UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston’s Andrea Macone Nominated for Annual Spark Impact Award


Christian Arthur (left), Andrea Macone (center), and Lina Abdalla (right)

Spark Boston, which was formerly known as ONEin3, was launched by Mayor Marty Walsh. It is an initiative that seeks to explore ways in which Boston’s millennial population can be better incorporated with the city. Each year, the city identifies and celebrates the contributions of millennials with the Annual Spark Impact Award. This year, Andrea Macone was nominated for an Annual Spark Impact Award.

This year’s award reflected a variety of ways millennials have taken on the role of being leaders and change-makers. Macone was nominated in the category of Activism and Issue Advocacy as a result of her work with the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Recovery Task Force group. She is one of over 100 millennials to be nominated this year.  She works in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at UMass Boston, and she is a graduate student in the American Studies program as well as an Emerging Leaders Fellow within the College of Management’s Center for Collaborative Leadership. In addition, she is the chair of the UMass Boston’s Recovery Task Force.

The Recovery Task Force is described as a “collaborative forum of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, [that] seeks to create a safe and open environment for campus community members in or seeking recovery and their allies.” The Recovery Task Force’s aim is to eliminate the stigma that is attached to addiction. It also aims to support individuals in their academics, as well as professional and personal growth; in advising key stakeholders; and also in engaging with the environment.

Christian Arthur, a fellow board member of the UMass Boston Recovery Task Force, wrote in a status posted on Facebook on Nov. 12 about Macone: “I’ve seen firsthand her thoroughness as a coordinator, her exactitude as a policy analyst, and most importantly, her compassion. Please consider voting for this young leader, who has emerged to fight the opioid crisis and reverse stigma.”

Many may wonder what motivates Macone, and why she is so heavily focused on addiction. She admits that she, too, is in recovery, and this is what drives her. Her motivation lies within the fact that she can “keep [her] recovery by sharing it with others.” She hopes to someday see a world where there is no stigma attached to addiction because it is “a deadly barrier to seeking help.”

She notes that talking about addiction is something that makes people uncomfortable, even though addiction impacts every member of society whether or not they are aware of it. While she did not plan on identifying as a person in recovery at her workplace, the example set by Mayor Walsh and others in leadership positions who openly identified themselves as being in recovery made it easier for her.

In today’s society, we generally expect the worst from those who are known to have an addiction problem, whether their addiction was in the past or is in the present. Macone is a prime example that one’s past does not define their future. She expresses that “I am living proof that people in recovery are capable of impressive accomplishments not only despite of, but as a result of, having experienced and overcome addiction. I am proud, not ashamed, to be in recovery. It is my greatest success.”
In order to vote for Macone, you can visit the Spark Boston website. All voting should be done before the Dec. 1 ceremony. A vote for Andrea Macone is also a vote for UMass Boston and its efforts to provide students with all the necessary resources they need to ensure their success, academic and overall.