Map of Residence Areas
Defined Residential Communities (DRCs) are hallways in residence halls where students live with friends and hall mates who share similar interests, backgrounds, and identities. The DRCs were originally created by UMass Amherst students and today serve as living and learning communities that support personal growth and academic success.
These communities are not restricted by major, and are open to all sophomore, junior and senior students interested in the particular focus area. DRCs are an ideal choice for students who are looking for a dynamic, hands-on way to learn about the variety of cultures and lifestyles represented at UMass Amherst.
What to Expect
Students who live in the DRCs connect with professional staff and faculty who work with them to build a solid community of peers. Living in a DRC can include the following:
- An off-campus team-building retreat in September
- Events and programs created by students in the community
- Off-campus field trips lead by faculty and staff
- Opportunities to help coordinate large-scale campus events in partnership with various offices and academic departments
- A Resident Assistant who is committed to the development of the community
- Optional related courses that students can take with hall mates
While all of the DRCs have their own established culture and personality, they are constantly growing and changing to fit the needs of the individual students who live there. We hope that you will join a DRC this year and help make it what you want it to be.
Interested in Applying?
Applications for the 2020-2021 academic year will be open on December 12, 2019! You will be able to find all links to individual communities below.
Defined Residential Communities 2019-2020
Nuance is designed for students who want to explore and bridge commonalities and differences across their diverse social identities, including race/ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class. Whether pursuing a program of study related to social justice or simply interested in dialogue and exploration of these issues, students will have opportunities to take classes together, engage in dialogues with each other, and connect with campus organizations and centers focused on social justice. Students will develop awareness, knowledge, and skills to collaboratively create an inclusive residential community.
The Asian/Asian American Community emphasizes the value of understanding the links between Asian and Asian American issues in an era of global migration, media, and capital. Students in the community gather frequently to discuss issues of identity, leadership, belonging, and values. Professional staff and faculty in the Asian/Asian American Community are highly visible and work closely with students to coordinate events and create strong friendships. The Asian/Asian American Community also plans regular off-campus field trips focused on culture and community-building.
Harambee, Swahili for “the pulling together point” or “the point at which all things come together”, is an inclusive and supportive community that honors African/African American/Black identities and provides intentional space for African/African American/Black cultures. In Harambee, students will have opportunities to share and learn from one another’s cultural experiences and backgrounds, as well as connect over current events related to Black identity. Students will participate in programming that explores multiple facets of African/African American/Black life and have the option of taking courses linked to the community’s mission and values.
Spectrum is a comfortable and inclusive community that supports the rights and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and asexual people and their allies. Spectrum is also a space for people who are just beginning to explore their sexual and gender identities. Through programming and other initiatives, this community fosters connections between individuals with shared experiences and interests. Spectrum encourages students to learn about and actively seek ways to eradicate genderism and heterosexism. Resources available to the community include collaborations with the Stonewall Center and the Pride Alliance. The Spectrum hallway has a gender-inclusive bathroom, and students can request a gender-inclusive room (have a roommate of any gender). Apply Here!
Students join this community for a variety of emotional, physical, and spiritual reasons related to broad, holistic personal definitions of “Wellness”. This is a strictly substance-free community (including alcohol, even for those who are of legal age). We mean to offer residents of the Wellness Community a safe space from substance use behaviors and culture of all kinds while being supportive of individuals’ needs and differences. Respect is a key component of the Wellness Community. Wellness students work together to create safe, healthy, and inclusive communities. They participate in a shared living experience through educational programming, optional academic health and physical education courses, and community-building through collaboration and communication.
Kanonhsesne, which is Mohawk for “the place where we live,” is a community that provides opportunities to pursue academic excellence, engage in developing a working knowledge of historical and contemporary Indigenous issues, and develop a sense of community for Native American/Indigenous students and their allies. Students make a commitment to engage in the programming and recommended courses to become more aware global citizens and allies to each other. Students have opportunities to participate in a variety of related campus events.