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The University of Massachusetts (otherwise known as UMass or Massachusetts) is a selective research and land-grant university in Amherstmarker, Massachusettsmarker. The University of Massachusetts Amherst offers over 90 undergraduate and 65 graduate areas of study.


Foundation and early years

The university was founded in 1863 under the provisions of the Federal Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to provide instruction to Massachusetts citizens in the "agricultural, mechanical, and military arts". Accordingly, the university was initially named the Massachusetts Agricultural College, popularly referred to as Mass Aggie or M.A.C. At the time, the university had 50 men enrolled and including only a fraction of what the campus is today—including the Old Chapel, South College, and Goodell Hall, which was the library at the time. In 1931, due to an increase in enrollment and support from the Commonwealth, it was renamed Massachusetts State College.


The school has several buildings of importance in the modernist style, including the campus center designed by Marcel Breuer, the Southwest Residential Area designed by Hugh Stubbins Jr of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, The Fine Arts Center by Kevin Roche, the W.E.B. DuBois Library by Edward Durell Stone, and the Mullins Center by Gordon Bunshaft. The eclectic mix of building styles draws mixed reactions from students and visitors. The Lederle Graduate Research Center is currently undergoing an exterior renovation. Newly completed construction projects on campus include the Studio Arts Building and the Integrated Sciences Center.

Recent expansion project

In 2004, former Governor Mitt Romney proposed an ambitious expansion project in which the size and population of the university would almost double as it took over the role of the state's community college system which Romney has begun to consolidate and dismantle. While this proposal received the support of the student government, town residents are exceedingly resistant to any such plan as it would increase the already critical traffic congestion in the center of town.

Following Mitt Romney's mandate, the UMass Amherst administration has pushed for admission of more students than there are residences. A large construction initiative, known as "New Dirt" is currently underway, in renovating and building new residential and academic facilities.

Designation as flagship campus

In 2003, for the first time, UMass Amherst was legally designated by the state legislature to be a "research university" and the "flagship campus" of the UMass system.



The number of applications to UMass Amherst has almost doubled from 16,500 to 29,500 in just five years, increasing for the fifth consecutive year. Sixty-four percent of applicants were accepted to the University, and 2% to the Commonwealth College (14% of those accepted). The incoming Class of 2013 had an average 3.57 GPA in high school, also an increase from previous years.

Commonwealth College

The Commonwealth College (ComCol) is the honors college at UMass. The honors college provides students the opportunity to intensify their UMass academic curriculum. The requirements of the college are to complete a set number of the required classes for one's major at the honors level as well as complete a senior year thesis or capstone project and several Dean's book courses. Completion of the ComCol courseload is no longer required in order to graduate the University with higher Latin honors designations, such as magna or summa cum laude, though students who do enroll in ComCol can earn the honors with a lower GPA (than those enrolled in the general university population). ComCol provides honors students an additional community of students to interact with outside of their academic department.


The W.E.B.marker Du Bois Librarymarker is the tallest library in the United Statesmarker and the tallest academic library in the world. It is also well regarded for its innovative architectural design, which incorporates the bookshelves into the structural support of the building. It is home of the memoirs and papers of the distinguished African-American activist and Massachusetts native W. E. B. Du Bois as well as being the depository for other important collections, such as the papers of the late Congressman Silvio O. Conte.

Special Collections include
  • Social change and movements for social change
  • African American history and culture
  • Labor, work, and industry
  • Literature and the arts
  • Agriculture
  • The history of the region

The W.E.B.marker Du Bois Librarymarker is also notable for being home to the Learning Commons, opened in 2005. The Learning Commons provides a central location for resources provided by several departments across campus including Library Reference, Office of Information Technologies Help Desk, Academic Advising, Writing Center, Career Services, and Assistive Technologies Center. The Learning Commons has 164 computers with a broad range of software installed arranged in a variety of configurations for both individual and collaborative work. The library offers services including tutoring, writing workshops, and supplemental instruction scattered among its 26 floors. The building itself is so large that it needs a security force. That security force is the Building Monitor Desk. The desk is managed by various supervisors and student employees.

The Integrated Sciences and Engineering Library is the other main library on campus. It is located on the 2nd floor of the Lederle Graduate Research Center (occasionally referred to as the Lederle "low rise").

UMass Amherst is home to the DEFA Film Library, the only archive and study collection of East German films outside of Europe.

Other libraries include the Shirley Graham Du Bois Library in New Africa House, the Biological Sciences Library in Morrill Hall, and the Music Reserve Lab in the Fine Arts Center.

Information technology

UMass Amherst is a member of Internet2.

The Office of Information Technologies (OIT) provides all faculty, staff, and students with an OIT account which provides access to a variety of services including email (UMail), online storage space (UDrive), web hosting space, and blogging space.

OIT maintains 11 Computer Classrooms across campus with approximately 300 computers available to members of the UMass community. Many of these are the computers available in the Learning Commons located in the W.E.B. DuBois Library. Additionally, many departments and programs have their own computing resources available for members of those groups.

Many UMass Amherst instructors make use of Blackboard's Blackboard Vista learning management system (which has been branded as SPARK on campus) for delivery of course content via the web.

