By Cait Kemp
Springfield College is home to many students who are committed to its philosophy. They dedicate their lives to getting involved, helping others, and striving to make a difference in the world around them. Springfield College is a community of these types of people, so it isn’t rare to hear about. However, there are a handful of students who go above and beyond what it means to be a member of the College community, and excel in their passions to help others and change the world around them.
Brianna D’Haiti, a senior dual major in Criminal Justice and Computer Science as well as a Religion minor, is a prime example of this type of student at Springfield. D’Haiti is involved in a lengthy list of clubs and organizations on campus, and she takes on an important leadership role in most of them.
When she arrived on campus in the fall of her first year, D’Haiti was instantly involved. She moved in early for the Cultural Connections Leadership Program (CCLP), which is a program offered through the Office of Multicultural Affairs. CCLP allows students to meet others who are also passionate about social justice issues and provides opportunities for conversations and activities surrounding those topics.
D’Haiti has worked her way up to becoming the Co-Coordinator of CCLP and organizes and plans activities and workshops that students can engage in.
“We put on programming surrounded by social justice, but we also put on social and educational programs…we have programming surrounded by different heritage months, so we worked with the Latinx Student Organization and we did a bunch of programs for Latinx Heritage Month,” said D’Haiti.
Through CCLP, she has also helped to organize movie viewings with a talk-back session, where students have the opportunity to watch a movie that has social justice topics and then discuss the themes as a group to grow and gain knowledge and awareness. She was able to plan one of these sessions with the movie, “The Hate U Give,” and has plans to watch “Shang Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings.”
D’Haiti is helping to open up opportunities for conversations about these important topics that have begun to circulate around campus the past several semesters. A lot of the work has been done directly by students, and it shows in the events, clubs and activities that have been offered the past year.
Along with being the Co-Coordinator of CCLP, D’Haiti is also the Co-Public Relations officer of the Black Student Union (BSU), Corporate Sponsorship Coordinator for Springfield College’s Dance Marathon and Co-President of the Student Alumni Association. In these positions, D’Haiti is responsible for networking with students to help them get involved, planning events with other clubs and organizations and growing awareness for social justice and the Humanics philosophy.
She has had the opportunity to meet many different people from multiple groups on campus, and brings them together through her work. With the recent push for improvement in diversity and inclusion throughout the nation, she has worked to implement this within the community at Springfield College. It is through her efforts along with her peers that the College has been able to make its own improvements, and continues to do so.
“I really loved volunteering and giving back and stuff like that, so the aspect of the Humanics philosophy here was one of the reasons I loved it here and wanted to apply,” said D’Haiti. “There were a lot of service opportunities…it’s just something I really love to do, and one day I hope to own my own nonprofit.”
D’Haiti will have a multitude of opportunities when she graduates, between her criminal justice and computer science degrees. Mixing in her passion for volunteerism and social justice, she is well-rounded and multi-faceted.
She says she is studying Criminal Justice “because I’m really into social justice issues and a lot of things surrounding social justice. Because I am a person of color and a woman, those are things that will always affect me,” she said. “Computer science because there is a lot you could do with it, like cybersecurity and cybercrime…those tie in.”
D’Haiti is motivated and ambitious. She has big plans for her future and is not ready to be done with her education after her stop at Alden Street.
“I want to go to grad school. I want to go law school to get my law degree and I also want to get my masters in organizational leadership. It helps to have those two degrees for nonprofit,” she said.
She has already accomplished so much through her three years here, including navigating a COVID-ridden world that has been extremely unpredictable. Despite the difficult times, she persevered and continued to make an impact for the students that she saw herself in when she arrived on campus for the first time.
Photo Courtesy Springfield College