By Kayla Lemay
On Monday, March 17, an email was sent to the students and faculty of Bridgewater State University notifying them of the passing of a recent alumna, Ariene Barros.
Ariene Barros, also known as Ari, graduated last May with a degree in Criminal Justice. She received an award through the Center for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) for graduating with over a 3.2 GPA. She enlisted in the United States Air Force after graduation.
She was extremely involved on campus, most notably being on the executive board of the Sister Scholars organization. In addition, she was active in the CMA organizations, from participating in a softball tournament with La Sociedad Latina (LSL), to being a model in a fashion show with the African American Society (Afro-Am).
Natara Gray, the Administrative Assistant in the CMA, is the advisor of Sister Scholars. She remembers Barros fondly.
“My favorite memory is her smile,” Gray said. “I think what’s important is to remember her willingness to befriend everyone and to associate with those who she may not have known.”
While she attended BSU, Barros took six classes a semester, worked 30 hours per week, and stayed heavily involved on campus.
“I think for some she was a mentor,” Gray said. “People saw her and knew that it was possible to achieve the dream to help take care of a family, being able to graduate, and then go into the Air Force.”
Julian Millan, a junior majoring in Geography, works in the CMA and was in contact with Barros. He was interested in joining the Air Force after graduation, and he reached out to her to ask for advice.
“Just the fact that she was doing something that I wanted to do, it made my dreams seem more realistic,” Millan said. “Seeing her and being able to ask her what she did to get there, she pretty much showed me that what I wanted to do was achievable and make it that much more real to me.”
Barros is remembered now in the CMA with memory and photo boards in the office for those to pay their respects and write a message if they choose.
Gray especially remembers the legacy Barros left on the BSU community.
“Ariene was just always very happy,” Gray said. “She always brought a lot of joy to anyone that she encountered.”
Kayla Lemay is the General Assignments Editor at The Comment. Follow her on Twitter @klemay123 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.