The Online Beacon

The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

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MCLA Students Fall for Autumn-Themed Event in Mark Hopkins

A Recap of the Second Annual Fall Frenzy
The outside of Mark Hopkins Hall. Photo taken by Angelina Clark.

On Wednesday, October 4th, and Thursday, October 5th, Academic Advising and Support, Disability Resources, TRiO Student Support Services, and the Trailblazer Tutor Center held the second annual Fall Frenzy on the first floor of Mark Hopkins Hall. When entering the building, groups of students could be seen congregating, along with some individuals from the faculty and staff.

All along the halls of Mark Hopkins, various tables and displays could be seen, showcasing the various organizations and services available on the first floor of the building. One of the event’s key purposes was to inform students of the location of these services within Mark Hopkins Hall, as many students, especially newer/first-year students, may not realize that they are available.

Students were welcome to make coffee at the iced coffee bar, which included a pitcher of cold brew in addition to a variety of milk, coffee syrups, and creamer. If someone was not interested in coffee, they could enjoy iced tea, along with fresh snicker doodles and a variety of frosted donuts. Alongside the variety of treats, students were able to select from a variety of fidget toys, make friendship bracelets, and enter a raffle for a highly-sought after Pumpkin Squishmallow.

One of the highlights of the event was the appearance of Joey the golden retriever, who is a new addition to the school and acts as a mascot of sorts for MCLA. Joey is normally in Mark Hopkins on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. At the Fall Frenzy he roamed up and down the halls, visiting with all of the students who were eager to either meet him for the first time or simply spend time with him.

One of the organizations involved in the event, TRiO, spoke to The Beacon about the specifics of the event and the TRiO program as a whole. TRiO programs such as the one at MCLA, also referred to as Federal TRiO programs, provide various academic services and counseling for students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

As stated on the TRiO Student Support Services page on MCLA’s website, MCLA’s “Student Support Services is a federally-funded TRiO program that provides opportunities for academic development, assists scholars in meeting college requirements, and serves to motivate scholars towards the successful completion of their post-secondary education.” Those eligible for the TRiO program at MCLA are those with disabilities, first generation college students (meaning their parent(s)/guardian(s) did not graduate college before the student reached 18 years-old), and those considered low income.

On the intent of the second annual Fall Frenzy event, Barbara Baker, MCLA’s Director of TRiO Student Support Services, states that the key purpose of the event is to help students learn, “about important support services that can help them achieve their goals at MCLA,” in an a setting that is, “low-keyed (and) low-stressed.” Baker continues, stating that at this two-day event, attendees were invited to, “learn about campus resources and engage in some fun craft activities while enjoying the community of other MCLA students in attendance.”

Like the other MCLA organizations involved in the event, TRiO has an important mission that it hopes to make the larger student body aware of. Baker wants students to, “see TRiO as a program that is about exploring your potential and providing opportunities to blossom academically and socially.”

“TRiO was created on the foundation of equity and access to quality education,” highlights Baker, and “I think an important benefit TRiO brings to the table is that we have a staff who represent diverse social identities of being first generation college students, have a history of being from under-resourced homes financially, or having a disability.” In Baker’s words, the TRiO program of MCLA encourages students to, “[be] proud of who [they] are and what [they] can bring to the world to create a better place.” As the motto says,” declares Baker, “TRiO works for all!”

The other three student services responsible for hosting the event, Academic Advising and Support, Disability Resources, and the Trailblazer Tutor Center, possess important goals that involve aiding the students on campus with their unique needs. Academic Advising provides many services and resources for students, such as, “academic advising, peer-led academic support, success coaching, and advising for students who are exploring their academic options,” as stated on the MCLA website.

Disability Resources, on the other hand, aids students with documented disabilities in the form of an accessible testing center, assistive technology, customized accommodation plans for classes, and more. Lastly, the Trailblazer Tutor Center allows MCLA students in need of help with coursework to receive tutoring from a peer, completely free of charge.

The 2023 Fall Frenzy event allowed students to not only socialize while engaging in fun activities, but granted the opportunity to learn about important resources available to those who need them. The MCLA website provides detailed information about each of these resources on each respective service’s webpage.

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Angelina Clark, Web Editor

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