Umass Amherst

Amherst, MA: About a month ago, my family took a day trip to the beautiful area of Amherst. We ate lunch on Amherst’s main street. Then we drove ten minutes to our day’s target: the institution of higher learning that may be a probable bet for me in two years: the University of Massachusetts/Amherst.

Today UMass is divided into four campuses throughout the state: Boston, Amherst, Lowell [see review at right] and Dartmouth. Of these, Amherst has the largest enrollment (about 20,000 undergraduates) and the largest campus (1,273 acres).

Since the tour was on Columbus Day, there were no formal classes to visit, but there were students on campus doing other activities. Our tour guide led us on a walk around the campus, remarking which buildings housed which departments, and, because he was a student, he added a personal aura to what he said. We entered the tower-like, 28-story library which houses millions of books, periodicals, documents, microfilm, etc.

Toward the end of our tour, he led us into a sample dorm room. I thought that it seemed extremely small for two people, but I guess college life takes getting used to.

To me, the athletic field seemed gigantic with all the various goals. Presently they are building an arena which will hold thousands of people for sport games, concerts, etc.

In the middle of campus was a small pond with ducks which looked relaxing and pleasant. The atmosphere was also nice with the leaves turning colors.

UMass/Amherst plays in the NCAA Division I with 26 intercollegiate teams, and more than 10,000 students participating on intramural teams which decorate the atmosphere of the school. The University participates in the Five College Exchange (with Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Hampshire), so you can register for classes at these schools or use their libraries.

Overall, I was impressed with my first of many college tours which will help pave my way on the Yellow Brick Road of Colleges and Universities. n

Reviewed in 1991