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Meet Lillie Acoff
Class of 2021, Sociology
I have a big interest in helping people in a specific community because my previous job I worked with youth at community centers. Me being from Boston, the Boston public system it’s not the best that it could be. So me getting involved with that could probably make a difference which I feel strongly about.
I’m involved with Rise Up, it’s this new program and focuses on people like me, people of color. Basically the upperclassmen are matched up with the new first years that come in and they’re trying to get comfortable with the new setting, Just having that upper hand of having someone by your side that also goes through the same thing as you, it can make a big difference.
I became an orientation leader last summer. I wanted to do it because coming in I’ve seen how energetic the OL’s are and like I could do this, I know I’m lit why not give that experience to someone else coming in as a first year who’s scared because they don’t know what to expect coming into college. We handled a group of 20 students so it was just for them to really have like a hands on experience so if they had any questions that they were afraid to ask like someone higher up. Going to us would be another resource and we’ve actually been through it. So yeah I actually have contact with a lot of them. One of my orientation students is actually my mentee now.
College gives you that real life experience. Most of the things that I used to think I would never do I did a lot being at Curry.
By the time Lillie Acoff, Class of 2021, entered Curry College as a first-year student, she was already making an impact in her community in Boston, working with families affected by domestic violence. Now, a Sociology major, she’s bringing her passion for making a difference to campus as an orientation leader, a resident assistant, and a mentor for students of color.
“I had a mentor when I first came in,” Lillie says. “It felt so great to have someone to help me through the process, so why not do it for somebody else? Just having someone by your side that has gone through the same thing as you makes a great impact.”
Lillie didn’t always know Sociology was going to be her academic focus. Initially she had her eyes on a Communication degree and loved the thought of being a part of WMLN-FM, Curry’s on-campus radio station.
But it wasn’t long before she began to feel her passion for helping people pulling her in a new direction. For Lillie it was also a return to a field of study with deeply personal roots. “I have a big interest in helping people ... Because I know a lot of my family members didn’t have that support system growing up, and they either got involved with gang affiliation, or just ended up dead.”
Like many students, an influential professor helped Lillie make the decision to change paths.. “I took two classes with (Dr.) Amanda Kennedy. She’s the one who basically persuaded me to become a Sociology major,” Lillie says. “She doesn’t teach just to teach. She teaches from the heart and that’s something that inspires me.”
Lillie envisions a future helping children in the public school system. She grew up in the Boston Public Schools and knows how influential good leadership can be. First she wants to land an internship, then go on to get her Master’s Degree in Education. “I love being involved with the school system. I feel strongly that I could make a difference there.”
For now, Lillie is focused both on coursework and putting into practice what she’s learning right here on campus as an active and engaged member of the student body. As a Rise Up mentor, she is part of a growing network of support for incoming students of color. She’s also an Orientation Leader, one of a select group of students chosen to be the face of Curry and lead new students through what, for many, can be an intimidating experience. “Having someone by your side that has been through the same things as you has a great impact on the community,” she says.
Lillie feels that in many ways she’s become an adult over her first two-plus years at the College. Life at Curry, she says, has opened her eyes to many new experiences and allowed her to do so many things she never thought she would. “College gives you that real-life experience … And it shaped me to be a person who I never thought I could be. I’ve grown a lot. And I’m thankful for all of these experiences.”