In the winter of 2003, the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) rolled out the SPIRE system, which is based on PeopleSoft's student information system. At UMass, SPIRE is a web-based system used to register for courses, view transcripts, view degree progress, view bursar balances, as well as a variety of other tasks.

On October 21, 2005 UMass Amherst was designated as the first-in-the-nation Microsoft IT Showcase School by CEO Steve Ballmer, recognizing the university's innovative leadership in applying information technology to teaching and learning.

In April 2008, UMass Amherst announced a campus alert system whereby members of the university can receive emergency notification via text messaging.

Five College consortium

UMass Amherst is part of the Five Colleges consortium, which allows its students to attend classes, borrow books, work with professors, etc., at four other Pioneer Valley institutions: Amherstmarker, Hampshiremarker, Mount Holyokemarker, and Smithmarker Colleges.

All five colleges are located within 10 miles of Amherst center, and are accessible by public bus. The five share an astronomy department and some other undergraduate and graduate departments.

Research labs at UMass Amherst

  • Autonomous Learning Laboratory (Computer Science)
  • Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval (Computer Science)
  • Knowledge Discovery Laboratory (Computer Science)
  • Laboratory For Perceptual Robotics (Computer Science)
  • Center for Geometry, Analysis, Numerics, and Graphics (Mathematics)
  • Center for Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Computation (Mathematics)
  • Center for Economic Development
  • Political Economy Research Institute
  • Center for Education Policy
  • The Environmental Institute
  • Center for Public Policy and Administration
  • Labor Relations and Research Center
  • Virtual Center for Supernetworks
  • Antennas and Propagation Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Center for Advanced Sensor and Communication Antennas (CASCA) (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Multimedia Networks Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Network Systems Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Wireless Systems Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • VLSI Circuits and Systems Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Reconfigurable Computing Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Architecture and Real Time Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Complex Systems Modeling and Control Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Emerging Electronics Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Feedback Control Systems Lab (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Information Systems Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Laboratory for Millimeter Wavelength Devices and Applications (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory (MIRSL)(Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Terahertz Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • VLSI CAD Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Yield and Reliability of VLSI Circuits (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Software systems and architecture group (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Scientific Reasoning Research Institute
  • National Center for Digital Government
  • Wind Energy Center (formerly the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory) (Mechanical and Industrial Engineering)
  • Center for e-design
  • Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (Mechanical and Industrial Engineering)

Ranking and reputation

U.S. News and World Report's 2010 edition of America's Best Colleges placed UMass Amherst at #106 on their list of "Best National Universities" ranking it the joint 46th amongst Public Universities.

The MBA program is highly ranked by the Princeton Review.

The computer science program is placed at #20 by US News rankings tied with Rice, Duke and UPenn.. The artificial intelligence and computer systems are highly ranked by US News rankings. AI program placed at #10 while computer systems is ranked at #18 by US News rankings .

Polymer science is ranked at #7 and chemical engineering is ranked at #5 for quality of education by Institute for scientific information.

The undergraduate engineering program is ranked by U.S. News as tied for #56 in the country among schools whose highest degree is a doctorate, beating such area schools as Boston Universitymarker, Tufts Universitymarker, Wentworth Institute of Technologymarker and Northeastern Universitymarker.The graduate engineering program is ranked by the same agency as #50 in the country.

A 1995 study ranked UMass Amherst as ranking 8th out of 44 public universities for undergraduate graduation rates

The Chronicle of Higher Education named UMass Amherst a "Top Producer of Fulbright students" in the 2008-2009 academic year.

Student life

Student Government Association

The Student Government Association (SGA) is the undergraduate student governmental body, and provides funding for the many registered student organizations (RSOs) and agencies, including the Student Legal Services Office (SLSO) and the Student Center for Educational Research and Advocacy (SCERA). The SGA also makes formal recommendations on matters of Administration policy and advocates for undergraduate students to the Administration, non-student organizations, and local and state government. The SGA has a budget of approximately 2 million dollars per year which is collected for students in the form of the Student Activities Fee. The student activities fee is currently $47 per semester (Spring 2009). It is used to fund RSOs, Agencies and the SGA itself.

The SGA has three branches: the President and Executive Cabinet, the Undergraduate Student Senate, and the Student Judiciary.

Area governmentsThere are a total of seven area governments. Each of the campus's six residential areas has an area government, and there is also a Commuter Area Government to serve commuter students. Area governments provide social programming for their areas, and are in charge of the house councils for the dorms in their area. They also represent the needs and interests of students in their areas to the Administration, Housing and Residence Life and the SGA.

Area Governments have a tradition of sponsoring large events, generally in the Spring, such as Fill the Hill, Bowl Weekend and Southwest Week.

House councilsEach residence hall or residential "cluster" (a group of residence halls) at UMass Amherst has a house council. House councils report to their respective area governments. Its budget comes from voluntary dues collected in return for access to common supplies (access to the kitchenette, rental access to vacuums, brooms, games, etc). House councils also engage in social programming for their halls or clusters, and advocate to housing staff in regards to concerns of students in their hall/cluster.

Registered Student Organizations

UMass Amherst has many registered student organizations (RSOs). Most RSOs are funded by the Student Government Association (SGA), from the activity fee that all students pay, however, the SGA has often been criticized for not funding all clubs fully or equally. In recent years, the fee has been about $81. In order to start an RSO, one needs a group of at least eight interested students, who then petition the SGA for recognition. Each semester, the SGA reviews RSOs, and those which have too few members are considered inactive. Club Sports, which are non-NCAA athletic or organized sports teams, are considered RSOs.

Residential Leadership Association

The Residential Leadership Association is a student organization composed of residential students. It is composed of an executive board and hall level leaders known as Community Leaders (CLs). RLA is nationally affiliated with the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH). This organization makes an effort to support all the residential students UMass Amherst by providing programming and leadership development opportunities. It provides various leadership opportunities such as leadership conferences and roundtable discussions while continutinuing to foster the development of the on campus community through innovative programming. In the past, such programs such as Johnny Cupcakes, a Ski Trip, a BBQ/Concert have been put on by RLA.

Founded in 2003, RLA strives to make a positive impact on this campus. RLA is the parent/sister group to the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) which recognizes student leaders within the residence halls. The RLA office is located in the basement of Pierpont Hall in the Southwest Residential Area.


The Minuteman Battalion is the institution's Army ROTC battalion. Active on the Amherst campus, the program's Scabbard and Blade community service club is very active and represents UMass well throughout the year with food drives, assistance to local veteran's groups and assistance with the Medical Readiness Corps at UMass in preparing for large-scale medical disasters. Most students are on a full tuition scholarship. UMass-Amherst is the host program for the Pioneer Valley and Five Colleges Army ROTC programs including: Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, Western New England College (WNEC), Springfield College, Westfield State College and American International College (AIC). At AIC and WNEC, students on Army ROTC Scholarships also earn free room and board.

Marching band

UMass Amherst has the largest marching band in New England. The Minuteman Marching Band consists of over 390 members and regularly plays at football games. The band is led by George N. Parks. The Minuteman Band also won the prestigious Sudler Trophy in 1998 for excellence. The band is well known across the nation for its style and excellence, particularly for its percussion UMass Drumline and tuba sections. The band also performs in various other places like Allentown, Pennsylvaniamarker, Bands of America, Boston, and on occasion Montreal.

Fraternities and Sororities

UMass is home to numerous fraternities and sororities, organized under four councils: IFC, NPC, NPHC, and the MGC. Several Greek Life organizations had houses on North Pleasant Street until Alpha Tau Gamma, Inc. who owned the property for many years, did not renew the leases. The North Pleasant Street houses were colloquially known as Frat Row. Most of Alpha Tau Gamma Properties' houses were out of code and were razed November, 2006. The land was then sold to the University. Currently several sororities & fraternities still live in "Frat Row" including Sigma Delta Tau, Pi Kappa Alpha, Iota Gamma Upsilon, Phi Sigma Kappa and Theta Chi. Behind "Frat Row" or North Pleasant Street there are more sorority houses such as Sigma Kappa, Kappa Kappa Gammamarker, and Alpha Chi Omega. Two other houses Chi Omega and Sigma Phi Epsilon are situated on Olympia Drive, on the northern outskirts of the campus. Delta Upsilon is also situated on North Pleasant Street just past Lederle and Totman. Alpha Epsilon Pi is also on campus. Alpha Epsilon Pi recently relocated to Sunset Ave, and Pi Kappa Alpha returned to campus in Spring of '07.

Several organizations do not have houses, such as Alpha Delta Phi, Pi Kappa Phi, Phi Sigma Pi, Alpha Epsilon Phi, Delta Chi,Zeta Psi and the NPHC, and the MGC fraternities and sororities. , the membership of the University of Massachusetts - Amherst Multicultural Greek Council is composed of the members of the following organizations at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and nationals: Delta Xi Phi, Kappa Phi Lambda, Pi Delta Psi, Phi Iota Alpha, Sigma Lambda Upsilon, Sigma Psi Zeta, Sigma Lambda Beta, and Sigma Lambda Gamma.

The Greek community has several annual traditions, including UDance, the Relay for Life and the annual Greek Week, during which the various fraternities are partnered with sororities, and these teams compete with each other throughout a week of challenges.

The different councils of the Greek system have governing boards, referred to as Executive Boards. The members of these boards are elected or appointed into their positions and hold them for a year term.

The Daily Collegian

The student-operated newspaper, The Daily Collegian, is published Monday through Friday during the University of Massachusetts' calendar semester. The Collegian is independently funded, operating on advertising revenue. Founded in 1890, the paper began as Aggie Life, became the College Signal in 1901, the Weekly Collegian in 1914 and the Tri-Weekly Collegian in 1956. Published daily since 1967, the Collegian has been broadsheet since January 1994. The Daily Collegian is the largest daily college newspaper in New England.

On every April Fool's Day since 1996, The Daily Collegian publishes a privately funded joke front page called The Morning Wood. The humorous edition features many comedic news articles complete with fake Op-Eds and doctored pictures. Most members of the University appreciate the annual special, but some feel it is inappropriate due to its occasional use of vulgar language.


