Community Campaign


Earlier this month MCLA's Take Charge intern, Jaimie Wallace '10 of Sutton, MA, and his counterpart from Williams College hosted their first community-wide environmental forum. There, community leaders, local residents, professors, and students of all ages came together to voice their questions and concerns about environmental topics.

A community-based campaign, Take Charge partnered with the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition in May 2008 with the aim of making Northern Berkshire homes more energy efficient.

Wallace (right) says the purpose of the forum was to create a dialogue about current environmental topics - both local and international - that would be widely accessible to the Berkshire community, and to provide a place where people could ask questions and voice their concerns.

"Take Charge hopes that by providing this sort of personable dialogue within the local community, it will shed light on some of the issues that can be improved on in our city," says Wallace. "We hope to use the information gathered at the forum to target key environmental issues in North Adams and re-vamp Take Charge initiatives to cater to the changing community needs."

Lauren Moffatt, coordinator of the Berkshire Environmental Resource Center at MCLA, says a nice thing about living in Northern Berkshire County is that the towns support one another.

"It creates a macro-environment," she says. "The key is to compare and contrast between the communities. What's working for one maybe won't work for another. Being aware of what's going on and then providing each other with support as far as advice, input, and resources is a really important first step."

A sociology major, Wallace says his involvement with Take Charge provides direction for his MCLA education.

"It really gives me the chance to not only blend my environmental interests with my sociology studies, but it has also been a great experience to have a chance to do a lot of program planning and work with the local community on a deeper level," he says. "As a student, I have lived in North Adams and a lot of my education is focused around understanding community issues and how to deal with them.

"Take Charge has given me the opportunity to look at some of these issues first-hand and apply these concepts to everyday life," he continues. "I am hoping that, by continuing with Take Charge, I can continue to use my education outside the classroom to provide dependable support to the Berkshire community."

Wallace says he enjoys studying at MCLA for many reasons, including its small class sizes.

"MCLA also provides an open-minded environment and finding good people here is easy," he says. "I feel that if you just take advantage of the opportunities that MCLA has to offer by joining clubs, internships, participating in events, and take a variety of classes that interest and challenge you, there is a lot that you can gain from this college. MCLA offers me an educational environment that is accessible. It really suits my lifestyle."

For more information on environmental initiatives at MCLA visit green.