Graduate Student Organization President and Ph.D. student James Kashian '19 reflects on the impact of the Springfield College mission in influencing his school choice, navigating the pandemic, and shaping the community he joined.
If you have spent time on the Springfield College campus, you probably know the scenario I am about to describe:
In the morning walk from Lot 15 by Stagg field, over the hustle and chatter of a morning crowd, I notice the sun creeping over the trees and I take a deep breath. The crisp wind that wisps past carries with it the faint smell of Dunkin Donuts and freshly cut grass. A potential energy is building as the faculty, staff, and students are more excited about a Tuesday morning than the average population. Call it strange, but there is enough energy in the air to fuel a flame for weeks.
Springfield College is a special place; the deeply rooted philosophy of the school carries with it a certain expectation that acts as a tailwind in our endeavours. At Springfield College, we believe in developing the whole person - Spirit, Mind, and Body - for leadership in service to others. That is the “torch,” so to speak, that has been passed down, that we carry. I believe that an institution is made great by the people who embody its philosophies and culture. Even when the grind of school has gotten the best of me, there is usually someone on campus who will say the exact words of encouragement I need to hear. Something about Springfield attracts more of those people than most places.
While recent times have been extremely difficult or even just strange for a lot of people, members of the Pride seem to be carrying that torch now more than ever. As a graduate student, I have seen first hand the investment the faculty have made in us. For the first time in my academic and professional career, I feel I have mentors that are looking out for me; who want to see me overcome these challenges as much as I do myself. I have been impressed with the rapid response to emails, willingness to engage in Zoom sessions, and the administration's response to students' calls for action following the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others this spring. The faculty have exemplified the Springfield College philosophy of leadership in service to others. While there are shortcomings on campus, as on any, I am proud to be a part of finding the solutions and working towards something bigger than myself. I am proud to walk in the same paths (not on the grass) as people who have carried the torch for Springfield before me. My goal is to light the fires of people in need; to lead and serve with those who came before me in mind. So hopefully, when you are in my shoes, walking up from Lot 15 surrounded by the sights and smells of a Springfield College morning - that feeling of energy will have been preserved - because that is a feeling worth fighting for.