Defined Residential Communities

Helpful Links:
Map of Residence Areas

Defined Residential Communities (DRCs) are communities in residence halls where students can live with 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 community of peers. Living in a DRC can include the following:

  • A community building retreat during the fall semester
  • Events and programs created by students in the community
  • Off-campus field trips led 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 2023-2024 academic year will open towards the end of the Fall 2022 semester.  
If you would like to be notified when the application goes live, click here: DRC Application Notification Form


Defined Residential Communities 2022-2023

Asian/Asian American Student Community
Northeast Area

The Asian/Asian American Community is an intentional space located in Lewis Hall for students to explore their identity and culture as Asian, Asian American, and allied students.

Students in the community gather frequently to discuss issues of identity, social justice, belonging, and culture through intentional programming and dialogue spaces. 

Professional staff in the Asian/Asian American Community work closely with a student advisory board and faculty in the Asian/ Asian American Certificate program to coordinate events and create strong relationships through educational and social programming. 

The Asian/Asian American Community also plans regular off-campus field trips focused on culture and community-building.


El Barrio: Latinx Student Community
Southwest Area

El Barrio is a Latinx based community located in Washington Hall that was created to raise awareness about Latinx culture and help empower students within the Latinx diaspora. 

Students in El Barrio will build connections between each other by engaging in dialogue surrounding their intersecting identities and interests; as well as collaborating with other communities who face similar social, economic, and political issues.

Residents will participate in programming initiatives that explore the multiple facets of Latinx daily life.

Resources available to the community include collaborations with the surrounding cultural centers and organizations; including, but not limited to, the Latin American Cultural Center and the Latinos Unidos organization.


Harambee: African/African American Student Community 
Southwest Area

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 and explore intersections of race and other identities and social justice. 

Events and programs will be planned in collaboration with students, Resident Assistant (RA), the Residence Director, and campus partners like the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies and CMASS.


Spectrum: LGBTQIA+ Student Community
Central Area

Spectrum is a community that strives for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, two-spirit, and asexual students to feel safe, accepted, and empowered. 

Spectrum is also a space for people who are interested in exploring their sexual and gender identities while also learning about their identity in relationship to systems of power. 

Through programming and other initiatives planned by professional staff, RAs, and a student advisory board, this community fosters connections between individuals with shared identities and interests. 
Spectrum students can expect to learn and explore topics such as sexual health, social justice, historical and contemporary issues, and how to be active agents of social change. 

Resources available to the community include collaborations with Faculty, the Stonewall Center, and student, local and national organizations. 

Participants can expect to see local retreats, regional trips that explore gender and sexuality. 

The Spectrum hallway has a gender-inclusive bathroom. All spaces in the Spectrum community are gender-inclusive rooms (eligible students of any gender can select the space. This may require an additional step in the housing selection process).