Bedford’s Fahad Alden Wins UMass Lowell MLK Service Award

February 1, 2023
UMass Lowell 2023 MLK Distinguished Service Awards dinner. (L-R:) Chancellor Julie Chen, Beatriz Martins, Fahad Alden and Cintya Gajardo-Vejar. Photo credit: Bill McCormack for UMass Lowell

To talk with Fahad Alden, you wonder how he accomplishes so much in a day!

His most recent “moment in the sun” came during UMass-Lowell’s MLK Celebration Week, when he was awarded the MLK community service award for his on-campus work as a Well-being leader. Fahad is one of several Well-being leaders, students who voluntarily serve to support their peers in their college life.  He explained that he has an office in the School of Arts and Humanities and is there four or five hours a week, to talk with any student who may drop in to chat. “It’s not therapy,” he hastened to say, but the student leaders function as “life coach resources.” He finds this a gratifying way to spend his time and it was for this effort that he received the service award, “much to his surprise,” he said, as he is only in his second year at the college. The award reads:

“Fahad Alden of Bedford, MA is a digital media major who interviews local leaders on his podcast, ‘Lessons We Can Take from Today.’ In 2021 he became the youngest elected member of the Bedford Library Board of Trustees.  At UMass Lowell, Alden is a member of the Student Government Association and a peer leader who advances the well-being of his fellow students through one-on-one mentoring, interactive presentations and workshops for groups. He is the author of “Teen’s Guide to Level Up.”

UMass Lowell Well-being Leaders.Fahad Alden, standing, rear center. Courtesy Image.

Each of the schools at UMass Lowell -humanities, engineering, business, science, and health sciences- has a cadre of student wellness leaders. The program is designed to support students in all aspects of wellness-emotional, financial, intellectual, physical, occupational, environmental, and spiritual, under the auspices of the newly established Office of Student Life & Well-being.  Fahad also posts on the school’s Well-being blog: most recently he reviewed the Selena Gomez documentary, “My Mind & Me, recently released on Apple TV.”

As a major in digital media studies, Fahad is passionate about communication in all forms. He has a monthly podcast, “Lessons We Can Take From today,” which you can listen to here:

The Bedford Citizen recently featured a story about the podcast in which he told of his decision to stand for election to the Library Board and urged others to take the risk of running for a town office

 In the December podcast, Fahad spoke openly about his own life: how he has overcome challenges, that his life hasn’t always been a “fairy tale” and that he is willing to go out on a limb and take risks. As he says, if he tells of the bad times, he will also tell of the good, and of the people who have helped him in his life journey. It’s this openness and willingness to share his own story that likely helps to establish rapport with the students who come to his “office hours” at the university. 

In other podcasts Fahad has talked with artist Sarah Scoville on creativity, UMass-Lowell Chancellor Julie Chen on leadership and change, and with town and state government leaders Emily Mitchell, Dan Brosgol, and Ken Gordon.  And there are podcasts when he interviews his peers, as in recent conversations with Brandeis student leader Peyton Gillespie and his good friend James Brosgol.

Fahad graduated from Bedford High School in 2021, and is currently a sophomore at UMass – Lowell majoring in digital media major with a minor in law. He is the first middle eastern and youngest person to be elected to the Bedford Library Board of Trustees.

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