By Taylor Coester, Haley Paraday and Annie Mayne
BOSTON – College students from around Boston came to the Howard Thurman Center at Boston University on Friday for the Boston Mayoral Forum with candidates Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu. With less than a week to go before the election, many students commented on how they were hoping to hear about affordable housing, public education and public transportation policies.
BU senior Safin Rouf said despite his leaning towards Wu, he felt both candidates were looking out for the city.
“I think both of them want what’s best for the city in one sense, but at the end of the day, you have to kind of choose what you think is the future rather than just reality,” he said.
Gabriela Reyes, a graduate student at BU, commented before the event on her interest in having a woman of color as mayor.
“It’s not just enough that we have a woman or a woman of color in this position of power,” Reyes said. “What are some of the actions that she wants to implement to actually move Boston to the, you know, the progressive Haven?”
BU students and student government members, Hanna Dworkin and Dhruv Kapadia, mostly enjoyed seeing the human side of each candidate.
“I really liked hearing both of their testimonies about their families and background,” Dworkin said. “[Essaibi George’s] testimony about her father, trying to prove him wrong, and then the [Wu’s] testimony about her children and, like, raising her sisters – that really spoke to me,” Dworkin said.
“I think, like, at the end of the day, like we know so much of their policy,” he said. “It was just nice to get to know them as people rather than just pundits.”
However, not every student at the forum said they supported the candidates. Suffolk student Craig Anderson said he did not support either candidate, but was open to conversation.
“I wouldn’t vote for either, because I’m more on the conservative side,” Anderson said. “But I do like to hear different perspectives.”
His stance on the candidates had not changed after the forum.
“It was good to hear from both candidates. I’m glad that they got to come out and talk to the voters. Still, same position as before – wouldn’t vote for either, but it was certainly very interesting,” he said.
BU Student Government President Nyah Jordan and Vice President Hessan Farooqi were mainly excited about the turnout and student engagement.
“We just had such a good turnout. I think it really speaks well on, not only Boston University students, but college students in general,” Jordan said. “People are getting more civically engaged.”
Farooqi agreed, and said he hoped that the forum helped student involvement in elections.
“That’s really the most important part,” Farooqi said. “Most folks here are not from Boston, may not be registered to vote here, but there’s still a really important part that we can play in these campaigns. And it’s good that we understand that.”