Sociology Grad Creates Change in Boston


C:\fakepath\Giselle Sabido graduation crop.jpgSociology major Giselle Sabido ’15 found her calling in community organizing through an internship with Berkshire Interfaith Organizing, where she worked on issues such as food insecurity and inadequate public transportation, and to find solutions with community and congregation leaders in Northern Berkshire County.

Now, this recent graduate (pictured right, center) – one of 25 to be selected from 250 applicants – works as a development and membership fellow for the Episcopal Service Corps’ Life Together Program in the Boston, Mass., neighborhood of Roxbury. 

It’s a position she’s well prepared for from her four years at MCLA, especially through her experience as a member of the Christian Fellowship Club’s executive board. Consisting of students of all ages, experiences, cultural and spiritual backgrounds, MCLA’s Christian Fellowship is a diverse group that seeks to welcome all students.

“I had a burning passion to create a positive, loving, safe and home-like environment for students at MCLA,” she explained.”I understood that many students were looking for somewhere they felt welcome and cared for, and I wanted to provide a space where we can help provide and share spiritual support, with no judgment for anything they bring to the table.” 

A daughter of immigrants and the first in her family to go to college, as a high school student Sabido did not know what to expect of higher education, but found help through Bottom Line, a non-profit organization that helps low-income students apply to college and for financial aid, and which assists them throughout their time in college.

“I decided to look for affordable colleges with small class sizes and a good amount of clubs I was interested in joining, such as the Christian Fellowship Club and other fun clubs, and I found MCLA,” she said.

Once on campus, Sabido continued to work with Bottom Line’s counselors to support other students, and to coordinate events on campus that built a sense of community.

“All these activities gave me the opportunity to learn about different work and fields, and also apply real-life experiences to concepts in the classroom,” she said.  “I learned more about myself and how I must balance self-care and school work to do my best in college, as well as a lot about team-building and team work, and how to help organize meetings and large groups, coordinating events and public speaking.”

Her Life Together Program assignment is with Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE), a nonprofit aimed to help address issues that affect the communities of color and low income in Massachusetts, such as gentrification, displacement, lack of affordable transportation, toxins and chemical exposure that create environmental and health hazards in these communities.

“I can relate to the issues and some experiences people in the neighborhood have had. So I was excited to make a positive impact in a neighborhood in Boston that has and continues to face many hardships,” Sabido said.

MCLA provided Sabido with a “wealth of knowledge.”

“I truly appreciated how open-minded and discussion-based the sociology classes were,” she said. “The professors were great! I appreciated having opportunities to share my perspective on issues and topics in class.”

The best thing about MCLA, according to Sabido, is its student-led campus. “If you want to see a change on campus, you can speak up and gather other students and actually do something about it,” she said.

“I had awesome professors who truly cared about my success at MCLA. The Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE) also helped accommodate my needs for my learning disability,” Sabido added. “I was supported and encouraged almost everywhere I stepped into at MCLA, from multiple staff and professors who truly made me feel cared about.”