Brigid Archibald always wanted to be a superhero.
She grew up watching Superman masquerade as Clark Kent, reporter. Later, one of her favorite TV shows was “Supergirl.” Around the time that Archibald began looking at colleges, Supergirl said that she wanted to be a journalist. Archibald decided that she did, too.
“I saw how journalism could be another form of justice,” she says. “I liked the idea that you don’t have to don tights, but you can still help in some way. I wanted to write and I’m nosy – I like talking to people.”
Now, she’s editor-in-chief of The Connector, UML’s student newspaper, and an English major in the journalism and professional writing concentration. She hopes to become a reporter who covers the environment and sustainability, so she is minoring in climate change and sustainability.
On top of her Connector role and a part-time job at Target, Archibald has also done some environmental internships, including working with the Lowell Sustainability Council, where she worked on their newsletter and helped to plan Earth Day Fest 2020 – and then helped it go virtual.
The summer before her senior year, she began interning with Village Empowerment, a service-learning nonprofit started by Mechanical Engineering Prof. Emeritus John Duffy to bring solar energy and clean water to a network of mountain villages in Peru. Archibald is updating their website – and hopes to write for them, too.
She’s also in the Honors College. For her honors capstone, she’s blogging about low-impact, sustainable living, interviewing experts and trying to live a low-impact lifestyle. (She’s a vegan and wears high-top sneakers made out of recycled plastic, among other things.)
“I don’t always like the way reporters write about the environment and sustainability,” she says. “Climate change is very divisive, and there’s a lot of classism and racism in how we talk about sustainability, like when people talk about public transportation: For people in rural areas, it’s not an option.”
Archibald grew up in a rural area of Georgia, surrounded by nature. She and her dad moved around quite a bit, but landed in Methuen, Mass., six years ago, where she finished high school and was awarded an Abigail and John Adams Scholarship that would cover her tuition at any public college or university in Massachusetts. (They’ve since moved to Haverhill.)
She applied to a few state colleges and universities, but she says she really didn’t know much about how to conduct a college search.
“I just applied to places I’d heard of,” she says. “UMass Lowell offered me the best package.”
She’s happy about her choice. She went to her first Connector meeting in the fall of her freshman year – and didn’t say a word. But her shyness soon evaporated. She quickly moved from “contributor” status to “staff writer.” Her sophomore and junior years, she served as news editor.
As editor-in-chief, she’s confronting coverage during a pandemic. The Connector has long had a website, and the student newspaper is also stepping up its social media presence and planning an e-newsletter to replace the weekly print edition.
“The Connector is so hands-on, and getting to run this paper is such a great experience,” she says. “And the people I’ve gotten to work with the last three years have been some of the most influential people in my college career.”