Orienting Herself and Others
No matter which student group you join, you’ll discover essential life hacks. Morgan found her groove as dance captain, confidently helping her older peers hit their marks. She also learned she can’t do everything.
“In high school,” she says, “I was out of my house from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and I really drained myself. Suffolk taught me how to balance things and take time for myself.”
Morgan chose to focus on Rampage and her work with the Office of New Student, Orientation & Family Programs. She successfully applied to be an Orientation Leader (OL) during the second semester of her freshman year. Now she’s an Orientation Team Leader, hiring and training OLs and passing on her tips for getting involved to the University’s newest Rams.
It’s the perfect fit. “I want to talk to everyone,” Morgan says, “so that job’s easy for me.”
Taking the Stage
As a bonus, her campus involvement helped Morgan live her childhood dream. She took the Modern’s stage with the Rampage Show Choir her first winter at Suffolk.
And there are more shows to come. After leading her fellow performers step by step as dance captain, Morgan’s now the group’s president.
“I feel so connected and at home,” Morgan says. Thanks to her campus involvement, she’s making sure others feel the same.
You don’t have to be a self-professed extrovert like Morgan to find your scene at Suffolk. In fact, her fellow Orientation Team Leader, Collin Smith, is her polar opposite that way.
“Contrary to what most people think, I’m a natural introvert,” he says.
He’s come a long way from his own first-year orientation session. “I didn’t say a word,” Collin remembers. “I was just trying to absorb everything I could, but I was so nervous.”
Ram Academy helped steady his nerves. “We were all so excited and baffled and seeing the world in a different way,” Collin, Class of 2023, says of his fellow first-year students in the community service track. Over the course of a few days, this social justice–minded group volunteered at several civic organizations close to campus.
“Just being around all those different people and getting to talk to people from across the country was really cool. And getting to go to a soup kitchen and cutting up vegetables, getting to see those opportunities available to me—that got me on a good footing early on.”
Finding His Place
Suffolk Rams are friendly. You can read these words, but you’ll have to experience this for yourself to really understand them.
“It just felt like everyone had these open arms ready to accept new students,” Collin agrees.
Now a double major in history and theatre, he found his place as the Theatre Department’s work-study student. Through that job, he bonded with his professors and gained the confidence to switch from his original major. He’s involved in productions staged by both the Theatre Department and the Performing Arts Office.
Plus, his honors thesis project is giving other Rams a chance to get involved. Collin’s combining his academic interests and writing a play that will go up at Suffolk’s Sullivan Studio Theatre in April 2022.
“It’s such a great opportunity to make something you care about in your own time,” he says of Suffolk’s performing arts scene—and campus life here in general.
This also rings true for the inclusive community he helps create, one orientation at a time.
Welcoming New Rams
“I feel a lot more comfortable in conversation than I did a couple years back,” he says.
Now, when he sees anxious-looking families and students at orientation, Collin knows just what to do.
“I specifically reach out to those people,” he says, “and say, ‘You’re nervous now, and that’s really okay. Look at all these opportunities in front of you, take those nerves, and make them into something really exciting.’”
Jumping Right In
You won’t just get the chance to lead at Suffolk. You can take it sooner than you might expect.
Chloe Beaulieu figured she’d get involved at some point. “I didn’t really expect to be taking on a lot of leadership roles when I first got to campus,” she says. “I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll join clubs, but I won’t become an officer or a student leader. I’ll probably lay low.’”
Campus life for this marketing major didn’t follow that low-key plan.
As a Sawyer Ambassador, she helps plan events where current Sawyer Business School students connect with each other and Boston-based professionals. She also reaches out to prospective students to give them a preview of the Business School’s many opportunities.
“You can really tailor anything to make it how you want it,” Chloe, Class of 2023, says. “I’m in the Ramifications—an a cappella group—which is definitely very artsy, but I’m public relations chair, which is related to my marketing major.” She’s also treasurer of Rammython, a charity that fundraises for Boston Children’s Hospital.
“I didn’t really have to look too hard for leadership opportunities,” she says. “Suffolk has a lot of great ones—you can become a Sawyer or Trustee Ambassador, a peer tutor, a club officer. You can do the Journey Leadership Program.”
So, how did she find her place on campus so quickly? It helps that our campus is truly welcoming.
“I felt really comfortable among my peers and in the community,” Chloe says. “Even if students coming in don’t necessarily think they want to be a leader on campus, it’s definitely something they can do and start making an impact even in their second semester.”
