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Happy 2017!

Happy New Year from all of us in the UMass Amherst Office of External Relations!

It's a chilly start to the New Year, but things will soon warm up both in the office and outside. Temps this week are supposed to shoot up from their near zero degree temps to the 50s. In the office, we're using this time for catch-up and 2017 planning. While we're not an academic department, the rhythms of the school year are felt in the administrative departments, as well, and we're enjoying the quiet as we're able to do our 'busywork' before the semester gets underway.

On the UMACC front, we're at about 96% of our $430,000 goal, at just over $414,000 raised for local, regional, and national non-profit organizations. We've exceeded our total from last year, which was a major bounce back year for the campaign. We're very excited about our overall progress and are looking forward to working with community partners, like the United Way of Hampshire County, to increase awareness and support in the coming years. 

UTAC subcommittees have their first meetings in 2017 starting with a social gathering by the Housing subcommittee this afternoon. The hard working members of the committee are coming together in a non-business gathering in a celebration of the New Year and their work since fall of 2015. Town and University co-chairs of the subcommittees are meeting with the Executive Committee co-chairs - Associate Vice Chancellor Nancy Buffone and Amherst Assistant Town Manager, Dave Ziomek - to go over their progress and to map out plans for 2017. 

The Campus and Community Coalition had been quite busy to end the last calendar year, and looks to continue its momentum in 2017. The semester results for the Party Smart Registration program will be released this week, and work continues on CPTED projects throughout town. Both of the efforts have been incubated through the CCC's Municipal Strategies group. In early 2017, we hope to convene our Landlord committee and to release the results of last October's Nightlife Town Hall at AmherstWorks.

In the community, we've met with Hadley Town Administrator, David Nixon, in our regular monthly meetings and attended a number of meetings with local business organizations like the Amherst BID and the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. We'll continue this week with meetings involving the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council and the Hampshire County Regional Economic Development effort.

We're excited about the New Year, new energy, and new partnerships. We also look forward to working with you! Feel free to add to the comments section, or get in touch with us directly.