The Union Video Center is the University of Massachusetts' student-run television station, located in the basement of the Student Union. UVC-TV 19 is part of the University's Housing Cable Services Network and airs on channel 19 to over 11,000 viewers on campus via a closed circuit system. UVC began as the Student Video Project in 1974, and was renamed the Union Video Center in 1978 after growing into a full-fledged television station. Today, UVC-TV 19 serves as a resource on campus for full-time undergraduate students interested in learning about any aspect of television, video production, or cablecasting by providing access to audio and video equipment, studio, and editing workstations. Student members cover campus events and guest lectures, produce original shows, films and documentaries, and air their work on UVC.


The student-operated radio station, WMUAmarker, is a federally licensed, non-commercial broadcast facility serving the Connecticut River Valley of western Massachusetts, northern Connecticutmarker, and southern Vermontmarker. Although the station is managed by full-time undergraduate students of the University of Massachusetts, station members can consist of various members of the University (undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff), as well as people of the surrounding communities. WMUA began as an AM station in 1949, and today broadcasts music, news, sports, and public affairs programming. The station is located in the basement of the Lincoln Campus Center.


The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Buildings and layout

The campus extends about a mile from the Campus Center in all directions. The university owns significant amounts of land in the nearby town of Sunderlandmarker. ( Campus Map)

The campus may be thought of as a series of concentric rings. In the outermost ring are parking lots, the admissions center, playing fields and barns for the animal science program. In the middle ring there are the six residential areas and dining commons. (There are four dinning commons on campus, Franklin, Worcester, Berkshire and Hampshire. Though Berkshire was most recently renovated and is considered the premier dining hall, Worcester sees the highest volume of diners.) The innermost ring has most of the classroom buildings and research labs.

South Campus

The Isenberg School of Management has its buildings in the southernmost part of campus near the Visitors Center and the Newman Center, the Catholic student center. In addition to being the site of the main administration building, Whitmore, the southeast side of campus has buildings mainly dedicated to the humanities and fine arts. Buildings include Herter, Bartlett, Mahar and the Fine Arts Center (FAC). Between Whitmore, the FAC and Isenberg lies the Haigis Mall, a local stop on both the PVTA and Peter Pan bus lines. The buildings on the southwest side of campus house the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. These include Dickinson Hall and Tobin Hall.

Student Union
The Student Union Building houses most of the University's RSOs and it is the home of the Student Government Association. Other facilities include a convenience store, a ball room, and a student lounge. Several student-run businesses and co-ops are also present including a copy services center called Campus Design and Copy (CD&C), Tickets Unlimited (Tix), Bike Coop, the Fair trade convenience store, bagel shop People's Market and a vegan/vegetarian eatery Earthfoods Cafe.

South College
South College is the home of UMass' world renowned linguistics department. The DuBois library was intended to be an annex to South College.

Campus CenterDesigned by famed architect Marcel Breuer, the Murray D. Lincoln Campus Center is located adjacent to the Student Union and is accessible via passageways from both the Student Union as well as from the main level of the parking garage.

On the concourse level are the campus store, restrooms, graduate student lounge, which serves beer, and the Bluewall, which contains a cafe, a smoothie stand and a fair trade coffee stand. This level is a high-traffic area throughout most of the day with students and faculty not only using it as a 'pass through' from one building to another, but also as the central hub of on-campus life. Many people often pass the time between classes on this level and it is common to find vendors and organizations operating from fold-out tables along either side.

The lower level of the campus center has multiple conference rooms and a large auditorium. Within the central space of the lower level are telephones, ATMs, vending, as well as couches and television. The offices of the University newspaper, The Daily Collegian, can be found at the far end of the level, along with the University radio station, WMUAmarker, and its offices. One of the basement rooms is home to the UMass Science Fiction Society's library which is the second largest Science Fiction library on the east coast.

The top floor of the Campus Center, "The Top of the Campus" recently underwent a complete renovation. It is home to a state of the art teaching kitchen, beverage lab and dining room facility.

Campus Center HotelAbove the concourse level is the Campus Center Hotel, a five-level full service facility with 116 rooms, including two suites located in the Campus Center. The Campus Center Hotel is the training ground for the university's Hospitality and Tourism Management students.

Fletcher's CafeFletcher's Café is a student run business on campus at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. It is located in Flint Lab, the Hospitality and Tourism Management building, which is next to the campus center parking garage. Students that are part of the Hospitality and Tourism Management major take on full managerial responsibilities and are required to hire employees, order food and drinks, take care of accounting and hopefully make a profit by the end of the semester. Fletcher's Cafe is currently run by Jamie Tooley and Dan Shaw.

North Campus

The north side of campus is mostly dedicated to science and engineering, and many buildings there are newer than their counterparts in the humanities. The Physics Department primarily uses Hasbrouck Lab, located at 666 North Pleasant Street. The Lederle Graduate Research Tower is the largest building on the north side, housing the Math department on its sixteenth floor. As the Math Department headquarters, the sixteenth floor is prominently labeled 4². The Silvio Conte Polymer Research facility is located in North campus.

