The University of Massachusetts Amherst’s "University Without Walls" program gave Orlando the opportunity to earn his degree in public policy. He was elected to the City Council shortly thereafter.
For me, getting into politics meant having an opportunity to be in a position to make decisions and to have a greater effect on the success of our city. With my busy schedule, it was important for me to pick a program that was something that was going to be flexible. And the University Without Walls allowed me to have that flexibility to be able to do everything that I wanted to do in the community, work fulltime, serve on the city council, raise my daughter. For me it was important to find that balance between parenting, work, education. And having her there with me to be able to do our homework together, that was really a special moment for me. I majored in public policy. And the reason why I chose that major is because I wanted something that was going to be beneficial to me in the career that I was in. Being a city councillor and working for a state senator, it was essential for me to pick a program that was going to help me be a better decision-maker and be a better policymaker. My UWW education, to me, means a great accomplishment. UWW gave me an opportunity to earn a college degree on my terms, around my schedule. And it was something that I don't think I could get in any other university. I'm Orlando Ramos, vice president of the Springfield City Council. I stand for fatherhood and Springfield. And I stand for UMass.