This We Believe--UMass Dartmouth

Program for first-year students engages them in campus values as they join the academic community

Three students shared their "This We Believe" essays at the Convocation ceremony, from left to right: Andrea Bickford, Tiana Golding, Mary Brown

I believe we create our own futures…
I believe in trying something new…
I believe everything happens for a reason…

It’s common for incoming college students to participate in a first-year book project as an introduction to academic life. UMass Dartmouth took a fresh approach this year in hopes of engaging new students in campus values with This We Believe—UMass Dartmouth.

The results were essays that capture the Class of 2019’s thoughts, dreams, hopes, and concerns as they begin this new stage of life.

Modeled on National Public Radio’s This I Believe, the program asked students to read selections from the This I Believe website, compose a 500-word essay about their own beliefs, then share it on the university’s blog.

Hundreds of first-year students posted essays about a variety of topics, from tolerance and the power of education to yoga, baseball, and boxing.

I believe in joy...
I believe in the power of struggle…
I believe in smiles…

Three members of the Class of 2019 were asked to read their essays at this year’s Convocation ceremony, the official beginning of the new academic year:

  • Biology major Andrea Bickford wrote "I Believe in Autism," which described her special relationship with her autistic sister.
  • Mary Brown, who is majoring in nursing, shared her belief in teamwork: "I believe that without the presence of teamwork, many successes would not be achieved."
  • "I Belief in Myself" was business major Tiana Golding's theme: "realizing the importance of self-empowerment, self-reliance, and self-love."

Created by the departments of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, This We Believe—UMass Dartmouth also encouraged faculty and staff to submit essays.

"We believed that the campus culture would be enriched if the UMass Dartmouth community participated in this project," said Cynthia Cummings, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. "Our goal was to tie these postings into UMass Dartmouth’s values of community, diversity, collaboration, tolerance, education, civic engagement, and more."

I believe in keeping an open mind...
I believe in everyone’s right to experience and embrace change...
I believe in pursuing truth...

 


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