From the very beginning I loved the opportunity to get to know students and their concerns, and to give voice to their concerns in a productive way.
Eric Gregoire ‘11 started embracing opportunities at Fitchburg State from his first semester on campus, and hasn’t kept it far from his sight ever since.
Gregoire, a political science major, had been interested in student government from his high school days in Ludlow. At Fitchburg State he quickly sought out opportunities to get involved in a leadership position, first as a student representative from Russell Towers.
“From the very beginning I loved the opportunity to get to know students and their concerns, and to give voice to their concerns in a productive way,” he said.
That was the start of a long and productive period of advocacy on campus. Gregoire stayed involved in student government, first as a class officer and ultimately as Student Government Association president and student representative to the university’s board of trustees.
Gregoire said he also appreciated the attention his voice was given by senior leaders at Fitchburg State. “Every administrator I interacted with, it didn’t feel like they were checking a box by listening to me. I was genuinely involved in the decision making process,” he said. “It is really a part of who we are as a community and an institution.”
He found the work rewarding, and prided himself on balancing the time constraints of his student leadership work and his studies. He also enjoyed burrowing into the finer points of the work he was doing, and said he was able to draw a direct line from those pursuits to the critical thinking he was applying to his scholastic efforts.
“What I tried to do across anything, whether it was SGA or Model United Nations or being an orientation leader, I buried myself in a lot of committee work,” he said. “I learned so much about the university, and it brought me the confidence to grow into other opportunities and reach for them.”
Since graduation, Gregoire completed a master of education in policy, planning and administration from Boston University and is a senior budget analyst for the University of Massachusetts. There, he said, he is able to draw from the same detail-driven approach he employed at Fitchburg State.
He stayed involved at his alma mater since graduation. In addition to service on the Alumni Association board, Gregoire was sworn in this February as the alumni representative to the university’s board of trustees. The new post brings him full circle in his advocacy for public higher education and a university population near and dear to him.
“My fundamental charge is the longevity of the institution, to continue to transform lives across future generations and to help the region,” said Gregoire, who added that he hopes current and future Falcons follow his example and seize the opportunities available on campus. “My best advice is to take every opportunity to learn and explore different activities outside your comfort zone. I put myself out there and found out a lot about myself. That’s where you grow.”
This story was originally published in the Spring 2022 edition of Contact magazine.