On-Campus Spring Break Offers Activities for those Staying in the Berkshires

Jillian Currier, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Although the weather doesn’t reflect it, spring break is rapidly approaching. And while most students have their suitcases packed and flights booked, other students are staying on campus with no plans over the break.

Chris Hantman, Coordinator of the Office of Civic and Community Engagement, is changing that for students who will be staying in the Berkshires for the week.

The On-Campus Spring Break, presented by the Volunteer Center, has events planned out for these students spanning the week of March 13-17 to ensure that students are not lonely on campus.

“It can be isolating to be here over break when everyone else is gone, so this is a way to convene people and build community,” Hantman said in an interview with the Beacon.

He explained that there are events planned for Monday through Friday of the Spring Break week, all free of charge for students to sign up for. Events like a movie night, a dodgeball tournament, a trip to Mass MoCA, a game night, and volunteering locally are on the agenda.

Each event planned was done so with the students in mind, as Hantman explained he relied on Volunteer Center members to come up with ideas. Casey Young ’23 and Madilynn Brothers ’26 were the ones tasked with the event planning.

“I told them to build something that they would want to do, because if they want to do it then odds are other students want to do it as well,” Hantman said.

When creating the event schedule, there were limitations when it came to traveling, as not many students are van certified on campus. Because of this, further away trips – like Images Cinema in Williamstown, a past event – are not in the cards this year.

“This being our second year, that’s a growing pain we’ve noticed,” Hantman explained. Because he is attending the Alternative Spring Break Trip to Belize during the break, he won’t be on campus to transport students like he did the previous year.

Hantman also explained that all events are free to attend for students, and they can pick and choose which ones they would want to go to. The signup form lets students select their interests for events, like volunteering or movie night, that way they can have a rough estimate of how many students will attend.

Students are not bound to their choices, as they can show up to any event during the week regardless of if they signed up for it.

“If someone misses signups and they still really want to come I encourage them to just show up – I’d rather have someone come than be discouraged to show up because they didn’t sign up in time,” Hantman said.

He also explained how important the signup form is when it comes to meals, as the dining hall will be closed for the entire week. Having an estimate for how many students will show up helps plan meals for each event to offset the lack of food availability on campus.

The option for students staying on campus to have plans over the break is incredibly important to the overall well-being and mental health of the campus community. Many students do not have the option or choice to go home or on a trip over the break, which influenced Hantman to create the program.

“I hope they know that spring break doesn’t have to be alone in their rooms – there are other students on campus, there are staff on campus that want to see them,” Hantman said, “Whenever we can convene students over something that builds community, we want to do that.”

For anyone interested in participating in the On-Campus Spring Break activities or looking for more details, reach out to [email protected].