Fresh Air and Sunshine


Members of the MCLA Outing Club are enjoying all the Berkshires have to offer and joining fellow students from around New England and New York for a variety of outdoor adventures.

Since coming to MCLA last fall and joining the Outing Club, Kevin Mack '11 has gone hiking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. A transfer student from Nassau Community College on Long Island, he was attracted to MCLA in part because of the natural beauty of the area.

"I was a very active member of the outing club at my previous college and wanted to continue that," says Mack (pointing in the photo above).  "I met so many people. College is what you make of it, and through the Outing Club, you can do so much.

"The Berkshires are indescribable," he continues. "There are great views, great hikes. You're right near Vermont - you're right near everywhere. MCLA is ideal for someone who loves hiking as much as I do."

His first trip of the fall semester, sponsored by the Rensselaer Outing Club, was to Lake George, NY. The MCLA contingent met up with fellow members of the Intercollegiate Outing Club Association, including students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, and Mount Holyoke College.

At Lake George, the students canoed to an island and went hiking, swimming and cliff jumping. At night, they all got together for a "big feast" and even did some square dancing.

"It sounds really goofy and corny, but it's a lot of fun," says Mack. "Through that, I've been able to meet so many people."

The group also backpacked part of the Long Trail and twice hiked up Mt. Greylock. On one of the excursions, they met students in the University of Rhode Island Outing Club. As a result, the two clubs are teaming up for a trip to Mt. Monadnock, NH.

Mack hopes to share his Outing Club experiences with all the students at MCLA.

"You don't need to have any experience, and all the equipment - sleeping bags, backpacks, stoves, snowshoes - is provided," he explains. "All we need is people to go. If you want to do something, just come to an Outing Club meeting."

On Wednesday, January 27, at 9 p.m. in the Sullivan Lounge, the group plans a movie night featuring Touching the Void. The film is about two mountaineers who experienced a near-fatal climb on the 20,814-foot Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. The event is free and hot chocolate and snacks will be served.

"Everyone in the group has a great passion for the outdoors," says Mack. "We can go on these adventures and try different things and the Outing Club, the school and its location really allow us to do that. That's one of the best things at MCLA."

Future trips will include snowshoeing, cross country skiing and biking excursions. Outing Club members will also volunteer at the 75th anniversary Thunderbolt alpine ski race on Mt. Greylock February 20.

For more information about the Outing Club, contact the group's advisor, Professor David Eve, in the computer science department.