Computer science
The Computer Science department recently moved into an airy new building built for them on the edge of campus, though classes are often taught elsewhere, especially for lower division classes. Between the imposing concrete LGRT, the second-story walkway from it to its sister structure the LGRC, the glass-and-aluminum Computer Science building, and other new buildings for the Engineering and Polymer Science departments, North Campus looks more "high-tech" than the rest of campus.

Sports, recreation, and exercise

Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium.
Major sporting events, such as UMass's hockey and basketball team games, are held in the Mullins Centermarker, amidst the fields to the west. Other locales for sporting events include Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadiummarker (where UMass holds its football games) and Garber Field, which is an artificial-turf field adjacent to Boyden Gym used for lacrosse, field hockey, and various team practices.

In fall 2007, ground was broken across the street from the Mullins Center on a new $50 million recreation complex. The Recreation Center was completed in spring 2009 and spans three floors, including weight and cardio equipment, a basketball court and jogging/running track, activity rooms, locker facilities, and a juice bar. Use of the Rec Center will be free for undergraduates and available for a fee to graduate students and faculty/staff. The building was originally scheduled to open in early September, but was delayed due to problems with fire safety and security systems. The Rec Center opened to the public on October 30, 2009.

On campus there are two other gyms: Totman (adjacent to the North Apartments) and Boyden (near the Southwest residential area). Prior to 2009, both gyms held fitness centers which have been replaced by the Rec Center. Both buildings also hold basketball courts (although the Totman court has remained closed in the fall 2009 semester), locker room facilities, and pools. Both buildings also hold classrooms and offices; Totman in particular is home to the kinesiology department and has a student-run Body Shop. There are four small in-dorm gyms that are available for a fee as part of the Wellness program; in Lewis (in Northeast), John Quincy Adams and Washington towers (in Southwest), and Webster (in Orchard Hill). To the west of campus are numerous fields used for recreation and intramural sports. There is also a set of tennis courts located north of Boyden.

The baseball team plays its home games at Earl Lorden Fieldmarker, adjacent to the Mullins Center practice rink. Down the street, near Southwest, is the UMass Softball Complex as well as Rudd Field, home of the UMass men's and women's soccer teams.

In addition to Totman and Boyden, there is Curry Hicks Cagemarker, which hosts a small indoor track, pool, and basketball court. It is also occasionally used as a venue for guest speakers (such as the fall 2006 visit from comedian Bob Saget) and for the Western Mass high school basketball championships and other similar sporting events. The Cage was the home of the UMass men's and women's basketball teams before the Mullins Center was built.

Campus Bus System

UMass and the PVTA, employing student workers, provide campus bus service throughout both the UMass Amherst campuses and the northern region of the PVTA service area.
The campus bus system was established in 1969 as the Student Senate Transit Services (now UMass Transit). In 1973 a demonstration grant secured money to set up a fare-free transit system. This coupled with increased parking fees and strict parking regulations used to alleviate vehicular congestion and parking problems on campus. In 1976 the University of Massachusetts Transit Services became contractor for PVTA. UMass Transit (or UMTS) introduced an honor-based system in which any potential rider (not including students with valid UCards) during certain reduced service periods times of the year or PVTA employees at any time of year) will be expected to have in his or her possession a ticket purchased locally in Amherst that grants either single or multiple rides, or a days or weeks pass. UMass Transit, or UMTS is a contractor for the PVTA, and runs its Amherst Based routes. It serves not only the University of Massachusetts campus, but also the surrounding colleges and communities. This bus system is run primarily by University students and is free for students, which allows them to easily get to classes at the other four colleges.

Residential areas

At UMass Amherst, first and second year students are required to live on campus. Housing is open to all full-time undergraduate students, regardless of year. Upper-class students who have continuously lived on campus during their first and sophomore years are guaranteed housing as long as they choose to live on campus. If, however, a student is admitted after their sophomore year, or moves off campus, and wants to move back onto campus, they are not guaranteed housing, but instead must go through a housing lottery, since demand outstrips supply. Building and room selection is accomplished by a complex system that takes into account building seniority as well as class year; those choosing to move from their building are subject to a lottery system. There are approximately 12,000 students living on-campus.

Students living on the UMass campus live in one of the six residential areas: North, Sylvan, Northeast, Central, Orchard Hill, and Southwest. Several residential areas have a student-run business. All campus residence halls are staffed by Resident Assistants, who provide programming and community development, as well as enforce policies, and have quiet hours, which start at 9 pm on weekdays, 12 midnight on the weekends, but may vary from hall to hall.

North Residential Area

Recently completed, the newest residence halls on campus opened in the Fall of 2006. Located between Sylvan and Northeast, these apartment-style dormitories house approximately 850 undergraduates in four buildings. The buildings are currently named North A, B, C, and D. Each unit comprises four single bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and a shared common area including a full kitchen. Other amenities include Ethernet and cable access, central air, and laundry on-site. New to North in 2008 includes free wireless access throughout the North Residential area. This is a separate network from the academic campus wi-fi and allows for faster speeds and MAC authentication in the area. This is a nine-month housing area, which allows students to remain on campus from September to May.

