Office of Student Affairs and Campus Life

Dear Student:

Greetings to everyone who's returning to UMass Amherst this semester, and a warm welcome to those beginning their first semester here! There's a lot going on right now – from financial and academic deadlines to performances, events, late-night movies and more. To stay in the know, check out Campus Pulse, your guide to news, activities and events.

On behalf of the entire campus community, best wishes for a successful, memorable semester!

The Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Campus Life
319 Whitmore
Phone: 413-545-2300
Student Affairs and Campus Life Website


FAFSA reminder
Don't wait to file the 2014 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The form is due by Feb. 14 to meet the March 1 priority deadline. Late applications will be considered for financial aid based on available funds. Download the form at the FAFSA website.

Blue Wall renovation
The Blue Wall is closed for renovation this semester. When reopened, it will feature 12 food stations serving fresh and healthy food. During construction, The Hatch eatery on the lower level of the Student Union has been expanded and Baby Berk will park outside the Student Union during lunch. The Pita Pit in Worcester Dining Commons has expanded hours of operation and increased seating has been added in the Campus Center.

With limited space on the Campus Center concourse during renovations, the Student Government Association is organizing alternative locations for student group tabling and events. To learn more or reserve these spaces, contact Ellie Miske.

Sophomore housing: Fall, 2014
First-year students living on campus: which multi-year communities and living-learning programs are you considering for sophomore year? Residential Life's Rising Sophomore Open House, Feb. 25, offers a chance to visit multi-year halls before room selection for next year; there will be free food and fun giveaways. Watch for more information from your Resident Assistant.

Schedule changes
Students have until Monday, Feb. 3 to make changes in course schedules. Use the 'swap' feature on SPIRE; you won't be dropped from the class you're in unless you can get into your preferred course.

Take the trolley to town
The Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) is operating a free trolley service between UMass and downtown Amherst. Trolleys run on a continuous 25-minute loop, making several stops across campus, on Thursdays and Fridays between 5 and 9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.

Love to play music or sing?
UMass Amherst and Five College students are invited to audition for Music Department ensembles including Choral, Wind, Orchestral, Jazz and Early Music.

See The Spot
Stop by the Student Union lobby and check out The Spot – a newly renovated place to hang out, meet friends, host an event, and more.

Craft Center opens
The Student Union Craft Center is now open; stop in weekdays beginning at 11 a.m. and Saturdays starting at 1 p.m. Evening workshops are offered weekdays, for a nominal fee.

Showers save water, money
UMass expects to save as much as $21,000 in water and energy costs, thanks to new water-saving shower heads in all Orchard Hill residential area showers. The idea came from a student EcoRep and is the university's first implemented sustainability fund project. Learn more about campus sustainability.

Campus events

For more details about campus events, visit the UMass Events calendar.

Valentine's dance
Celebrate at "Love Comes Out," a Valentine's-themed dance Friday, Feb. 7, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. in the Student Union ballroom. There'll be giveaways, romantic prizes and lots of chocolate; free and open to all students. Sponsors include the Stonewall Center and Amherst College's Queer Resource Center.

International coffee hour
Stop by The Spot, in the Student Union lobby from 4 – 5 p.m. Feb. 5, March 5 and April 5 for a casual global interaction with other students, faculty and staff. Free refreshments and snacks. Sponsored by Student Legal Services, the International Programs Office, and Student Affairs and Campus Life.

Single or in a relationship?
Find out at "What Does It Mean to Be Single?" Wednesday, Feb.12, 7 p.m. in Campus Center room 174-76. A panel of dating experts and students of different races, ethnicities, genders and sexualities are speaking; a dessert reception and drawing for romantic prizes follows. Sponsored by the Women of Color Leadership Network, the Stonewall Center, Student Legal Services and the Graduate Women’s Network.

International graduate student workshops
Mark your calendars for this semester’s series, taking place from 12:30 – 2 p.m. in Campus Center room 165-69; free lunch available.

  • Feb. 6: Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities
  • March 5: Harassment in the Workplace
  • April 8: Immigration Workshop
Sponsored by Student Legal Services, the Graduate Student Senate and the Graduate Employee Organization.

CWC workshops, groups
This semester, the Center for Women and Community (CWC) is offering workshops on body image, consent, negotiation and more; a series on mindfulness and mood; and two support groups for survivors of violence. Schedules and enrollment details are on the CWC website.

Join the Boltwood Project
Become a friend to people with special needs in this two-credit community service learning program. Interested students must attend one of three information sessions: Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, Jan. 27, 28 and 29, 6 – 8 p.m. in the Campus Center auditorium.

Support, therapy groups
Register now for groups offered by the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH). The schedule is posted on the CCPH website; for more information, call (413) 545-2337.

Academic, career events

Spring test dates
Undergraduate Advising reminds students of these important test dates:

Foreign language placement tests
Spanish, Latin, French and German tests are online at the New Student Orientation website.

Writing placement and exemption tests
Students who have not previously taken this test must do so before enrolling in ENGL 112, College Writing. For dates offered this semester, call the Writing Program, (413) 545-0610.

Basic math skills (R1) exemption tests
Mondays, Jan. 27, March 10 and April 28, 7 p.m., Marcus, room 131 (visit the Math Department website to confirm the location). Bring your student ID, a #2 pencil and a calculator.

Undergraduate Advising info sessions

  • Computer Science: Applications for majors and minors are due March 1. Learn more at an orientation Monday, Jan. 27, 3:35 p.m. in room 150-151 of the Computer Science building.
  • Resource Economics: To change your major to Resource Economics, you must attend an information session and complete an online statement of interest before April 18. Sessions are Thursday, Jan. 30, 4 p.m. and Friday, Jan. 31, 11:15 a.m. in Stockbridge room 303.
  • Sociology: The Sociology declaration period is Feb. 4 – March 14. Come to Thompson Hall, room 722; peer advisor hours are posted by the second week of the semester.
  • Isenberg School of Management: Isenberg information and orientation sessions are Tuesday, Feb. 4 and Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 5:30 p.m. For the BBA degree program, come to the Bernie Dallas room, 5th floor, Goodell. Sport Management meets in Isenberg 108; Hospitality in Isenberg 106. Attendance is mandatory for students applying to the sport management or hospitality majors.
  • Public Health: Information sessions for prospective majors are Thursday, Jan. 30 and Monday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m.; location TBA; watch the School of Public Health and Health Sciences website for updates. March 3 is the deadline to get Public Health Science courses for fall, 2014.

Business careers presentation
Discover the many ways to prepare for and start a business career at this free session, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m. in room 106 at the Isenberg School of Management. Co-sponsored by Undergraduate Advising.

More than your major
Learn from upper class students about getting the most out of UMass through majors, minors, internships and more. Free sessions are Wednesday, Feb. 19; Tuesday, March 4 and Thursday, March 27, 4 – 5 p.m. in the Bernie Dallas room, 5th floor, Goodell.

Looking ahead
Want an internship? Planning for life after school? Connect at one of this month’s Career Services events. A career fair for ALANA students is Feb. 18, 1 – 5 p.m. Employers will be on campus from 7 – 9 p.m. that night for a networking session open to all students. All majors and levels of students are invited to the Career Blast job and internship fair, Feb. 19, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Visit Career Services for details.

In memoriam

Meghan Beebe, Class of 2014
Vyacheslav A. Yanyuk, Class of 2014