News: Featured Stories

June 18, 2016

Honors students share revolutionary marketing ideas with Boston Mayor


  • Boston
Honors students at UMass Boston share revolutionary marketing ideas at the second Mayor Symposium.

At City Hall in May, students in the Honors College class Mayor’s Symposium: Branding Boston presented their ideas on how to market the city to companies and international guests.

The students brought pitch books and prototypes to share with Boston Mayor Walsh, Chief of Economic Development John Barros, and their teams. Their tagline was fitting — Boston: the hub of revolutionary thinking.

“The word innovation is all over the place and many cities are claiming innovation – we thought this was one way Boston could claim that in a unique way,” said Chair and Professor of English Cheryl Nixon, the professor for the class.

Over the course of the fall 2015 semester, the 13 students invited by the Honors College to participate in the Mayor’s Symposium broke down facets of Boston, such as health care, education, and history, into chapters, with each chapter including a “Boston first” (a groundbreaking thing that happened in Boston) and a profile on a Bostonian who is making an impact in a particular area of focus.

“[As a city,] what we are most proud of is our combined effort to invest in other people,” said Jungho (John) Lee, an exercise and health sciences major. “People are our greatest assets. We work together to make sure we have opportunities available to everyone and that no one is left behind. We invest in our public schools, we invest in affordable housing, and we strive to provide jobs.”

“It’s a great snapshot in different areas, so I commend you for your work,” Walsh said.

Nixon said the students were also tasked with coming up with an idea for a gift for visitors. She showed Walsh and Barros plateware from the Museum of Fine Arts that features Boston sites around the edge.


“We thought you could imagine something like this being either a beanpot or a chowder bowl, but what might be a nice thing to do would be to think of a local craftsperson that works in pottery to do sort of a Boston-themed bowl, beanpot, or plate like that,” Nixon said. “We were also thinking a way to do that would be to tap into all of the great universities in the area and have design students come up with materials like that.”

Nixon also showed off a prototype of a map which could be placed in the back of a brochure, with free tickets or fact cards inside.

Walsh suggested a map might be incorporated into an app. Environmental science major Rachael Roberts-Toler, who took many of the pictures featured in the pitch book, talked to the mayor about the group’s idea for a digital presence -- a website that would have historical images fading into present-day pictures.

“We’re also thinking about including different community members and interviews with them and soundbites from them,” Roberts-Toler added.

“We really appreciate this opportunity,” Honors College Dean Rajini Srikanth said following the presentation. “And we just hope to continue this relationship.”

“You can have it,” Walsh said.

For the third Mayor’s Symposium this fall, students invited by the Honors College will identify ways to attract young people to work in Boston. During the fall 2014 semester, students created plans to revitalize Dorchester’s Strand Theatre.

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve more than 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit