A Legacy of Life Lessons from East Campus  | Springfield College

A Legacy of Life Lessons from East Campus 


By: Damon Markiewicz

For Class of 2025 Criminal Justice major Dominique LaBranche, she is creating her own memories at East Campus, moments that add to her family’s rich history at Springfield College.

“My parents Judith Bruno LaBranche '92, G'94, and Matthew LaBranche ’92, G’94, met at East Campus, so I feel it was meant to be that I found my way to Springfield College,” she explained. “Now, I am here creating my own memories, so it’s a very special feeling knowing that our family has so many connections to East Campus.”

Whether it’s visiting East Campus for some quiet time in between classes, or working as a camp counselor in the summer at Camp Massasoit, LaBranche relishes in the fact that the environment at East Campus leads her to a mindset that feels so natural and rewarding.

“When I am at East Campus, I feel like I am my best self,” explained LaBranche. “I truly appreciate the fact that not too many schools can say they have a beautiful setting like East Campus to enhance their learning outside of the classroom. I love East Campus so much.”

As part of her experiential learning, she serves as a Camp Massasoit camp counselor from June through August, and LaBranche enjoyed a moment this past summer that highlights the outside of the classroom education that you only receive at Springfield College.

“Working at Camp Massasoit in the summer, you have so many memorable experiences,” she explained. “This past year, I had one of those special moments. I was out in a canoe with three campers, and a storm was starting to hit. We had to work as a team to get to shore and get the canoe put away as quickly as possible. To be able to watch the campers come together, and work as a team, and make sure we were all safe, it was a very special moment. It ties into the goals of respecting each other, respecting the counselors, and respecting East Campus.”

For LaBranche’s classmate Carter Cochardo, East Campus is special to him because it’s where his Springfield College journey started as a first-year student.

“This is where I spent my first night as a student as part of the pre-camp experience,” described Cochardo, who is a Recreation Management major. “For me, East Campus facilitates a space and environment for growth.”

Cochardo’s development also continues into the summer serving as a Camp Massasoit camp counselor, and it’s in that role that has led him to enjoy some of his favorite moments on campus.

“Just being able to see all of the camp participants laughing and enjoying their experience together, it’s a really special feeling to watch everyone being able to make some real authentic connections,” described Cochardo. “These connections established at East Campus will last a lifetime because they are genuine, and very meaningful, and it’s the culture at East Campus that fosters these moments.”

Cochardo went on to add, “During my experiences at East Campus, I have witnessed an environment that is very welcoming to everyone. The culture at East Campus is all about providing the best experience for everyone who visits. There is an intent and purpose surrounding all of the programming at East Campus, which encourages everyone to be the very best versions of themselves.”

Both LaBranche and Cochardo emphasized that working with Director of East Campus and Outdoor Programs Ben Taylor ’99, G’16, and Associate Director of East Campus and Outdoor Programs Angela Veatch, G’07, makes their student experiences so enjoyable. It’s the leadership at East Campus that also makes it an easy decision for both students to want to support East Campus.

“Ben and Veatch have had such positive impacts on my life, and I truly appreciate what great leaders they both are,” described Cochardo. “They both build so many meaningful connections with everyone who visits East Campus. Both Ben and Veatch always want the best for us students, and we truly appreciate them so much.”

As LaBranche concludes, it’s the lessons students learn while working at East Campus that allow for future generations the opportunity to gain that same knowledge.

“As leaders at East Campus, we talk about how a drop of water creates a ripple effect. Ben and Veatch are that drop of water in my eyes,” said LaBranche. “They teach us so many valuable lessons as students, and in turn, we carry on those lessons to our student peers, and the youth we get to work with as camp counselors. They have demonstrated a legacy of life lessons that creates such a caring and compassionate culture. We are all better people because of our time at East Campus.”