Sylvan Residential Area

Sylvan is adjacent to the North Residential Area, and before the opening of North in 2006, was the newest residential area on campus, construction having been completed in the early 1970s. Sylvan contains three, eight-story towers: McNamara, Brown, and Cashin. Sylvan is distinctive for offering suite-style living in a shady wooded area. Sylvan derives from Latin silva, "a wood or grove." Each residence hall contains 64 suites and each suite is either all-male or all-female. For Fall 2007, a gender-neutral suite was made available "to students who do not want to identify a gender, students whose gender identity is in transition, and their friends and allies." In Fall 2009, Cashin became a 12-month dorm providing on-campus housing for graduate students.

Each suite is a mixture of double and single rooms, a common bathroom, and a common living room. Suites accommodate six to eight residents. Sylvan is also home to the Sylvan Snack Bar (SSB) one of eight student-run businesses on campus. The SSB delivers food right to students doors in the Sylvan living area. The snack bar, located in the basement of the McNamara building, provides food and a student hang out for the Sylvan residents.

Because for many this is considered the least desirable living area because of the small spaces and relative isolation compared to other dorms, Sylvan has earned the nickname "Suicide Sylvan" among the student body.

Northeast Residential Area

Northeast, also referred to as "The Far East," is across the street from North and diagonal to Sylvan. The residential area consists of nine buildings assembled in a rectangle surrounding a grassy quad. Northeast is one of the oldest residential areas on campus and has what one might call classic academic architecture, consisting of red brick buildings and gabled/shingled roofs. Buildings of note in Northeast include Johnson, which is an all female dorm; Hamlin, which is an all male dorm; as well as Lewis, which provides international students with 9-month housing and is home to one of the Residential Wellness Center facilities offered on campus. Thatcher is unique because it has a foreign language program, which includes several floors, each with a different language. The residents of these floors are encouraged to speak the language they are studying with their floor-mates. Dwight Hall offers the Asian-American Student Program. Crabtree Hall and Leach Hall house the Engineering Residential Academic Programs (RAPs). There is also the 2 in 20 Floor, which fosters a positive connection with the campus's LGBT community. Its location is undisclosed to protect its residents' privacy.

In Fall 2008, the cluster of Crabtree, Mary Lyon, and Knowlton (CMLK) became all-freshmen housing, as Northeast joined the First Year Experience program to offer freshman-only living. The previously all-female Knowlton became co-ed, and Johnson became the new all-female dorm.

Northeast is also home to Worcester Dining Common, which contains a separate dining room called the Oak Room, primarily offering Asian-style food during the lunch and dinner hours. Worcester's basement is also home to a large, grocery-style convenience store as well as one of the four Pita Pit locations on campus.

Central Residential Area

Central is unique because it has three academic buildings in addition to nine residence halls located along a hill on the east side of campus. Academic buildings in Central include Hills House, New Africa House, and Fernald Hall. Central is also home to the Central Art Gallery in Wheeler House. New Africa House has a particularly interesting history; the building was formerly known as Mills House, and was a dormitory prior to an incident in 1969 when a group of black students seized the building and barricaded themselves within, ordering all white residents to either join forces with them or get out of the building. The faculty of the newly formed Afro-American Studies department responded by moving its offices into the building to show solidarity with the black students, and the building became New Africa House.

Central is organized into 4 clusters of buildings: Gorman-Wheeler and Brett-Brooks ( Brett Brooks Website) at the bottom of the hill, Baker, Chadbourne and Greenough ("BCG") organized in a quad halfway up the hill, and Van Meter-Butterfield ("VMB") at the top of the hill. Gorman Hall is a building-wide Living Learning Community called NUANCE. Founded in 1989, it is a diversity awareness Living Learning Community. It also offers substance-free housing on its Wellness floor. Wheeler is home to the Central Art Gallery. Brett is a nine-month housing dorm, allowing students to stay during breaks for a fee. Brett has had a reputation for being a popular option for student-athletes before the North Apartments were built, and still houses the freshman hockey players. Brooks is the only all-Wellness dorm on campus, requiring all of its residents to abstain from substance use. Baker, one of the largest dorms on campus, houses the Area Office. Greenough has two substance-free floors and is also home to the Greeno Sub Shop, another one of the student run businesses. Chadbourne houses the Josephine White Eagle Native American Cultural Center. Butterfield and Van Meter are freshman-only dorms. Van Meter is the largest dorm on campus in terms of residents, while Butterfield is the smallest and has a rich community history.

University Health Services is located next to Brett and Brooks halls, on Infirmary Way. Central is serviced by Franklin Dining Common, across the street from Brett and Wheeler. Franklin contains kosher and vegan dining options as well as a convenience store.

