building a community of dignity and respect

With its large and diverse population of students, faculty, and staff, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to building a community where every individual feels a sense of belonging.

To kick off the new academic year, the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) is collaborating with campus partners on a series of educational and celebratory events, talks, panels, workshops, and performances dedicated to “Belonging@UMass". This initiative will continue throughout the entire year, with a goal of affirming UMass’s values of equity, inclusion, and belonging, and creating a strong unified sense of community. 

Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) conference

On September 13 and 14, the Office of Equity and Inclusion hosted the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Conference as a focal piece to kick off Belonging@UMass. Learn more about the conference here.

Resources such as captioned video links and handouts will be made available shortly.

Belonging@Umass Events

To add an event to Belonging@UMass, please contact Ebru Kardan at

Disability Services Open House

Tues. September 6; 3:00-6:30pm

An opportunity to meet staff, learn about disability services and its role on campus. Sponsored by the Office of Disability Services.

Stonewall Center Block Party

Thurs. September 8, 5:30-7:30pm
Stonewall Center, Crampton Hall

Meet new and returning students and find out about the fall events and activities planned by the Stonewall Center and LGBTQIA+ student groups. Food, music, games, giveaways, and Peanut the therapy dog. All are welcome.

College of Education New Student Orientation/Welcome Back Event

Fri. September 9, 12:30-2:00pm Furcolo Hall

Incoming and returning students at the College of Education are invited to this welcome event.  Information to help support students will be provided along with opportunities to meet other students, faculty and staff.  Food will be provided. Sponsored by the College of Education.  

College of Education Wellness Wednesdays 

Wednesdays, 12:30-1:15pm
Furcolo 101

  1. What are Dynamic Mindfulness and Contemplative Pedagogy practices? 
  2. How might a DMind personal practice contribute to my well-being, to my capacity for generative and healthy relationships, and to creating positive change in the field of education and in the world?  

College of Engineering All-College Welcome Back Event

Thurs. September 8, 9:30am-3:30pm Engineering Quad

The College of Engineering community is invited to this welcome event.  Visit tables hosted by student societies and design teams.  Meet department faculty and staff.  Learn about resources available in the college by chatting with Career Office; Student Affairs; and Diversity Equity and Inclusion Office representatives.  Enjoy treats with the dean  in celebration of the College of Engineering’s 75th anniversary.  Sponsored by the College of Engineering Office of DEI.

College of Engineering Graduate Student Welcome Event

Thurs. September 8, 5:30-6:30pm Engineering Quad

A welcome reception for new and returning engineering graduate students from across the college to connect and socialize. Sponsored by the College of Engineering Office of DEI.


Mon. September 12; 1:00-3:00pm
Outside of Herter Hall

Kaffeepause has a longstanding tradition in german studies. It is a weekly community event over coffee and German treats, and get gathering outside of the classroom. It provides an opportunity to speak German and to interact and to get to know each other as part of the German studies community but is open to all. Sponsored by German and Scandinavian Studies.

Seminar: “Witches Talk”: Gender and Language in Basque Folklore and Song

Mon. September 12; 4:00-6:30pm

Invited Scholar: Dr. Begoña Echeverria, University of California, Riverside
The Basque language, Euskera, is a non Indo-European language isolate. Unlike Spanish or French, it has no grammatical gender, but it does have a unique gender inflected second person system of pronouns, known as hika (for men) or noka (for women). While men have preserved this form of speech, women’s usage has declined significantly. Dr. Echeverria will present her research on this pronoun system and its social meanings, focusing in particular on fascinating evidence folklore and song that associated noka with witches and unruly women. Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology.

Isenberg Belonging@Umass Kick-off and Club Fair

Mon. September 12; 3:30-6:00pm
Isenberg Hub

An event highlighting Isenberg's diversity efforts, a showcase of student clubs, light refreshments, and more. Sponsored by the Isenberg School of Management.

