Commuter Student Active in Campus Life


Although the majority of MCLA's students live in the College's residence halls and townhouses, one need not live on campus to be fully engaged in the many opportunities available to them outside of the classroom.

One such student is Maria Canuto '12 of North Adams, MA.

"Despite the potential disadvantages that come with commuting, I love living at home where I can have my own room and personal space," Canuto says. "Getting involved is not a big issue because I do not live on campus. Through my classes I still have the opportunity to meet great friends and build relationships. Different clubs and organizations are also different resources you can utilize."

Canuto says she selected MCLA because the College provided her with the opportunity of small classes and a sense of a close-knit community. Originally from the Boston, MA, area, she also wanted to attend college away from the noise and bright lights of the city.

"It was the perfect place to be on my own and focus on my education, far from some of the distraction of the city life," she says. "Although, in the beginning, living in North Adams was a culture shock for me, MCLA is a great fit for me. Being away from home, I have learned to be independent and responsible."

An active member of the campus, Canuto's extracurricular activities include M.A.S.S. (Multicultural Admissions Student Squad), which is a relatively new group at MCLA. Students involved with M.A.S.S. serve as liaisons between prospective students, the Admissions office and the college community. M.A.S.S also helps the Admissions team to promote and display the multicultural community on campus.

Canuto also looks forward to being a tour ambassador next fall, when she will those interested in attending MCLA around the campus. Next year, she also hopes to work with local schoolchildren from the surrounding community.

"Through the opportunities and resources here at MCLA, I am looking forward to doing some outreach to a few elementary and middle schools around the North Adams area," says Canuto. "My goal is to engage students in hands-on learning projects led by other volunteers and professional educators and to help build strong links between parents, schools and neighborhoods."

Aware of the many opportunities at MCLA to study abroad - through travel study courses or by spending an entire semester overseas - Canuto also looks forward to what she expects to be the "eye-opening experience" of living and studying in another country.

In the meantime, "I see myself fitting in s an active member of the community and an advocate for MCLA," Canuto says. "As a commuter student attending MCLA, I most contribute to the campus community by being the voice for commuters to receive additional outreach and attention in the hope that, as a result, commuter students can be aware of the different activities and events taking place on campus and be more enticed to participating outside of the classroom. Just as I am."