Orchard Hill Residential Area

Completed in 1964, the Orchard Hill residence area is located in an old apple orchard which still blooms every spring. It is located to the north of the Central residential area, and to the east of the main academic campus. Orchard Hill is composed of four residence halls: Dickinson, Webster, Grayson and Field. Currently, Dickinson and Webster buildings are Residential First Year Experence (RFYE) housing. RFYE housing is built around a central theme for each building: Webster is known as a "Leadership" building, focusing primarily on the liberal arts, whereas Dickinson is "Science and Discovery" themed. Dickinson is home to a number of Commonwealth College academic themes as well, including the honors engineering, computer science, and nursing floors. Furthermore, it houses one of the last remaining Talent Advancement Programs (TAPs) remaining on campus, the BIOTAP.Webster is home to one of the Residential Wellness Center facilities offered on campus. Orchard Hill is known for its yearly spring event, Bowl Weekend, which is put on each year by the Orchard Hill Area Government.

Besides the residential area, Orchard Hill also refers to the hill on which the Orchard Hill Observatory and a cell phone tower are located. The cell phone tower also supports a microwave relay system for internet and land phone service at the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatorymarker, located on a peninsula within the Quabbin Reservoirmarker. Grayson and Field dorms are the only pair of dorms on campus to be internally connected. Field also houses Sweets 'n More, a student run business on campus. Grayson is the only dorm on campus to offer second-year themed housing, an upper level engineering floor located on Grayson 2.

Orchard Hill is the only residential area on campus where single rooms are not offered; all of the rooms in the four buildings are doubles with the same layout. The area is serviced by both Franklin and Worcester Dining Commons, which are roughly the same distance down the hill.

Southwest Residential Area

Southwest is the largest residential area on the UMass campus. It is composed of five 22-story towers (Coolidge and the all-freshman Kennedy are side-by-side in the north and John Quincy Adams, John Adams and Washington are arranged in a cluster in the south) and 11 smaller residence halls, also known as low-rises (the height of which varies from building to building), holding a total of around 5,500 students. The low-rises are arranged as such: two freshman-only clusters in the north (James-Emerson and Thoreau-Melville), a freshman-only cluster in the south (Cance, Moore, and Pierpont), and located along Sunset Avenue to the east are two clusters (Prince-Crampton in the north and MacKimmie-Patterson in the south) offering nine-month housing. Cluster offices are located in James, Melville, Cance, Prince, MacKimmie, Pierpont, and in each of the five towers. Additionally, Thoreau and Cance are home to the area office for the north and south portions of Southwest, respectively. Moore is home to the Residence Life Resource Center. Meanwhile, JQA and Washington are the homes to two of the Residential Wellness Center facilities offered on campus.

Southwest houses three of the five campus dining commons, including the inactive Hampden Dining Common with houses Southwest's only convience store. Hampshire is in the north, and the newly-renovated Berkshire is in the south, both offering traditional food. Berkshire also offers Late Night, a popular snack-oriented option open until midnight on weeknights. Hampden, which was originally going to be a tower itself before contractors realized the foundation would not be able to support one , is host to the Hampden Art Gallery, Convenience Store (C-Store), Southwest Area Government(SWAG) Office, Latin American Cultural Center(LACC) and the Southwest Cafe & Pita Pit.

Also found in Crampton in Southwest is the Stonewall Center, a resource for LGBT students and allies.

Southwest houses approximately 50% of the students living on campus. Southwest is known for its lively, festive, and active community spirit, often stereotyped (both positively and negatively) as a center for "party" activity. After both victories and losses by the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox in 2002, 2003 and 2004, as well as after the December 2006 UMass defeat in the NCAA Division I-AA football championship game, students held large impromptu festive gatherings (also referred to as riots) in the Southwest Mall which led to injuries, incidents of property destruction, and significant police involvement. The first of these so-called riots was in 1996 when the Minutemen lost to Kentucky in the NCAA Final Four. Although the Patriots were not involved in Super Bowl XLI, campus security was tightened on Super Bowl Sunday in 2007 as a precautionary measure. The 2007 Boston Red Sox playoffs and World Series games were met with tight security as well and proved to be effective. On the night of the Red Sox World Series victory there was loud but peaceful celebration and minimal arrests were made.

Parking on-campus

Parking at UMass is open to all students via Parking Services for a fee. Cost varies depending on seniority and location. The most typical student parking permits range from $60 to $300 for the year. It is a color coded system with Green, Purple and Yellow Lots available to students. Purple Lots are typically closest to the dorm/housing areas; Yellow Lots are the cheapest but the farthest away; Green lots are for commuter students.Parking is also available in the campus garage for a fee of $1.50 per hour during the day. In the evening there is a night rate of $3.00. Payment options include cash or ucard. Meter parking is also available at select locations through out campus. The meters accept nickels, dimes, and quarters only.


UMass Minutemen logo
UMass is a member of Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The university is a member of the Atlantic Ten Conference, while playing ice hockey in the Hockey East Association. For football, UMass competes in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), a conference of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS; known as Division I-AA before the 2006 season). UMass originally was known as the Aggies, later the Statesmen, then the Redmen, before changing their logo and nickname to the Minutemen. In a response to changing attitudes regarding the use of Native American-themed mascots, they changed their mascot in 1972 to the Minuteman. This has been lauded by many in the NCAA as being one of the greatest name changes due to the "minuteman" relationship with Massachusetts and its historical context. Women's teams and athletes are known as Minutewomen. UMass considers Boston College, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Connecticut as their biggest rivals.

