UMass Amherst Lauded for Community Involvement in Princeton Review’s “Colleges with a Conscience”

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst is among the nation''s leaders in promoting social responsibility and public service, according to a guide compiled by The Princeton Review and College Compact.

UMass Amherst is one of 81 institutions chosen from more than 900 institutions to be featured in “Colleges with a Conscience,” which will be published next month by Random House/Princeton Review Books. The guide has two-page profiles on each college and advice for applicants. Criteria for selection included admissions practices and scholarships rewarding community service; support for service-learning programs, student activism, and student voice in school governance; and level of social engagement of its student body.

“A college with a conscience,” says Robert Franek, Princeton Review''s vice president for admission services, “has both an administration committed to social responsibility and a student body actively engaged in serving society. Education at these schools isn''t only about private gain: it''s about the public good.”

The book notes that 2,000 UMass Amherst students are involved in public service activities each year through the Office of Community Service Learning in Commonwealth College. Two CSL initiatives, IMPACT and the Citizen Scholars Program, have earned national recognition.

IMPACT is a year-long program that offers first-year students a living-learning community that promotes community service and activism. The Citizen Scholars Program is a two-year academic service learning program combining focused course work, community service, activism and social justice experiences.

“I am delighted to see that our commitment to Community Service Learning has earned this recognition,” says Linda Slakey, dean of Commonwealth College. “IMPACT and the Citizen Scholars Program especially provide students with rich opportunities to learn how to work effectively for change, and I am very pleased to see this recognized.”

Massachusetts led the Princeton Review rankings with nine institutions named “Colleges with a Conscience.” The others were UMass Boston, Harvard, Clark, Brandeis, Tufts universities and Hampshire, Smith and Williams colleges.

John Reiff, director of Community Service Learning, can be reached at 413/545-2015 or