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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A Braude Swing Across Campus

Some say that the social scene at UMass Boston is lacking. These people are in a minority – the minority that has never met tennis player Paul Braude.

Braude is on a mission to bring people together, whether it’s at a Beacons tennis match or simply an open Friday night. He knows that UMB has a reputation among some for not having a strong campus vibe for social events. Braude’s goal isn’t necessarily to throw a big party; rather, he focuses on creating a campus unity through friendship that will extend beyond the years all of us spend at UMB.

“He’s a really nice guy that accepts everyone,” sophomore soccer player Lauren Vargas said, who was recently named LEC Defender of the Week. “He brings the students together to meet new people and have a fun time.”

He wasn’t always the popular guy on campus, however. The legend of Paul Braude has grown as he has matured into the person that so many people know today, and his transformation started with a simple, self-given nickname. “When I was a freshman at Southern New Hampshire University, I wasn’t the big Paul on campus,” Braude said. “I was one of many, so as I grew as a student socially, academically and tennis-wise, I figured I would like a title which separated me from the others.” Enter “Paul the Jew.”

Braude gave himself the nickname because he was the only Jewish Paul around campus. It’s not self-deprecating humor or some kind of off-color Jewish “humor.” Instead, this shows Braude’ true personality – nothing is off-limits, and everything about him is open, whether it be his religion, friendships, or even just his Harbor Point apartment door.

“He’s always the one to get something together at his place and invite everyone he knows,” said sophomore soccer player Michelle Cain.

It’s not all about the off-campus life, however. Braude is a dedicated tennis player and a leader in his final year of eligibility. In late-September, Braude won the Eastern Nazarene College Invitational, beating teammate and roommate Eric Pease in the final following quarter and semifinal wins over players from Wentworth Institute of Technology and Gordon College.

“He owns the court,” said softball player Leigh Hammontree. And in Braude’s case, success on the tennis court will translate into a happier night for everyone. Therefore, students should support tennis and other sports as well, Braude says.

“For me, tennis is a party, so the better I do the more fun the night will be,” Braude said. “So everyone better support [the Beacons] in the spring.”

Others around campus appreciate what he does for the athletic programs, in terms of drumming up support and filling stands for Beacon games.

“Paul is the Don King of UMass Boston,” said baseball player Anthony Lauretto. “He’s a great promoter of events.”

One of those events was helping set up UMass United, a new fan club on campus that is set up to bring students out to support all the athletic teams. The program was in its first year of existence last year, and is growing strong this year. Braude’s role was to coordinate events and record data. In addition, he was able to be a chief recruiter because of his popularity on campus.

“He’s so open to people,” said Cain. “It helps that he remembers everyone’s name, too.”

While Braude knows everyone and his escapades reach legendary status, he knows the limits and the rules of living in community and representing the athletic programs well. “He spends more time on his phone than a 14-year-old girl, but he could bring a bull into a china shop and make sure nothing got broken,” Lauretto said. Basically, his popularity knows no bounds, but he is respectful not to cause any long-term damage to his reputation or to those around him.

What would UMB be like without Braude and his off-campus adventures? “There would be no social scene,” said Hammontree. Lauretto took it a step further. UMB without Braude “would be like Gotham City with no Batman – pure chaos,” the right-handed pitcher said.

When asked what he wants his legacy to be, Braude doesn’t want to throw the biggest party or be the most popular person on campus. Instead, he thinks about all the people that got him where he is today.

“I just want everyone to realize that its not the size of the school and the parties, or the concerts or the crazy rituals [that is important], but rather the friends you spend your time with, along with the new friends you meet over four years,” Braude said.