The UMass Amherst Department of Athletics currently sponsors Men's Intercollegiate Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Ice Hockey, Football, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming and Track & Field. They also sponsor Women's Intercollegiate Basketball, Softball, Cross Country, Rowing, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming, Field Hockey, Track & Field and Tennis. Among Club Sports offered are Men's Varsity Wrestling, Men's Rowing, Men's Rugby, Women's Rugby and Men's And Women's Bicycle Racing. Men's and Women's Skiing are expected to be re-certified as Club Sports as of the 2009-2010 winter season following the April 2, 2009 announcement of their discontinuation as varsity sports.

Notable faculty


The slogan of the Alumni Association, "You were. You are. UMASS."The University is campaigning to get Alumni to purchase specialty Massachusetts license plates with the UMass Amherst logo. The proceeds from sales of the plates would go to help fund student scholarships.The University Alumni Association operates out of Memorial Hall.

UMass Amherst in the news

UMass Amherst Team of Scientists Create "Nano Nose"

A team of scientists at UMass, led by Vincent Rotello, have developed a molecular nose that can detect and identify various proteins. The research appeared in the May 2007 issue of Nature Nanotechnology, and the team is currently focusing on sensors which will detect the malformed proteins made by cancer cells.

UMass Amherst Team Create Fire-Safe Plastic

UMass Amherst scientists Richard Farris, Todd Emrick, and Bryan Coughlin lead the research team that has developed a synthetic polymer that doesn't burn. This polymer is a building block of plastic, and the new flame-retardant plastics won't need to have flame-retarding chemicals added to their composition. These chemicals have recently been found in many different areas from homes and offices to fish, and there are environmental and health concerns regarding the additives. The newly developed polymers would not require the addition of these potentially hazardous chemicals. Coughlin, one of the research team leaders, notes that this is "really a two-birds-with-one-stone approach for a new polymer. It is extremely fire-safe and does not contain halogenated additives, which are known to be environmentally hazardous."

Campus activism

-While some students at UMass add to its reputation as a party school, others among the undergraduate and graduate population have also received press for their activism, including rallies to repeal the imposition of a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System Fee in 2003-2004, to protest for more favorable in 2005 and 2007, protesting tuition and fee hikes that make the university the second most expensive for in-state students (behind the University of Vermontmarker) and many other campus issues.-Throughout the school's history, it has been the site of many sit-ins, and protests, often led by the Radical Student Union and its successor movements, Take Back UMass, amongst others.

Andrew Card Protest

On May 25, 2007, a large protest was held during the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Graduate Commencement where Andrew Card received an honorary degree. The protest was picked up and broadcast by MSNBC, as well as receiving a writeup by the Associated Press stating that small groups of students and faculty booed and held up signs while Andrew Card was given his honorary doctorate in public service. Due to the protests, Card chose not to speak and Provost Charlena Seymour's comments regarding the award were drowned out by the people involved in the protest.

The commencement protest followed two demonstrations on campus on May 8 and May 15, 2007 with regards to the honorary degree. Card was also protested earlier in the year when he came to UMass to give a lecture entitled "The American Political Landscape: Looking Towards 2008" on April 11, 2007. The Radical Student Union and the Graduate Student Senate organized protests which included a "die-in," where students fell prone with fake blood spattered on their clothes, as well as protest signs and the unfurling of a very large protest banner.

See also


  1. Amherst is now legally the flagship of UMass system - News
  2. Incoming Class of 4,100 Students at UMass Amherst Carries Impressive Academic Credentials
  3. Tallest library in the United States
  4. Photos: - University of Massachusetts Amherst
  5. Colleges' moves to shake up libraries speak volumes
  6. DuBois Library Special Collections
  7. UMass Amherst Learning Commons - W.E.B. Du Bois Library
  9. [1] [
  10. Microsoft IT Showcase School
  11. Campus Alerts - University of Massachusetts Amherst
  12. The list includes 113 universities
  14. UMass Amherst Isenberg School's MBA Program Earns Four Top Ten National Rankings from Princeton Review
  15. UMass Amherst computer science rankings
  16. [2] ]
  17. [3]
  18. [4]
  19. [5]
  21. UMass Amherst - Housing and Residence Life: Legacy Communities
  22. Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning ||Umass Amherst
  23. W.E.B. Du Bois Department
  24. UMass Amherst: Department of Plant Soil and Insect Sciences
  25. UMass Amherst - Housing and Residence Life: Central Residential Area
  26. [6]
  27. Parking Services
  29. UMass Amherst Alumni Association
  30. Order Your UMass Amherst License Plates Today
  31. UMass Amherst Scientists Create Nano Nose With Aim of Sniffing Out Diseased Cells, UMass Amherst, April 23, 2007.
  32. UMass Amherst Scientists Create Fire-Safe Plastic, UMass Amherst, May 30, 2007.
  33. Former Bush Aide Card Is Booed at UMass, Associated Press, May 26, 2007.
  34. UMass speaks out: Students protest University's honorary degree decision, Michelle Osorio, Daily Collegian, May 11, 2007.
  35. Lecture met with protest, Ibid, Daily Collegian, May 12, 2007.

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