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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

MCLA Carnival Promotes Downtown

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, October 23, 2005

MCLA Student Government Association members Kristen Hurley and Rian Rabineau served chowder to hungry students and families.
North Adams – Steaming chowder vats, a chance to play dress-up, a rousing volleyball game and promotion of the city's downtown overshadowed a dismal, chilly rain and drew over 300 parents, grandparents, and siblings to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts for Family Carnival weekend.

MCLA senior Michael Driscoll, 22, of Northampton, handled registration and family check-in duties for the Oct. 22-23 event. By noontime on Saturday, about 75 percent of the expected 330 campus visitors had arrived, Driscoll said.

The weekend agenda included opportunities to discover the downtown and other areas of the city, Driscoll said.

“The big thing for Sunday is to go out and explore MASS MoCA [Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art], and the downtown,” Driscoll said. “Some of the local businesses gave us some coupons and we’ve planned it so that people will have a chance to go and see what’s in the city.”

During Saturday’s chowderfest at the Venable gymnasium, numerous student family members were heard asking for directions to venues including “the closest movie theater,” MASS MoCA, and the Miss Adams Diner in Adams.

“Another big thing is that many of the parents haven’t seen much more of the college than the student rooms, and that was on moving day,” Driscoll said. “The weekend gives them a chance to see the campus and get a vision; when their student says ‘I have a class at Bowman [hall],’ the parents know where that is.”

Theresa Radley, a 20-year-old junior from Syracuse, N.Y., said that the Special Events Committee planned the carnival. The MCLA Student Government Association provides a budget allowance to campus organizations, and a portion of the revenues was used to cover carnival expenses, Radley said.

“It’s been fun,” said Radley. “This is my third family weekend, so I had an idea of what families like.”

She serves as an orientation leader as well, Radley said, and added that during the college orientation, parents appeared happy with the college.

“And they seem happy today,” she said.

MCLA Parent Review


David Sokol, Melissa Sokol, and Diane Sokol of Enfield, Ct., traveled to the campus to visit MCLA student Jessica Sokol.
Among the happy parents were David and Diane Sokol of Enfield, Ct., whose daughter Jessica Sokol is a junior at the college.

“This college has been perfect for Jessica,” said Diane Sokol. “She likes to be involved in many things, not just academics. There are so many clubs and activities here.”

Jessica Sokol participated in a spring semester alternative spring break excursion to the Navajo Nation, is a member of the political science club, and is also a journalist for the college newspaper, the “Beacon.” An encouraging, inclusive atmosphere at MCLA delivers opportunities to her daughter, Diane Sokol said.

MCLA Trailblazers women's volleyball team member was poised for action.


“It’s a small school and that’s good for Jessica. She likes to branch out, do different things, and here, she doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. There are so many opportunities and everyone fosters and nurtures her interests. That is a credit to the college. We are very happy with this school.”

Volleyball and "Saloon Girls"

Activities and events were held throughout the day on Saturday.

An “antique photo” booth proved popular; groups of students and family members donned Old West-style clothing such as saloon-girl gowns, cowboy hats, and vests, added accessories such as toy guns, and posed for pictures.

At the Campus Center gymnasium, the MCLA Trailblazers and Framingham State College Rams women’s volleyball teams delivered a snappy show of their talents to about 70 spectators.


18-month-old Madelyn Croce attended an MCLA Family Carnival with her mother Kim Croce and her aunt, MCLA student Kathleen Young.
MCLA Director of Student Development and Programs Celia Norcross said that most students and families look forward to the yearly weekend reunion.

“The parents come and see how students are adjusting,” she said. “Usually, everybody is really happy to see each other.”

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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