Get inspired—from home

Like the original minutemen, the UMass community is always at the ready to do what’s needed—to serve. At the moment, it just so happens the best way we can help fight the rise of this pandemic is to stay home. But, let’s be honest, there is only so much Netflix a person can stream in a day before wondering what is happening in the real world. With all the disconcerting headlines around the coronavirus, we recommend you temporarily hit the pause button on the news and check out some of the accomplishments of UMass Amherst’s students, faculty, and alumni.

Below are fifteen ways the people of UMass Amherst are changing the world for the better. Watch a video of the Minuteman Marching Band, select a film from a complete list of Bill Pullman ’80MFA movies, or read about an amazing songbird with the stamina of Superman. It’s up to you. Go ahead and check them all out!

Whatever diversion you choose, we hope you will stay positive, stay safe, and stay home.

3D digital models of rare and endangered animals

Right now, none of us can travel the world or even go to the local zoo. But, thanks to UMass Amherst researchers, you can have some of the earth’s greatest creatures virtually come to you. Check out 3D models of living animals—many of which are rare and endangered—through the Digital Life project. View the models and read more about the Digital Life project.


Richard Gere in Pretty Woman

Still in the mood to stream? Check out alumni Richard Gere ’71 in The Second-Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Or rewatch some of his classics like Pretty Woman or An Officer and A Gentleman. Find other favorites on this list.


Apple Season

Apple season is still months away, but for growers, the work begins now. UMass Amherst fruit researchers are making apple orchards more efficient: Watch the video.


UMass Marching Band

Did you know that the UMass Minuteman Marching Band performed at the Rose Parade in California? Watch highlights from the band’s 2018 performance.


Water purification

The Institute for Applied Life Sciences, one of the largest research centers at UMass Amherst, is home to groundbreaking research and the incubator for new science-based companies. A new company deploying water purification technology that will revolutionize how public water supplies remain safe: Watch the video.


Bill Pullman

Actor Bill Pullman ’80MFA has starred in nearly 100 movies. You don’t have to watch them all, but hey, you’ve got time. Find your favorite.


Charlie Sennott

Charlie Sennott ’84 has a mission—at The GroundTruth Project, he trains journalists how to work safely in conflict zones. Learn more about Sennott and his work in this video.


Birds flying with sun in background

Picture this: backpacks for birds! UMass researchers are participating in a joint study on the migration patterns of an amazing songbird—with the stamina of Superman. Learn more about these avian travelers.


UMass sports

Miss sports? Listen to UMass Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford and others talk about college athletics and other issues on their podcast.


Baby yawning

Leave it to babies to put the “aw” in “yawn.” Dip back in to Netflix to see UMass Amherst sleep expert Rebecca Spencer featured in this docuseries about how babies learn.


Victor Cruz show

Did you know that NFL star and former minuteman Victor Cruz ’10 is now a TV host? Catch up on episodes.


Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong is an assistant professor in the UMass English Department, a MacArthur Fellow, and a Vietnamese refugee. Hear him read one of his poems (reading starts at 3:22), and learn more about his life.



Homebound and hungry for cooking adventures? Watch Chef Joanne Weir ’75, host of the award-winning PBS cooking series Plates & Places, as she cooks international cuisine from France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, and Greece. Joanne Weir’s Plates and Places


Reading a book

Read Falling to Earth before its release as a movie. The acclaimed first novel by Kate Southwood ’98 is due on the silver screen later this year, in a feature starring Ben Affleck. Read a conversation with Kate Southwood.



“Dreamers: The New Immigrant Experience,” is an inspired multimedia work by awarded-winning jazz musician, composer, conductor, and UMass Amherst music professor Felipe Salles. Sink in to the full experience.


And while you’re home, you can express your own UMass pride with downloadable Zoom backgrounds, coloring sheets, and more!