Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

OPINION: I’m proud to be a Double Ram

James Bartlett

Over 20 years ago, I cut through the State House (at that time you could do that) and walked down the steps towards Temple Street. A sea of people crowded the cobbled street to check in for orientation. I was excited and nervous. I had no idea what check-in line to get in, but I found my way. 

My time at Suffolk as an undergrad was incredibly transformative for me. 

I found a passion for literature, especially African-American literature thanks to Dr. Harper who challenged me and opened my eyes to a completely different world than mine. I found a professor, Dr Mandl, who cared about me as a person so I took every literature course I could with her. I found my people – I joined Program Council. I was a tour guide, an orientation leader and a writing tutor. I found friends who made me feel like I belonged at Suffolk. I found myself at Suffolk. I came out during my sophomore year and began to live my own truth.

Recently, I came back to Suffolk as the new Assistant Provost for Retention. It feels like home. I mean, when I was here as a student, 73 Tremont wasn’t a Suffolk building and Miller Hall was a parking lot. The library was on the first floor of Sawyer and went down three floors. Back then, you just had to press the “up” button for a Sawyer elevator, rather than the…ummm…somewhat overwhelming-for-a-new-person system we have now. But overall, it does feel very familiar and it does feel like home.

Generally speaking, college student retention is measured by the percentage of first-year students who return for their sophomore year. 

In the Suffolk 25 Strategic Plan, we have an ambitious goal to retain and graduate more students. We will do this together. 

In my role as Assistant Provost for Retention, I will work alongside students, faculty, staff and others to put our best foot forward toward a positive, enriching and rewarding experience for all students in all class years and majors. We’re going to identify and remove barriers to student success. 

We’re going to be sure that every student feels like they belong here. We will do this in big and small ways. And to my faculty and staff colleagues, please know this… every interaction with a student is an opportunity for learning and engagement and belonging.

Some things never change. Even though I’ve only been back for a short time, I know that Suffolk is still a special place where you can find caring and encouraging professors. There is a wonderful staff here who want to help you. 

You can find your people and come to Suffolk each day as your authentic and best self. You can graduate from Suffolk and be happy. And you still have to wait for a crowded elevator in Sawyer, but hey—that’s part of the charm of this place.

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About the Contributor
James Bartlett, Multimedia Editor | he/him
James Bartlett is a senior studying print and web journalism. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, James has a strong interest in photojournalism and new journalism tools such as podcasting and user-generated content. James is currently a Web Journalist at WHDH Channel 7 and has previously worked at and the Newburpoty Daily News. Follow James on Twitter @James_bartlett8 Email him at [email protected]

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OPINION: I’m proud to be a Double Ram