posted on: Thursday March 5, 2020
by Matthew Mazzella ’20
This week’s Featured Friar shines on Maria Santos ’20, a business management and global studies double major with a philosophy minor. Santos was born and raised in Puerto Rico in a town on the east coast of the island called Humacao. After spending her childhood in Humacao she moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico when she was 12-years-old.
Coming from Puerto Rico, Santos knew that Providence College was a special place because she knew some friends from home who went to the school when she was applying.
While Santos loves PC, there is always a bit of home she misses, as she is over 1,600 miles away from Puerto Rico. Santos thanks her busy schedule from preventing homesickness, but from time to time she does miss her family and friends back home.
Santos says, “It’s the little moments that make me miss PR the most. Like for example, last week my twin sister had her first med school interview and I just wanted to be there to help her get ready and hear her talk about it afterwards, and I missed out. Homesickness is definitely a thing when you live that far away from home, but honestly, God bless FaceTime.”
One of the biggest challenges Santos faced being so far away from home was been being in Providence while Hurricane Maria ravaged her country in 2017. Santos reflects on this heartbreaking experience, saying, “Being away from home and not being able to communicate with my family for days (knowing how destroyed the Island was) was by far one of the hardest things I’ve had to endure in my life. Uncertainty is scary, so not knowing if they were okay was terrifying.”
She continued, saying, “Also, not being able to be home through one of the most devastating events in Puerto Rican history made me feel guilty. Guilty because it was hard to live my life in the commodities that PC had to offer while I knew that back home my sister could not go back to school for months, that my whole family had to shower with buckets, and that there was no electricity and no certainty of when it could come back.”
Santos is very involved on campus, as she is a member of Friars Club, a freshman resident assistant, and the co-founder and president of Friars for ____. The club helps raise funds and awareness for different causes.
It all started after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico when Santos realized she was able to make an impact back home. When describing her fundraising efforts through her club on campus, Santos reflected on the creation of the club, saying, “After seeing the impact we had on Puerto Rico and personally handing that money to the organization we partnered with, me and my friends decided that we could do that for so many other causes; that we could be a place where other students could come fundraise and bring awareness for causes that are meaningful to them.”
The Friars for ____ have done so much more than help Puerto Rico after the tragic storm. They have extended their fundraising efforts worldwide. Santos mentions some of the efforts they have been a part of by saying, “Since being approved we’ve raised funds and awareness for Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Australia, Animal Cruelty & Testing, etc. We’ve done this through different events, like benefit concerts and food runs, and partnerships with other clubs that feel passionate about the causes that we’re working for.”
Santos encourages Friars to consider joining her club if they want to make an impact on people’s lives, as she encourages students to “come fill in the blank” at Friars for ____.
Maria Santos has shown what it means to be a Friar throughout her time at PC. Her efforts to help various charitable causes through Friars for ____ has impacted the lives of many, all while bringing her closer to those in the Friar Family. Santos sets a great example for how the college students should volunteer their time towards making an impact on someone’s life, no matter the size of the effort.