UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

We care about your voice: We can help it be heard!

Olivia Reid
Students sit at a table in the Integrated Sciences Complex. Photo by Olivia Reid / Mass Media Staff

Welcome students and staff—whether returning or arriving for the first time—to UMass Boston! My name is James, he/him/his, and I’m exceedingly happy to begin serving the UMass Boston community as its new Opinions Section Editor. Over the course of my time here, I hope to really shine the spotlight on you all: the student body. This week, I’d like to encourage everyone to make their voices heard, get involved and especially write for The Mass Media, Writ Large and The Watermark.
All of us at The Mass Media are particularly excited for this upcoming semester and year, despite the brutal and distressing summer we have all endured—both on a socio-political level and on the climate crisis front. One reason I am optimistic is because I believe we can bring a lot of critical engagement to the newspaper—stuff the student body really does, and should, care deeply about—while also developing an open, revolving door with the student body at large and encouraging involvement with the UMass Boston community. I, like you maybe, came to UMass Boston having little experience in civic engagement, school engagement or publishing. The decisions to begin volunteering, joining clubs, writing for the paper and more, were some of the best decisions I have ever made: And UMass Boston is a great place for such engagement.
The past few years have been exceedingly difficult for everyone to be sure, especially during school semesters. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives in a major way, and it seems that, for many, our social and academic lives are in a sort of limbo. On a more local level, the campus construction, Wheatley Hall, rebranding debacles, and the unfair treatment of graduate students and staff members have dampened a lot of optimism in our community. Last semester, I heard from students and professors alike that things were just “off,” and that people were just struggling to get back into the swing of things, in general. Then, after all of that, the events of this past summer further darkened the skies ahead of us.
Ever since political scientist Robert D. Putnam published “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital” in 2000, serious discussion has been dedicated to the idea that “civic engagement”—political or social organization membership, volunteering, labor union membership, etc.—is precipitously decreasing. While there is much legitimate skepticism about this idea as an inexact generalization, the events of the past few years sure seem to have triggered a hopefully temporary pandemic of social isolation at the very least.
At UMass Boston, we have seen an unusually low rate of active membership in clubs and organizations, and at The Mass Media we have marked a noticeable decrease in contributing writers from the general student and employee bodies across all of our publications. This is sad, and it doesn’t need to be this way. We know for a fact that you all have strong opinions and important, newsworthy information within areas that we might miss: everybody does, with no exceptions! Many of you have made your voices heard in other ways, and we at The Mass Media notice and hear you, always. That is why I make this multi-part pitch to you all:

  1. Come talk to or email us, anytime. We want to hear from you, and we take your feedback to heart.
  2. Send us articles you’ve written and our section editors will work with you to publish them.
  3. Send us creative writing pieces for The Watermark—or long-form, academically researched op-eds for Writ Large—and we will work with you to publish them.
  4. Let us know about important upcoming events, issues and topics that you want us to cover; we can’t do this job without support from the student body.
  5. Get involved with student organizations and clubs; they need the help and we need the insight!

Together we can bring about the issue awareness and positive change that all of us at UMass Boston deserve.
So, if you want to get involved, a great way to start is by contacting us at The Mass Media. Come visit us at the very back of room, 3400, on the third floor of the Campus Center, or email us at [email protected]. If you would like to write an article for the Opinions Section, send me an email at [email protected] or come find me at the office.
This is only the beginning though; there are many more ways to get involved, such as by joining a club or organization, or simply just supporting events, protests and more. For example, our local student-run Public Interest Research Group, MassPIRG, works towards important goals such as affordable textbooks, clean energy, food for low-income communities and people experiencing homelessness and more. We also have a wonderful Queer Student Center—also in room 3400 on the third floor of the Campus Center—and a whole array of exciting cultural organizations which you can find on the school website under “Organizations”. And, of course, there are plenty of social clubs as well, such as the UMass Boston Gaming Club, which can often be found in the game room on the first floor of the Campus Center.
So please, get involved: and get the most out of your time at UMass Boston, while making a real difference at the same time.

About the Contributor
Olivia Reid, Photo Editor