Community / Civic Involvement

Active Minds

Active Minds is a national organization that serves as liaison between students and the mental health community. The Active Minds student chapter at UMass Amherst provides campus-wide events and national programs to help remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues by providing leadership opportunities, information and advocacy training. The organization works to encourage students to speak openly about mental health and educate others as well as encourage help-seeking.

Protect Our Breasts

Protect Our Breasts is a national student-based/experiential learning organization that shares about environmental toxins that contribute to breast cancer. A team of students from different academic specialties come together to research and share the scientific discoveries and safer alternatives to everyday toxins. Protect Our Breasts hosts a variety of events through chapters on different campuses (including UMass/Amherst) throughout the academic year.

Computer Science Education Week

Twelve schools, colleges and community organizations offer workshops, technology showcases, field trips and contests to help raise awareness of the importance of computer science education during CS Ed Week each December. With support from NSF, CAITE and BPC Alliance, students are exposed to an array of activities that encourage computer science education for students K-12 from the Amherst, Holyoke, Greenfield and West Springfield areas.

Center for Women and Community

The Everywoman’s Center changed its name to The Center for Women and Community in September of 2012. CWC supports and encourages women and is a nationally recognized leader in achieving gender equity. The center offers services to people of all genders throughout the campus and the greater community. These services include information, referral, counseling, training, support groups and education in many areas. Individual counseling, crisis intervention and rape crisis services are offered for Hampshire County, the Five Colleges and UMass Amherst.

Tick-Borne Disease Network

The Tick-Borne Disease Network program allows free tick testing to people in 32 Massachusetts towns. The TBDN program is funded through the MA Governor’s office, the first network of its kind, and will increase the volume of people using the service giving researchers in the Laboratory of Medical Zoology on campus more data to work with. More information will help identify ticks, the diseases they are carrying and who is getting sick to help prevent future occurrences. Testing and results will be reported to residents, local boards of health and the state Department of Public Health.

Stand Against Racism

UMass Amherst has joined the YWCA in its national Stand Against Racism (SAR) movement. The YWCA is the largest multicultural women’s organization whose mission is to eliminate racism and empower women. A series of activities and programs are being held to promote the movement and are free and open to the public. SAR aspires to eliminate racism by holding educational workshops, engaging participants in awareness campaigns through social media outlets and bring together like-minded organizations.

Orchard Hill Observatory

The Orchard Hill Observatory is UMass Amherst's optical observatory. It is located on the highest point on the UMass campus and is home to a 16-inch Cassegrain telescope. It is used for public events and for holding open observatory nights. It is supported by members of the Five College Astronomy Club.

National Society of Black Engineers

National Society of Black Engineers formed to motivate students and enhance the number of culturally responsible black engineers to excel academically, professionally and positively impact the community. The NSBE UMass Amherst student chapter is a 501 (C) (3) non-profit association dedicated to promoting the academic and professional success of African-American engineering students and professionals through mentoring opportunities, career placement services and professional development.

American Society of Civil Engineers

The goal of the American Society of Civil Engineers is to enhance infrastructure, environment, and the quality of life of the public and to promote engineering excellence through public policy activities. The UMass Amherst Chapter of ASCE is a student run organization which participates in three design competitions including Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge and Seismic Design projects. The organization holds monthly general body meetings in which guest speakers from the community lecture about the civil engineering profession.

Circuits and Beats

Middle school students from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, Inc. learn digital circuits and programming concepts from undergraduate electrical engineering majors at UMass Amherst. The program was developed by UMass Amherst's M5, an educational initiative of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The two week summer workshop teaches students electrical engineering skills to create a “beat machine” where they were able to present and keep their final products.

Asian Arts and Culture Program

The Asian Arts and Culture Program was founded in 1993 by the Fine Arts Center to provide an awareness, appreciation and knowledge of Asia and Middle Eastern arts, culture and heritage. The program provides a consistent presence to non-western arts on campus and events for K-12 grades, college students and adults and seniors. Performances, festivals and events help showcase traditional, international and contemporary artists on campus for audiences to experience and enjoy.

Learning Initiatives for Rural Education

The LIRE project was created by the Center for International Education, addressing the challenge of providing primary education in rural areas such as Senegal and The Gambia. CIE will increase access to primary schools and work with education departments to provide multi-grade training in all areas of teaching. Workshops are available to help teachers enhance their knowledge of classroom management, how to use local resources in schools and integrate the community into the classroom.

Strategies for Change: Springfield and the Transformation of Urban America

This course examined Springfield as both a microcosm of challenges facing older industrial U.S. cities and a rich array of community change efforts that engage diverse issues and social actors. Students explored strategies for change through field trips, presentations by Springfield community leaders, written assignments, and readings grounded in an empirical analysis of changing cultural, economic and political conditions. This course was taught Fall 2013..

