MCLA Welcomes Students for 2019-20 Academic Year

August 28, 2019

MCLA Campus

New and returning MCLA students will enjoy a renovated dining hall and upgrades to campus Wi-Fi and cellular service, among other improvements.

Four hundred and fifty new students and 1,400 students total will comprise MCLA’s student body for the 2019-20 academic year.

Students move in over Labor Day weekend, and classes begin on Wednesday, Sept. 4. MCLA’s new student enrollment is up from last year, with an 11 percent increase in first-year students enrolled. More than 60 transfer students will join the MCLA community from Southern Vermont College.

As usual, MCLA’s incoming Class of 2023 are a diverse group, with one-third identifying as students of color. Half of these students are first-generation, meaning they are the first in their families to attend college. Two-thirds are from Massachusetts, with others hailing from the New England states as well as New York, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas.

“We’re so excited to welcome new and returning students to campus, as always,” said MCLA Dean of Enrollment and Community Engagement Gina Puc. “This year, we have some exciting upgrades waiting for them on campus.”

MCLA Welcome Week runs from Sept. 1-Sept. 7 and includes programming designed to help students get acquainted with campus, their new schedules, and to help new students adjust to college life. Academic Convocation, a celebration for the Class of 2023 symbolizing the official beginning of their college careers, will take place Tuesday, Sept. 3 at noon. The College’s traditional hike up Mount Greylock will take place Sept. 7.

Renovated Campus Spaces

The Campus Center is undergoing a major, multi-phase renovation designed to enhance student spaces and the student experience. Phase 1 of the project, featuring major renovations to MCLA’s Centennial Dining Room, will be complete when students return to campus.

This new renovation has enabled Dining Services to make some requested improvements to the menu including a dedicated gluten-free zone and vegan entrees at every meal. In addition, a plan to improve healthy options at every meal will feature an improved salad bar and more fresh fruit at every meal.

Phase II of the renovation project was also started this summer and will be ongoing throughout the academic year. When it is complete, MCLA will open a brand new, state-of-the-art fitness center with an elevated walking track, and a reorganization of Athletics offices and related sports medicine functions.

The Freel Library has updated its first floor (the Learning Commons), adding three group study rooms, new flexible furniture, a graphic novel section, counter seating in the lounge, and more. Students will notice the reference desk has moved, the Children’s Room has been spruced up, and new e-book and streaming video packages for student use have been added.  

WiFi and Cellular Upgrades

A new cellular tower installed on the roof of the Amsler Campus Center should improve cellular service for the MCLA community. Verizon Wireless is doing the installation work.

MCLA’s IT Department has also installed and tested an upgrade to Wi-Fi 6, which will provide a four-fold increase over the speed of the College’s last Wi-Fi network, allowing students to more reliably connect any device they need, faster and in every part of the residences. Students should now see faster download and upload speeds, increased battery life for devices connected to Wi-Fi, and better connectivity on campus overall. This upgrade is a response to student concerns about campus internet speeds and a way to make sure MCLA can maintain fast and reliable campus Wi-Fi for years to come.

This new network will complement the new Verizon cell tower being installed on the roof of the campus center which will provide high-speed LTE service throughout campus. Students will now have multiple options for reliable data and voice calling with Wi-Fi enabled calling and traditional cellular services.