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 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 engage in 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:

  • An off-campus team-building retreat
  • 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.

Defined Residential Communities 2020-2021
 

Nuance

Nuance: Multicultural Student Community    
Southwest Area
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.


 

Asian/Asian American

Asian/Asian American Student Community    
Northeast Area
The Asian/Asian American Community is an intentional space 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 such as an off-campus field trip focused on culture and community-building.

 

Harambee

Harambee: African/African American Student Community    
Southwest Area
Harambee is Swahili for “the pulling together point” or “the point at which all things come together”, and Harambee strives to be 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, Malcolm X Cultural Center and CMASS.

 

LGBTQA

Spectrum: LGBTQIA+ Student Community    
Central Area
Spectrum is a community that strives for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, two-spirit, asexual students, and their allies 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, event such as 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).    

Wellness

Wellness Student Community    
Orchard Hill Area
The Wellness DRC is an oasis for students committed to an alcohol and drug free lifestyle.  Students may choose to participate in Wellness for a variety of reasons including personal/spiritual beliefs, prior experience with chemical dependency, and/or an interest in holistic living.  Members of the Wellness DRC work together with professional staff, the Resident Assistant (RA) of the floor and campus partners such as the Center for Health Promotion to ensure the needs of the community are being met and to bring engaging and innovative activities to the community, hall, and cluster.  Traditionally, these activities have included: game nights, yoga and mindfulness, sustainable food prep, self-care and harm reduction techniques, indoor rock climbing, foliage walks, coffee houses and movie nights, and visits to local performing arts venues.   

 

El Barrio: Latinx Student Community

El Barrio is a Latinx based community 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.                                 

    Kanonhsesne: Native American Student Community
   Central Area

  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.