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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Student Trustee Report

[Note: This is the address given to the Board of Trustees at their UMass Boston meeting, February 12, 2003.]

I took a year off from school, after my high school graduation. Eleven years later, I was still working on my “year off.” It was time to do something about higher education. So I began the search for a school. I spoke to friends, colleagues, and family. I was looking for a place to go where everybody belonged, where my education was not only top notch, but came affordably, from a location that was convenient. It was never a question of “settling” for UMass Boston. This is where I belonged.

Following a somewhat overwhelming orientation and first semester, I started to sift through all the information that was given to me, trying to decide where to plant my first step into student life on campus. It was slow going at first, because when I began my career here four years ago, there was little offered to students to pave the way for social connections. UMass Boston, being a commuter school, didn’t seem to have a great deal of student activities happening. Since then, due entirely to a surge of support and initiative from a wide range of individuals and their corresponding departments, we’ve undergone a boom of social growth and development which propelled me into experiences and interactions that have enriched my academic career.

Likewise, my interaction with our singularly exceptional faculty has left me awestruck. We enjoy professors who turn down offers at Ivy League universities, because they want to educate us. These distinguished people know what it means to nurture their community and they know where it counts. They possess a sense of loyalty and a commitment to provide a quality education to students who might not otherwise have access to their wisdom. Faculty sees the diversity of our student body as an added value that contributes to a more dynamic classroom environment than that found on most traditional campuses. The respect and admiration these men and women inspire in the students at UMass Boston leads to a shared excitement and anticipation for the learning experience as a whole.

Students recognize that the value of their education is increased with the presence of these passionate and dedicated educators. Given the current fiscal situation, we are concerned with the long-term effects the recent and future budget cuts will make on the lives of our pedagogical mentors. We must financially support the expertise and dedication of our faculty and staff.

While we feel these budgetary constraints deeply through increased fees, we are confident that the Legislature understands the quality of a UMass education, specifically a UMass Boston education, and its power to shape the future of our communities, one graduating leader at a time. Therefore, we rely on university leadership to do its utmost to continue to provide an environment, in which these professionals can challenge, nurture, and educate. We must fight for conditions that protect this great institution.

In a time when the future of the world seems uncertain, UMass Boston forges ahead. We are more than halfway through completion of a new campus center that will put forth a brighter, welcoming face on our campus, shining across Dorchester Bay. We continue to be at the forefront of innovation in student leadership, offering various opportunities for our students to excel.

Student life supports the public service mission of UMass and recognizes students who develop a sense of civic responsibility and community service. Students who demonstrate commitment to promoting civic engagement are provided opportunities to develop skills in strategic planning through programs and organizations such as the Beacon Leadership Project, the University Honors program, and the International Honors Golden Key Society.

I consider myself lucky to participate in the Beacon Leadership Project, a program to develop or enhance the leadership potential, capabilities and aspirations of both undergraduate and graduate students at the University. Understanding the demographics and the needs of our students and the urban setting of our University, the BLP is a learning experience that effectively integrates prior formal and informal learning and leadership experiences with current experiences in leadership for social change and service learning. The BLP is also engaged in collaborative learning and development by utilizing the knowledge and experiences of others that include faculty, administrators, students, and community leaders directly and indirectly associated with the program.

The University Honors Program is creating a curriculum for an annual study weekend on Nantucket Island for First Year Honors students. The Program’s “island as text” curriculum will be based on a national model that integrates direct experience with learning through readings and lectures. Through such activities as nature walks and inventories of architectural styles, combined with visits to museums and exchanges with local experts, the students will develop a sense of place in historical and social context.

The University of Massachusetts Boston Chapter of the International Golden Key is committed to academic excellence, fostering leadership, and, most importantly, community service. Our chapter strives to benefit the campus community and the greater Boston area. Students who participate in this organization share an interest in emphasizing academic excellence and community service.

Our administration and staff have honed themselves into a finely tuned instrument offering excellence in academic support, finance, administrative leadership and advising. Our newly welcomed Chancellor, Jo Ann Gora, has breathed fresh, new life into our university, steering us in a sharp, focused direction. Her presence and support has become a steady and reliable facet of student activities and gatherings. At her monthly luncheons, students have found a patient and attentive ear for their concerns. Our concerns have become her mission. A mission to keep UMass Boston a haven for everyone, continuing to maintain high academic standards and exceptional outlets for academic excellence while remaining affordable and accessible and keeping ahead of the times.

Who are UMass Boston students? We are English, Science, Management, Nursing and Community Planning majors. We are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and siblings. We come from all nationalities, ethnicities, creeds, and orientations. We are your neighbors and your friends. Most importantly, we are the first, last, and best option for the future of our Commonwealth.

Anyone who really gets UMass Boston, and commits to its values, will be given hope. In the words of William Sloan Coffin, Jr., “Hope arouses, as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible.” UMass Boston represents that hope for so many people. Keep that hope alive.