Actively involved with a variety of organizations on campus, Chris Hantman '14 of Franklin, Mass., is making the most of his MCLA experience through travel and experiences shared with others as he studies English/communications, with a focus on cinema.
He decided to attend MCLA because of the environment and acceptance found here.
"I felt it just through my tour of the school," Hantman explained. "Every other school I visited, kids were yelling, 'Don't go here. Get out while you still can.' However, everyone at MCLA was urging me to come here. The choice was easy."
Before he arrived on campus, Hantman never traveled. So far, he's been to Central America to do community service work in Belize. He's also visited New York City and has been to Boston twice.
"I chose to go to Belize because I love helping people and I had also never been out of the country," Hantman explained. "It seemed like a perfect combination. The trip was culturally and spiritually rewarding. I learned so much about a place and people that I had no previous knowledge of, and I was able to reach out to many people and help many families by planting a few trees with other MCLA students. It just amazes me how a little hard work can help so many people."
While he also is involved with a number of clubs and organizations, including the Student Activities Council and the Photography Club, perhaps Hantman's most rewarding experience to date has been his involvement with LEAD Academy as he helped first-year students make the transition from high school to college. The summer before his freshman year began, Hantman, too, participated in LEAD Academy.
"I was very fortunate in this sense. I came to this school with a group of good friends, a great girlfriend, and a number of acquaintances. This jump start allowed me to hit the ground running," he said. "LEAD Academy was easily the best week of my life. I had never learned more about myself and others as I did then.
"I also have had the privilege of being a coordinator of The Write Stuff," Hantman continued. "The program consists of MCLA students mentoring local fifth through seventh graders in creative writing, all while experiencing an aspect of college life. This position has helped me with my time management, coordinating and curriculum building skills. It has also helped me better myself as a writer.
It's easy to get involved at MCLA.
"As long as you have a little drive and don't rely solely on what you know, what you do will continue to amaze you," Hantman said. "Being involved in so much has taught me to be more selfless and to really look at what is important in life. When I force myself to stay busy, I am much more efficient, and it's a great feeling."
So far, Hantman's favorite class has been "Introduction to Mass Media," taught by Dr. Joseph Ebiware.
"He is a really personable guy, and helped to make the content even more interesting. In addition to his class, I have really enjoyed 'Essentials of Film' as it gives an in-depth look into something that I have always been interested in."
What's been the best thing about his MCLA experience?
"Meeting new friends, having great opportunities and living life as much as possible," Hantman said.