Marvens Pierre is a third-year student at University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a student leader who is active in issues regarding education equity and access. For the past three years, he has been part of Student Bridges, a student-led organization on campus with an important mission to increase college access and success for underrepresented students at UMass Amherst and in neighboring communities. He is currently the Undergraduate Program Coordinator at Student Bridges, responsible for ensuring the sustainability and effectiveness of educational programs both on and off campus. Through partnerships with local schools and community organizations, he promotes college awareness, preparation, and success activities, and he advocates for enhanced institutional and public policies and practices. As a tutor-mentor at several local high schools and middle schools, comprised of mostly low-income, underrepresented students, he builds strong bonds and creates reciprocal relationships with the students by providing them with a positive role model and friend. His leadership and mentoring encourage young students to aspire and hope and to believe in their potential and inner strengths. He is a driven and passionate leader who has demonstrated his ability to bring visions of student advocacy and educational equity to life.
Community engagement has always been an integral part of my life. Before I came to university, I always sought out opportunities to volunteer at shelters and community centers. As I volunteered in these places, I fostered everlasting connections and relationships with the people and communities I interacted with. Once I enrolled at UMass Amherst, and in my first semester took a service-learning course, I realized I have unconsciously been living through core values of community engagement. Community engagement to me means more than just simply volunteering and establishing relationships. It goes deeper into enabling and promoting effective social change and fighting economic inequality. Currently, I am a student-leader in the Student Bridges program, whose mission is to increase college access and success for underrepresented students through our work with students on campus as well as in local high schools and middle schools. Through Student Bridges, we investigate root causes of inequity and combine the energy and resources from UMass Amherst and local communities in order to address and overcome issues of affordability, preparation, and social capital. I strive to be community-engaged in all my efforts as it inspires me to look forward to a more socially just and sustainable future.