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The Five Colleges comprises four liberal arts college and one university in the Connecticut River Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, belonging to a consortium called Five Colleges, Incorporated, which was established in 1965. They are geographically close to one another and are linked by buses which run between the campuses.


The consortium is composed of Amherst Collegemarker, Hampshire Collegemarker, Mount Holyoke Collegemarker, Smith Collegemarker, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A similar organization exists directly to the south and is known as the Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield (CCGS).


The five colleges operate both as independent entities as well as mutually dependent institutions. The Five College Radio Astronomy Observatorymarker was founded in 1969 by the Five College Astronomy Department. Together, the Five Colleges operate WFCR, "Five College Radio", an NPR affiliate operating at 88.5 MHz in the FM band. They also participate in an interlibrary loan program, allowing students, staff, and faculty to take advantage of all five campuses' collections.

In addition, students at each of these schools often take classes at the other colleges ("cross-registration" is permitted and often encouraged). Student groups and organizations often draw participants from all five campuses and several academic programs (for example, astronomy, dance, some foreign languages, and women's studies) are run by the Five Colleges.

Five-College folklore

A popular urban legend among Five College students holds that the characters on the Saturday morning cartoon Scooby-Doo represent the five colleges. The legend has Velma representing Smith College and Daphne as Mount Holyoke, with Fred representing Amherst College, Shaggy as Hampshire College, and Scooby as UMass Amherst. Hanna-Barbera Productions, CBS executive Fred Silverman, and some of the show's writers have said that this story is false, and that the show was actually based on the radio program I Love a Mystery and the TV sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. In fact, Hampshire College did not open until a year after the premiere of Scooby-Doo. In any event, the characters of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! are high-schoolers, not collegiates.



The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) provides free inter-campus bus service to students. The bus line runs among the Five Colleges on frequent schedule seven days a week, allowing car-free travel to class and social events. Hourly buses run into the early morning on weekends, an alternative to driving after drinking. This service is funded through a contract with the member institutions.

Greyhound Bus Lines and Peter Pan Bus Lines also offer regional service. National service is offered through the Springfield, Massachusettsmarker Bus Terminal.


Limited Amtrak service is offered at the Amherst station (AMM). It is contiguous to the Amherst College campus and a PVTA bus stop. Service is North/South, although many more connections are available one stop away at the Springfield station (SPG). Service to Bostonmarker, Montrealmarker, New York Citymarker, Albanymarker, and distant points are available by connecting to regional service at Springfield.


General Aviation

Northampton Airport (FAA: 7B2) and Turners Falls Airportmarker (FAA: OB5) are the closest dedicated general aviation airports. They offer 24 hour access for private aircraft, including corporate jets. 7B2 and 0B5 can only accommodate very small corporate jets.


Major domestic scheduled airline service is available at both Bradley International Airportmarker (FAA: BDL) in northern Connecticut (45 minutes) and Logan International Airportmarker (FAA: BOS) in Boston (90 minutes). Logan offers extensive international flights. Regular schedules are available shuttles for a fee.


  1. UMass Transit web site
  2. Common Departments and Programs from Five Colleges, Inc.
  3. " The scoop on Scooby" from The Unofficial Amherst College WWW FAQ

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