College of Humanities and Fine Arts Welcome Lunch

Wed. September 14; 12:00 noon
E240 Commons, South College

A welcome lunch with pizza for HFA transfer students. Sponsored by the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

CMASS Cultural Connections

Wed. September 14; 5:30-7:30pm
Campus Center Auditorium

This annual UMass Welcome event is designed to welcome new and returning students, faculty and staff to campus.  Free and open to the campus and general public, Cultural Connections is a celebration of our campus’ cultural plurality. Cultural Connections is an opportunity to connect with students, faculty and staff from across campus.  Come and learn about the four Cultural Centers on campus, connect with the cultural Registered Student Organizations (RSO) and Multicultural Greek organizations. We encourage you to attend and enjoy the performances, sample diverse cultural appetizers from around the world while networking with members of our community. Cultural Connections also features diverse cultural performers who often have UMass alumni as members.

IPO Buddies at the Amherst Block Party

Thurs. September 15; 4:00-8:00pm
IPO Building, 70 Butterfield Terrace

The IPO Buddy Program welcomes all pairs to join the International Programs Office staff for a reception at the International Programs Office and, later, fun at the Amherst Block Party. This year the IPO Buddy Program placed over 40 international exchange students with UMass students who have recently returned or will leave on study abroad! Through the buddy program students are able to forge meaningful connections which creates a sense of belonging for our short-term international visitors. In the years to come, we hope to expand the buddy program to all international and domestic students.  

The reception at the IPO is a closed event between 4pm – 5pm and registration is required.

Sponsored by CMASS.

College of Humanities and Fine Arts Welcome Reception

Thurs. September 15; 4:30pm
E240 Commons, South College

A welcome event for underrepresented students in HFA. Sponsored by the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences: Welcome to a New Year!

Thurs. September 15; 5-7pm
ILC Communication Hub

Incoming and returning URM students (first generation, low income, and BIPOC) within SBS are invited to attend this welcome event.  There, they will meet other students, as well as faculty and staff.  Food will be provided.  There will also be a laptop giveaway. Sponsored by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Racial Justice in LGBTQIA+ Communities at UMass 

Thurs, Sept. 15, 7:00-9:00pm
Stonewall Center 

Join the Stonewall Center and the Pride Alliance for a workshop about racial justice in our queer and trans communities at UMass. This interactive space will invite students to engage in self-reflection and relationship building with other queer and trans students who are interested in racial justice. Snacks will be provided. 

Graduate School Spaulding-Smith and REAL Fellows Reception

Thurs. Sept. 15; 4:00-6:00pm

This annual reception welcomes and recognizes new Spaulding-Smith and REAL Fellows to UMass Amherst. The event features welcome addresses from key university leaders, including the Provost and Dean of the Graduate School. New and returning fellows, as well as their advisors, graduate program directors, and associate deans for DEI in the colleges, will also be in attendance. New fellows will also have an opportunity to meet their department representatives and mentors.

The Spaulding-Smith and REAL Fellowship programs administered through the Office of Inclusion and Engagement in the Graduate School support the recruitment, retention, and success of students who are traditionally under-represented in graduate education. Sponsored by the UMass Graduate School.

Blind Boys of Alabama

Fri. Sept. 16, 8:00pm
Randolph Bromery Fine Arts Center

A powerhouse performance to open a powerful performing arts season!

The Blind Boys of Alabama have been inspiring, empowering, and uplifting audiences for seven decades. The group’s original members (including Jimmy Carter, who leads the Blind Boys today) found their voices as kids at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in the late 1930s. And they used their voices to change gospel music and to help change the world. The Blind Boys of Alabama toured throughout the Jim Crow-era south in the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s, they shaped the sounds of the Civil Rights movement, singing at benefits for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With their unique blend of gospel singing styles, they helped to define the gospel traditions in the 20th century, collaborating along the way with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Prince to Lou Reed. And they have created a new gospel sound for the 21st century. Their live shows are roof-raising musical events that appeal to audiences of all cultures. They will bring you to your feet, confirm your faith in music, and remind you of the transformative power of the arts.

Navigating a Primarily White Institution as a Woman-identifying Student of Color

Mon. September 19; 5:30pm
Campus Center 804-09

Regardless if it is your first or fourth year on campus, there is always more to learn about navigating a predominantly white institution as women-identifying students of color. Join the Women of Color Leadership Network (WOCLN) as we share what we have learned as students and connect with other students in a safe space for and by WOC. Sponsored by the Women of Color Leadership Network.