Like all new Rams, Khadija Abu, BS ’21, arrived at Suffolk eager to study public relations, get to know Boston, and make new connections. “One thing I love about college,” she says, “is that you bond over class. That’s how I was able to make friends and my community.”
She calls Prince George’s County in Maryland home. “I grew up around Black lawyers, judges, engineers, people in government,” she says. “It wasn’t really like, ‘I can’t do something because I’m Black.’”
At Suffolk, she strengthened her sense of identity in a whole new way.
Finding Her Voice
Her resident assistant helped her connect with Suffolk’s Black Student Union (BSU) for starters. And Khadija didn’t stop there. After joining BSU, she helped found the Fundamental Sisterhood Society and founded Suffolk’s African Student Association. She also belongs to Alpha Kappa Alpha—the nation’s first Black sorority—whose sisters include Vice President Kamala Harris.
As she refined her voice in campus leadership roles, Khadija developed greater self-awareness by declaring a minor in Black studies. “I realized race is entangled in everything that we do,” she says. “Every research project, I thought, ‘How can I use my minor and put a Black woman’s voice in it?'”
Empowered by her self-knowledge, she’s excited for what comes next. Khadija focused her honors thesis on how the media portrays Vice President Harris and First Lady Michelle Obama. She also hopes to follow in her famous sorority sister’s footsteps and attend law school.
“It’s four years,” she says of her educational journey. “You’re bound to grow, but wow.”
Changing the World
“I thank Boston and Suffolk,” Khadija says, “because I found my independence here and how to become a woman. I’m ready to take the skills that I learned here and go on to tackle a new city. I definitely am.”
That’s what getting involved on campus is all about: finding out who you are, discovering new strengths, and using what you’ve learned at Suffolk to change the world for the better.
A New Latitude
Back home in Miami Gardens, Florida, Omar Rodriguez had never experienced snow or even temperatures below 50 degrees. Every time he looked at the Suffolk poster he’d put up in his room, though, he had a feeling that this—and a whole lot more—was about to change in Boston.
“I didn’t want college to be like high school part two,” he says. “I wanted to be somewhere where I could get involved and get real-life skills,” he says.
After successfully applying to Suffolk, buying a winter coat, and researching Boston’s most Insta-worthy sites, he got his wish.
Omar, Class of 2023, soon landed a work-study position in the Student Leadership & Involvement Office. A few weeks into his first semester, his supervisor asked him to swing by the annual Student Involvement Fair and take photos of some of the 100+ campus organizations recruiting new members.
At this festive event, Omar got a good picture of what Suffolk’s campus life is all about.
“It’s like that scene in the movie Pitch Perfect,” he says. “That was literally the experience: a DJ in the background, all the clubs gathered around, and everybody’s pulling you in to hear about their club. Everybody was friendly and having fun, and I really loved that environment.”
He joined Program Council (PC) and the Journey Leadership Program on the spot.
An honors student, Omar quickly found his niche as a public relations major with a minor in marketing. And while he loves studying with faculty mentors like Associate Professor Cynthia Irizarry, he’s gaining those career-related skills he craved outside the classroom too.
“Honestly, everything I’m doing on campus happens to tie into public relations and marketing,” he says.
On PC’s marketing and promotions committee, Omar’s recruited new members and helped pinpoint the best swag and social channels. For the Journey, he creates posters and social media posts.
He’s also gaining new insights on how to connect with audiences and tailor his message to them as an Orientation Leader.
“I’ve learned and grown so much because of it,” he says.
True to Himself
Whether he’s sharing ideas for the Spring Ball with PC leadership or leading prospective Rams on campus tours, Omar’s found his place and his best self.
“In high school, you kind of have to go by what everyone else is doing,” he says. “That’s just the culture. But in college, you really get to be your own person, whoever you want to be.”
But he hasn’t done it alone.
With every campus involvement opportunity Omar’s signed up for, his circle of friends has grown exponentially. And they’ve helped him define himself over the past two years.
“Remaking yourself and finding out who you are is a hard process,” he says. “That’s why you have to get yourself friends who are like-minded. That’s what I did, and I’m thankful I found them.”
His North End apartment is now decorated with a wall of photos of Omar and his fellow Rams smiling on visits to Cape Cod, Myrtle Beach, and Boston’s scenic neighborhoods.
And if you look closely, you’ll find the one with the snowman he and his friends built on Boston Common when Omar saw snow for the first time.