The longstanding tradition showcases first-year student stories as they enter the campus community
UMass Dartmouth recently announced the winners of the UMassD Believes Provost Writing Contest. Modeled after NPR's This I Believe, the contest recognizes four notable incoming students for their 500-word belief statements about what matters most to them. The larger incoming Class of 2027 wrote blog posts and engaged with each other through comments that allowed students to reflect on themselves, learn about and from one another, and join the conversation about student life at UMassD.
Students had the opportunity to submit their belief statements to be judged in a competitive, blind review selection process. The following students received the honor of having their essays selected for first, second, and third place, and honorable mention, respectively:
First place - "Truth" by June Melvin
First-year Biochemistry student from Berkley, Massachusetts
I eventually realized that there are people who will make you feel good about being yourself and who will either accept you for who you are or learn to do so in time. I was so much happier after transitioning, and I learned that if nobody was really being hurt, being myself was worth others' mild discomfort.
Second place - "The Power of Compassion" by Mary Goodrow
First-year Bioengineering student from Northbridge, Massachusetts
In moments of depression, anxiety, or negative thoughts, it can be hard to show compassion to ourselves. It gets hard to repeat the words we say to our friends as advice. It can be hard to walk ourselves to a therapist's office. It can be exceedingly difficult to not give up on ourselves. But believing in the power of compassion means that we can look in the mirror and say, "I am proud of you, too."
Third place - "A Cruel World Worth Saving" by Adry Cimbron
First-year Animation & Game Arts student from New Bedford, Massachusetts
The undeniable truth is that the world is cruel, but it is up to humanity to make this world a better place. However, we can only accomplish this together. A single person may be able to create a ripple but two or more can create a wave. So let us join hand and hand, human and human. We can make this world a better place, no matter how long it takes.
Honorable Mention - "Leveraging Sports for Social Justice" by Mark Hemment
First-year Business Management student from Newton, Massachusetts
Sports gave (and continues to give) athletes a platform to promote social justice and increase awareness. In turn, it launched a movement that motivated countless people (both in and out of the sports world) to join in the fight for change.
UMassD Believes, formerly titled This We Believe, began in 2015 by Academic Affairs and Student Affairs to engage new students in UMass Dartmouth's values. Professor Meghan J. Fair has run the program since 2016.