Futurescape City Tours

Futurescape City Tours is a national public engagement project that enables citizens to explore how new technologies are changing their cities. Springfield, MA, was one of six participating cities in 2013. In addition to UMass/CPPA, partners included the Center for Nanotechnology and Society at Arizona State University, the Loka Institute, the Springfield Science Museum, Putnam Technical High School, the UMass Design Center, and U.S Congressman Richard Neal’s office, among others.

Massachusetts Native American Trail Project

Native American Trail project is a collaborative effort to develop a website of maps of/for/by multiple Native American communities, where each community will share with the public their historical and contemporary cultural heritage. The Commission of Indian Affairs and the University of Massachusetts Amherst will work directly with Native American communities to develop the content and technology for each group. Each Native American community will be responsible for decisions concerning the content and presentation of the content on their site/link.

Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP)

This research provides design/build services to a village in North India, where, due to chronic drought caused by climate change, an entire community is moving to a new site. Faculty work with villagers through community design charettes to help envision this process and plan with digital tools. In addition to drafting master plan documentation and various community land infrastructure, locals are engaged to construct new prototypes on the community space in the new village.

The Outsmart Invasive Species Project

The goal of the Outsmart Invasive Species Project is to strengthen ongoing invasive-species monitoring efforts in Massachusetts by enlisting help from citizens. Using web- and smartphone-based approaches, volunteers identify and collect data on invasive species in their own time, with little or no hands-on training. Because increasing numbers of people are equipped with smartphone technology, this approach will expand the scope of invasive-species monitoring, and is an effort to help control outbreaks of new or emergent invasive species that threaten our environment.

The Ronald H. Frederickson Center for School Counseling Outcome Research

The Ronald H. Frederickson Center for School Counseling Outcome Research (CSCORE) is dedicated to improving the practice of school counseling by generating, identifying, and disseminating research related to the field, providing evaluation and consultation to support best practices, developing interventions with demonstrated efficacy and positive outcomes, and building the capacity of school counselors. CSCORE provides a range of services, including professional development training, intervention and program evaluation, and consultation.

Center for Educational Assessment

The Center for Educational Assessment provides technical expertise in areas such as test development, item response theory applications, equating, standard setting, test selection and evaluation, and program evaluation. The Center is a valuable resource for educational policy makers and others who use tests to make important decisions regarding individuals, organizations or institutions.

Science Quest

High school students in grades 10-12 from across the Northeast and beyond are encouraged to visit the UMass Amherst campus to engage in hands-on science activities, demonstrations and guided lab tours. Students are allowed to select their own schedule of mini-classes offered to explore physics labs and learn more about science. A panel of UMass undergraduate science students are available to talk about their experiences as a science major and an admission representative will briefly present and answer questions about preparing for college/applying to UMass.

Computer-Based Math Tutor

A computer-based, emotionally perceptive math tutoring software system has been developed by UMass Amherst computer scientists and colleagues to help improve standardized test scores such as the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). After extensive analysis and studies on gender relations with math done with elementary aged children in Holyoke, MA and Springfield, MA schools and elsewhere, the software was written to offer emotional support, found to be appreciated more by girls than boys who are less affected by it.

The Sunwheel Project

The long-running Sunwheel Project involves the construction of sun wheels all over the world starting at UMass Amherst. The project brings a greater awareness and understanding of astronomy to school children, University community members and the general public. In Amherst, the sunwheel - located south of the football stadium - is a gathering spot for people to visit and learn about the sky together through regular public gatherings posted on the website (and usually timed with the equinox and solstice events).

Pioneer Valley Tip Off

The Pioneer Valley Tip Off, organized by students in the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at UMass-Amherst, is a high school basketball tournament at the Curry Hicks Cage. One goal of the Pioneer Valley Tip-Off and its participating schools is to help in the fight against cancer by partnering with Coaches vs Cancer, a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The goal of the program is to raise funds for this organization while also promoting cancer awareness to the Western MA community.

Sport Sales Strategies

Students sell tickets to a high school basketball tournament run by UMASSM, the Sport Management student club, held at the Curry Hicks Cage each December to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer program. The tickets are purchased by businesses in towns whose high school teams are playing and then distributed to youth organizations and schools in those towns so children can attend for free on behalf of the local businesses.

Archaeology, Heritage, and Conservation in Akko, Israel

This project combines excavation, conservation, heritage studies, and community engagement at the site of Akko, Israel, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The project is a run by faculty from Penn State, UMass Amherst, Trinity College, and the University of Haifa. Students learn archaeological excavation and survey methods on the remains of a site that has been inhabited for more than 5000 years. They experience the role played by the distant past in today's political and cultural discourses, and work with stakeholders from communities in Akko to determine the future of the past at the site.