City Awake, along with partners Microsoft, UMASS Boston, and Edward M. Kennedy Institute will host the first annual ‘Our Convention’ on Friday, October 8 from 1pm to 8pm as part of Boston’s HUBWeek. HUBWeek will bring together the best and brightest in the innovation community to highlight new initiatives in the Greater Boston community! Over 50 of Boston’s young adult-led organizations will convene 350 cross-sector leaders at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute to participate to produce a shared civic agenda for Generation Y. This is an incredible opportunity for cross-pollination, collaboration and overall engagement.
Justin Kang launched City Awake in 2014 to build citywide ecosystems for collective impact through strategic networking, capacity building programming and industry research. To contextualize the potency of City Awake, it is important to note that Boston is home to the largest proportion of young adults of any major US city. Young adults make up more than a third of Boston’s population, with even higher percentages in Cambridge (44.5%) and Somerville (44%). Young adults make up about 45 percent of eligible voters and nearly half the city’s workforce.
Notably, Boston is rapidly changing from a traditional city in New England to a hub for technology and entrepreneurship. “Boston’s young adults are an economic engine, adding $1 billion annually in goods and services to Boston. But even more importantly, Boston’s young adults are committed to the notion of ‘generational responsibility,’” said Justin Kang, CEO and Founder of City Awake. For Kang, this “young energy” is something to be captured and redirected for benevolent purposes. Specifically, Kang noted, “Boston’s vibrant, young civic leadership community is hungry for ways to create lasting change, and “Our Convention” is step one to bringing all of these leaders together and formalizing a blueprint for change.”
During “Our Convention”, the 350 delegates will collaborate in rapid prototyping sessions focused on different local issues facing Greater Boston, such as transportation and housing. Each topic will have a direct liaison to the appropriate channel to guarantee their recommendations are meaningfully considered as part of citywide discussions. Following Our Convention, all recommendations will be compiled and included as part of a briefing book and will be shared with elected officials, industry leaders, issue experts and the broader community.
At Microsoft New England, there is a similar mantra of encouraging engagement amongst youth interested in STEM. The Technology and Civic Engagement team noted that, “Microsoft cares deeply about engaging and equipping the next generation to create change in their communities. By building an ecosystem broadly and around issues, City Awake is positioned to connect organizations to find collaborative solutions around pressing social issues.” Microsoft New England is also sponsoring sessions during HubWeek to engage the community in discussions about STEM opportunities in education. HUBWeek will amass power-players from a multitude of disciplines to brainstorm how to catalyze change.