolf, an IBM Company, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where his work involves software consulting. “It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s been invaluable,” he said.

Carly Parlato, E’18, also underscored the value of co-op. The senior mechanical engineering major has worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Google. She said the real-world experience she’s gained through co-op and working on Northeastern’s Hyperloop team has prepared her well for her engineering career after graduation, when she will begin a full-time position at SpaceX. “When you do that a couple of times, at 22, you’re at a different level,” she said of the value of co-op. “And companies who need you to work fast and innovate, they recognize that. I’ve heard it a thousand times: ‘We love Northeastern students.’”

Aoun also discussed his new book, Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, in which he proposes a way to educate the next generation of college students to invent, to create, and to discover—to fill needs in society that even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence agent cannot. This involves mastering new literacies: technological literacy, data literacy, and human literacy. In his book, he lays out a framework for a new discipline—humanics—that builds on our innate human strengths and prepares students to compete in a labor market in which smart machines work alongside human professionals.

Aoun talked about the growing demand for lifelong learning as 80 percent of all learners today are non-traditional. He said colleges and universities must embrace lifelong learning as a part of their central mission rather than an ancillary endeavor. He pointed to the myriad ways Northeastern is addressing this challenge, including by developing new programs, working with industry partners, growing its multi-campus network in the U.S. and abroad, and leveraging its global leadership in experiential education to provide learners—from undergraduates to working professionals looking to acquire new skills—with greater flexibility and more personalized educational offerings.

“Networked for life means that you are going to be a Husky for the rest of your life,” Aoun said. “The university is going to be with you wherever you are, virtually and physically. The age of artificial intelligence is going to request, to require, that we all become robot-proof and that’s the mission of the university.”

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