As the new community engagement coordinator at MCLA’s Center for Service and Citizenship, Chris Hantman ’14 works with our undergraduates to help them reach their goals as they strive to better themselves.
Although his duties include oversight over MCLA’s Bike Share Program, the fulfillment of civic engagement grants, and serving as a resource to students, Hantman said the best part of his position is the opportunity to work with the diligent and compassionate staff in the Office of Student Affairs.
“Everyone here shares the number-one goal of helping students to reach their own goals and better themselves, and that is a great mindset to have,” Hantman said. “Working with the students is a fantastic opportunity to grow and learn to approach projects from a different perspective.”
Since his May 2014 graduation, Hantman, who majored in English/Communications, remained engaged in the Northern Berkshire community as he worked at Adams’ Youth Center, Inc., at its Youth Center Summer camp, and as an afterschool counselor.
His work over the past year also included acting as a peer mentor for the Barrington Stage Company’ Playwright Mentor Project, which pairs mentors with at-risk teens, and he served as a playwright instructor for youth in Great Barrington and Stockbridge for the Berkshire Theatre Group’s BTG Plays!
“I love writing because I enjoy how each word you choose can hold great weight,” Hantman explained. “How we decide to communicate and reach out to others has a great impact on how our message is received, and if we are successful or not. I believe that my education in communication and writing will make working with others and supporting their efforts that much easier.”
Hantman describes his academic experience at MCLA as both “personable” and “quite ideal.”
“My professors, whether in my major or not, always took the time to get to know me as a student, and to learn what I was passionate about,” he explained. “Many encouraged me to pursue my writing, and even let me write creatively about the projects we were doing. This level of support can’t be found at larger state institutions, and is truly a mark of the magic of MCLA.”
He decided to attend MCLA because of the “infectious feeling of acceptance and camaraderie” he felt on a tour of the campus.
“It seemed like everyone – from athletes to thespians – knew what others were involved with, and supported them in those endeavors whether they applied to their own life or not,” Hantman said. “After attending LEAD Academy as a freshman, I was open to the idea of how easily one can improve the quality of life around them. I also saw how easy it was to become a leader at MCLA just by putting forth the effort and trying my best at everything I did.”
As an undergraduate, in addition to serving as a coordinator for the Write Stuff program and co-editor-in-chief for Spires magazine because of their connections to writing, Hantman wrote and performed his poetry publicly. He also was a LEAD Academy Leader, served as the chief fundraiser, vice president and president of the Inter Greek Council (IGC), and was the secretary of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), to name a few.
Through the many experiences he had with each of the clubs he participated in, Hantman gained a great appreciation for community work and service, while he developed a number of important life skills, such as time and program management, recruitment and retention, advertising and marketing, presenting, and how to interact with others.
“MCLA gave me the tools to not only get a degree and find a job, but to better myself and further my passions, skills, and career along the way,” Hantman said.