First Connections

Tues. September 20; 4:00-5:30pm
Old Chapel

A welcome event with food, speakers, and giveaways to celebrate first-generation identity at UMass Amherst. Sponsored by the Office of Student Success.

Friend Speed Dating

Wed. September 21; 7:00pm
Malcolm X Cultural Center

Bring friends, roommates, and classmates and get to know other women-identifying people of color with a friendly take on speed dating. Meet new people, form connections, and learn more about Women of Color Leadership Network (WOCLN)!  Sponsored by the Women of Color Leadership Network.

Building Community Interactively – Theater Delta

Weds. September 21,  4pm: What’s Your Problem? performance
Weds. September 21,  7pm: What’s Your Problem? performance
Bowker Auditorium
Register here

Thurs. September 22,  4pm: Can I Be of Any Help? performance Bowker Auditorium Register here

Three performances by Theater Delta, which performs interactive theater aimed at promoting social change, will explore intersecting identities, privilege, microaggressions, bystander intervention, and restorative justice.  What’s Your Problem? performance focuses on an interaction among students in a casual, social setting.  Can I Be of Any Help? performance focuses on an interaction among students and a faculty member in an academic setting. These performances are sponsored by the College of Engineering Office of DEI.  Students, especially sophomores and juniors, are encouraged to attend, as well as graduate student TAs and faculty. Performances are free, and details and reservations are available here.  Limited tickets for UMass Amherst community members outside of the College of Engineering are available.

Community Coffee & Cider

Thursday, September 29, 1:00 - 3:00pm
Goodell Hall Lawn

The Office of Faculty Development (OFD) invites all UMass faculty and librarians to join us outside for coffee, apple cider, and cider donuts. Meet new members of the OFD team and visit with each other. This gathering is a time for community and connection as we pause to enjoy the fall weather together. Open to all UMass faculty and librarians. No RSVP or registration required. Email with questions and/or for more information.

Inclusive Pedagogy

Monthly, 12:15 – 1:30 pm

Commonwealth Honors College is holding monthly dialogue sessions during the fall to discuss inclusive pedagogy. In these sessions, participants will discuss, reflect, and explore the joys and challenges of their teaching practices. This coming year, CHC will continue to explore social justice in the classroom as well as how best to focus on student inquiry, critical thinking, reflection, and writing. The monthly dialogues are an opportunity to hear about and share best practices and explore how honors education is practiced on the UMass Amherst campus.

The fall 2022 meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday, September 28th – Guest Speaker: Laura Vandenberg, Professor, Dept of Environmental Health Sciences, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, TIDE Fellow (2018-2019)
  • Wednesday, October 19th – Guest Speaker: Joel Saxe, Lecturer, Department of Communication
  • Wednesday, November 30th – Open Discussion: Highlights of best practices

For now, these will be remote, with hopes that we can meet in person in the future. Please register online to sign up for the Zoom link.

Send Silence Packing

Thurs. September 29; 9:00am-4:00pm
South Lawn. Rain location: Campus Center Auditorium

Isolation sits at the heart of the mental health epidemic among college students. Stigma and silence contribute to the the isolation of those who might be living with mental health challenges. Isolation due to pandemic, social media, and discrimination in turn contribute to feelings of distress. This display sends the message that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You belong, even as you face the very human struggles related to mental health. This project reinforces the notion that the community to which you belong is a community here to help you.

Each year, Send Silence Packing visits 60-80 schools and communities. The all-day display inspires action for suicide prevention, connects participants with local and national mental health resources, and inspires action. Send Silence Packing catalyzes conversations that contribute to a community’s overall positive climate for mental health.

Active Minds staff and volunteers are available at each stop, and are equipped to discuss the importance of knowing the signs of suicide, intervening when a friend is in distress, and getting help for themselves when needed. Trained professionals are also onsite at every display. All signs and materials encourage help-seeking and thousands of mental health resources are distributed. Sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs & Campus Life