The formation of the University-Town of Amherst Collaborative or UTAC was one of five key recommendations made by U3 Advisors, who consulted on the Town Gown Steering Committee launched by Chancellor Subbaswamy and Town Manager John Musante in 2013. Other recommendations included UMass Amherst adopting an anchor strategy that embraces the Town of Amherst; thorough exploration by UTAC of mixed-use and housing development; focused joint pursuit by UMass and the Town of public-private partnerships; and the creation of an economic development director position for the Town of Amherst.
UTAC launched in October of 2015. In addition to a Steering Committee, UTAC is made up of three subcommittees - Housing, Economic Development, and Culture, Arts & Living - that are responsible for developing programs of joint interest and benefit to UMass Amherst and the Town, as well as, making recommendations on long-term projects. The Collaborative represents a cultural shift by creating a lasting committee structure to help support and guide the town-gown partnership.
The Steering Committee was chaired by Nancy Buffone, Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations, and Dave Ziomek, Assistant Town Manager. The collaborative was staffed by Tony Maroulis, Director of External Relations, UMass Amherst and Geoff Kravitz, Director of Economic Development, Town of Amherst.
In 2018, Amherst transitioned from a Town Meeting/Select Board to a Town Council form of government. With the change in direction, UTAC was suspended though important Town Gown communication and efforts continue led by University Relations and Amherst Town Hall staffs.