Emilie Lapointe (she/her) is a fifth-year Communication Studies student here at Bridgewater State. Many may know her as the 2022-2023 President of Bears Who Care, a community-service based organization that focuses on food insecurity and homelessness issues, but she is also involved with Program Council (PC), Environmental Action Team, Public Relations Student Society of America, Student Life Advisory Board, and the Food Pantry Advisory Board. Additionally, Lapointe works in the Division of Student Life Office with Vice President of Student Life, Dr. Joe Oravecz and Dean of Students Elizabeth Ching-Bush.
Lapointe joined Bears Who Care at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when its virtual meetings averaged only about five attendees. Initially, she admitted to being skeptical of taking on such a big leadership role. She claimed the toughest part of the job was “deciding the direction to take everything in.” Nevertheless, the connection Lapointe has built with Bears Who Care is indescribable.
“I really was starting from scratch when I became President, so it’s really just become my baby that I’ve grown over the course of two years, since this is my second year as President.” Emilie reflected.
With now averaging 40 members at a meeting, Lapointe credits word-of-mouth as one of the key factors to the organization’s growth. “There was a large number of students that were coming out of COVID really just looking for new opportunities to get involved again or they were coming brand new and they were like ‘COVID really screwed with me and I need to do something to counteract that…we were such a small group that it was really based on how passionate we were in what we were doing.”
Along with Bears Who Care, Lapointe claims her four-year involvement with PC as one of her memorable experiences.
“I feel like PC was definitely a big part of my experiences and there were really large-scale events to put together with having a role to develop those event ideas. The National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) is a conference in Kentucky attended by a lot of different Program Council members and you really get to interact with other school boards that also program. It is so eye-opening because you’re like ‘wait, we’re not the only who do this’. There are others who are experiencing the same issues and coming up with the same fun ideas to bring to campuses. That was really amazing.”
As a communication studies major with a concentration in public relations, she is interested in working with non-profits or internal relations in the future. Additionally, her experience with growing an organization like Bears Who Care has made her open to possibly starting her own business someday.
When asked to describe her time at BSU in one word, Lapointe settled on “growth”.
“I have really developed as an individual,” she said, “my confidence has gone up so much, and I feel that I have never been so confident in my abilities. All of this has really grown with my time at BSU as I’ve taken on more and branched out of my comfort zone, and I just feel like that perfectly describes everything that has happened up until this point…going from general member to Vice President of Bears Who Care who was running all the meetings to then President…I didn’t think I could do it. Then, it became something I actually enjoyed doing.”