Jamaica native Jesse Marsh knew that he wanted to work in the sports industry; he also knew that he wanted to affect positive change in the world. He chose his major and minor concentrations at Villanova University — Communication and Peace and Justice — because he believes his education in these subjects will help him do that.
“I have been blessed with so many opportunities in life and I want to create opportunities for other young black people who may not have the support system I was fortunate enough to possess,” Marsh said. “All it takes is one person to believe in someone for them to be successful. I want to be that individual.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree in 2022, Marsh plans to attend graduate school to study either Sports Management or Journalism.
At Villanova, Marsh is on the Varsity’s Men’s Swimming and Diving Team, the members of which he credits with being his best friends and greatest supporters. He describes the bond between them as family and feels that he and his teammates will have a lifelong connection.
Marsh is also a Peer Mentor for the Communication Department and is on the organizing committee for the Villanova Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
Being a member of a predominantly white sport, Marsh makes it a priority to educate his teammates about race and racism. He believes that ignorance is not an excuse for discriminatory behavior, and he wants to make sure he leaves no room for a lack of awareness from the people he calls his family.
“It was a major culture shock, coming from a predominantly black country to now going to schools where I am the only Black person in the majority of my classes, or the only Black person competing at a swim meet. Growing up in Jamaica, I never fully understood racial injustice as an issue in modern day society. However, when I moved to the United States … I came to realize that Blacks/African Americans continue to be treated unjustly in today’s society.”
If granted a wish, Marsh would choose financial security. He realized the paradox in which many find themselves: The financial realities of securing basic needs for oneself and one’s family often makes it impossible for most people to follow their dreams. Marsh believes that doing what you love should allow you to provide for yourself and loved ones.
Marsh’s wish for the world hinges on the lack of equality in our societal systems.
“It would be interesting to see a world where everyone started at the same place. The majority of people who look like me start miles behind in life,” Marsh said. “How different would the world be if everyone started life with the same opportunities and same resources? What would the world look like? I’d love to see it.”
The top item on Marsh’s bucket list is to travel to every continent except Antarctica.