In the wake of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s decision to join Boston University’s faculty, members of the BU community said his decision to join BU over other top universities around the Boston area speaks well to the school’s reputation.
Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore said Menino will help students engage in the city not only from a service standpoint, but from a learning standpoint as well.
“I think with a great city, a great university in the city and a great initiative, this [Menino coming to BU] all works out really well,” Elmore said. “We should have the mayor here. Cities are important for conversation right now, and it’s great we got the initiative. I hope what we can get out from a student life standpoint are opportunities for people to really engage in the city.”
Cailin Nolte, a College of Fine Arts sophomore, said the fact Menino chose to join BU over other major universities in the area shows how relevant the school is within not only Boston, but also the entire country. Based on his 20 years of experience as Boston Mayor, Nolte said she expects he will bring new and innovative ideas to the university.
“He’s led a city and been a leader within a pretty influential and fairly large city for a pretty long time,” Nolte said. “… He was well-loved by everyone. He got some things right, obviously, and he has an interesting perspective to bring to that table.”
During his Wednesday press conference, Menino said his ultimate goal is to get young people enthused about the government. Getting involved in the government it is a great way for college-aged kids to learn and make a difference in people’s lives.
“That’s why I’m in the business: to make a difference in people’s lives,” Menino said, “It’s not about monetary value — it’s about how you want to go to bed at night and say ‘jeez, I did something to help people’ … I’ve spent 20 years in education in Boston, and we’ve made progress … and that’s one of the issues I want to stay involved in.”
Menino said he will have an open door on Bay State Road where students and faculty can come and engage in discussions with him.
Natalie Rock, a Sargent College of Rehabilitation Sciences junior, said Menino will be an invaluable asset to the school, as he has a lot of experience and advice to contribute.
“It’s great that he’s deciding to come here,” Rock said. “It’s obviously really great for the school. It’s a good opportunity for the political science majors here to get in touch with him and utilize his experience and wisdom.”
Meagan Bryan, a College of Communication junior, said Menino sees a lot of opportunity for growth at BU, and being involved with the university will help him remain a main figure in the Boston community after he steps down as mayor.
“All he’s done for the city thus far is incredible in itself,” Bryan said. “His reputation is excellent for what he’s gone through in the last year that Boston had … He was the face of Boston during a time when we had to make it work, so he will be able to contribute to those [types of] conversations.”
Stephanie Brown, a COM junior, said Menino’s presence at BU will bring a unique perspective to the university, and will benefit students and members of the BU community across the board.
“Whether you like him or you don’t like him, he has so much experience,” Brown said. “Basically any sort of situation you can think of, from a terrorist attack to race riots, he has been here for and overseen it. Even if you don’t think he made the best choices, he definitely has experience in all ways of being a leader.”