Coming together for the first time as a cohort, the members of the class of 2021 filed under the tent on the Boyden Quadrangle for convocation. To make sure the focus was kept on them, President Frederick W. Clark Jr. asked to have his own introduction trimmed in length.
After a few welcoming remarks, the president turned things over to a half-dozen students who proceeded to steal the show, just as he’d intended. Revolving around the theme of involvement, each student shared a bit of his or her story. Marco Cobar, president of the Student Government Association, introduced the rest: Joshua Dyer, ’18; Sarah Bruns, ’18; Sade Sinous, ’19; Lucas Bentes, ’20; and Samantha Cole-Reardon,’19.
Alternately, they told of coming to campus on their first day as “overwhelmed and scared and completely alone,” “homeless,” “angry,” or lost in Western Massachusetts at a small private school.
How did they eventually get their footing? They emerged from their shells and got involved on campus in a variety of ways, that included: undergraduate research, study abroad, volunteering at the Red Cloud Indian School in South Dakota, working on campus as a student employee, internships, stints at the university’s radio station and student newspaper, choir, honors program, the Center for Multicultural Affairs, service trips to Cambodia and Belize, orientation, residence life, dance team and various fraternities and sororities.
Each of the students were the personification of student engagement.
Seemingly speaking for the others, Ms. Bruns said, “I became involved because I wanted to make a difference and leave my mark. I hope you do as well. Figure out how you want to make your mark here, and find out how you can get involved.”
She added that no matter which path they chose, the BSU community will have their back.
“Always remember that when you fall, there’s always a family here to pick you back up.”
President Clark concurred, adding that when he was a student at Bridgewater, he found a mentor and internship that shaped the person and leader he became. The same could happen for every member of the class of 2021, he said.
“We want you to know what it really means to be involved, really engaged,” he told the students.
During his short time at the podium, President Clark told the new arrivals to campus that they have found a new home.
“Remember where you are right now, remember how you feel, remember that you are not just students enrolled at Bridgewater State University, but you are members of the BSU family,” he said. “We will look out for one another, you can count on it.” (Story and photos by John Winters, G ’11, University News & Media)