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Alumnus honored for dedication to empowering youth

North­eastern alumnus Peter Petrin has been selected as one of the “Top 24 Under 24 Youth Change­makers” by a bi-​​partisan, youth-​​led ini­tia­tive called the Cam­paign for a Pres­i­den­tial Youth Council. SparkAc­tion, a col­lab­o­ra­tive, non­profit jour­nalism and advo­cacy net­work, curates the Change­makers series.

Petrin, who grad­u­ated in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in polit­ical sci­ence, is cur­rently in Mis­sis­sippi teaching math­e­matics to high school stu­dents through the Teach for America program.

Petrin devoted his col­lege career to youth devel­op­ment, with a par­tic­ular focus on polit­ical engage­ment. He served as a Democ­racy Coach and director of Northeastern’s chapter of Gen­er­a­tion Cit­izen, a non­profit that uses an action civics cur­riculum to teach under­rep­re­sented middle– and high-​​school stu­dents how to become effec­tive citizens.

“I had the oppor­tu­nity to dis­cuss com­mu­nity issues with youth, find out what they saw as the rea­sons for com­mu­nity dis­en­gage­ment, and talk about what we can do about it,” said Petrin. “It was a great chance to focus on the issues I find impor­tant and help youth create solu­tions to the prob­lems they saw.”

In 2012, Petrin was elected pres­i­dent of Northeastern’s Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion. The appoint­ment gave him the chance to put into prac­tice the skills he had been coaching for the past few years.

His proudest accom­plish­ment as SGA pres­i­dent came in the fall of 2012. It was then that he spear­headed the NUVOTES ini­tia­tive, which focused on get­ting col­lege stu­dents to invest in the future of the Greater Boston com­mu­nity and become stake­holders in the demo­c­ratic process.

“We worked on fos­tering a campus envi­ron­ment in which stu­dents were edu­cated on local policy issues,” said Petrin. “It was a fun oppor­tu­nity to bring together dif­ferent areas of campus that don’t usu­ally col­lab­o­rate to work together to accom­plish one goal: ele­vating the power of stu­dent voice.”

Both SparkAc­tion and The Cam­paign for a Pres­i­den­tial Youth Council focus on enhancing the stu­dent voice and view youth as vital stake­holders in the demo­c­ratic process, which directly aligns with Petrin’s long­time pas­sions. The recog­ni­tion is a fit­ting dis­tinc­tion, and one that Petrin takes hum­bled pride in. “It’s def­i­nitely an honor,” he said, “and affirms the impor­tance of working to ele­vate youth voices, and all voices in our democracy.”

by Jordana Torres

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