Welcome to UMass Amherst
New orientation program helps students feel at home
A record class of 4700 incoming first-year students will be welcomed to the UMass Amherst campus on Sept. 1 for three full days of orientation prior to the beginning of classes.
A major part of the university’s new year-long First Year Intelligence initiative and a follow-up to the university’s traditional summer orientation, this is the first time a fall orientation, a mix of academic and social programming and activities, is being held at the flagship campus. The goals of the new students fall orientation, says Jeanne Horrigan, director of the new students program, are to help students learn to navigate campus; introduce them to the university’s support services, campus resources, and opportunities for involvement; create a sense of community and class-year identity; and provide opportunities for new students to meet and develop meaningful connections with faculty and peers.
Some highlights of the new experiences for the class of 2015 include an official welcome to campus from Chancellor Robert Holub at the new students convocation on Friday, September 2, at the Mullins Center where they will also hear from Cedric Jennings, the subject of the students’ summer reading, A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League, by Ron Suskind; a barbecue at McGuirk Stadium on Saturday evening, following a gathering of all first-year students on the field for a class photograph; and lunch and dinner discussions that will provide opportunities for students to get to know faculty members and learn about their research interests. On Saturday afternoon students will venture into Amherst where they will be welcomed with street performers and entertainment along with bargains and promotions from many local merchants.
In addition to group sessions on information technology, healthy eating, money matters, and residence hall living, students will learn about community standards and expectations, the student behavior code, and living in a diverse community.
The orientation will conclude Sunday evening with the opening of First Week activities featuring the Evasons and their mind-blowing feats of psychic magic, and award-winning magician and illusionist Mike Super.