Eric Sarra wasn’t expecting the life-changing experience he found when signing up for a philosophy course with Stonehill Professor Anthony Celano. But it ended up shaping the rest of his time here and shaping his decisions on what to do after graduation. Eric says this is just the way things happen at Stonehill, where every experience is a challenge leading to self-discovery.
“At Stonehill, you’re a name, you’re a person,” he says. “You’re not a number just getting by – you’re actually accomplishing something.”
Originally interested in Stonehill’s football program, Eric soon found the college offered much more: a place where he could be exactly who he is. He says philosophy classes with both Celano and Professor Josef Velazquez helped him “truly think for the first time.”
“They come in and ask you what you thought about over the weekend, and somehow tie it back to the lesson,” he says. “It made me look critically at myself, at life, about everything.” The classes piqued Eric’s interest in philosophy as a major.
During his sophomore year, Eric joined campus activities including intramural sports, the Activism Club and the student ambassador program.He also joined the Stonehill Theater Company. He says that being part of the company, run by professionals with Broadway experience, deepened his confidence. “It helped open up who I am, from the inside out,” Eric says.
Eventually, this self-discovery led to a change in Eric’s future plans, originally centered on a legal career. Senior-year internships with both the Stonehill Center for Nonprofit Management and the United Way of Greater Plymouth County – which he secured when he met its CEO, Stonehill alumnus Dennis Carman, at an on-campus event – showed Eric the potential of working in the nonprofit realm. And a moment during his junior year in Italy crystallized his desire to work in service. He is now enrolled in a master’s in social work, with the goal of working for a nonprofit agency.
“At a flea market, people were selling anything they could get their hands on to survive,” he says. “I realized there are people who only know hunger – and if I don’t do anything about that, I have failed.”