Back to top

Staying active, staying engaged, staying home

Spending a lot more time at home these days? Not to worry — UMass Amherst alumni are here to make that time a little bit healthier, happier, and more fun. Here are just a few of the ways alumni and their businesses are improving life right now. 

Woman doing yoga

Move your body 
The technology-based home fitness company Peloton, co-founded by Hisao Kushi ’88, has seen a boom in recent months as more people are looking to work out at home. In fact, the company recently broke one of its own records when 23,000 people streamed a single live class. Led by Peloton vice president and head instructor Robin Arzón, the 30-minute class was one of the first ever filmed outside Peloton’s studios—direct from Arzón’s living room to yours. 

Basket of vegetables

Eat your vegetables 
While we’re on the subject of keeping your body healthy, a new cooperative has made getting vegetables and other healthy foods a lot easier. Dozens of farms in and around Western Mass. have teamed up to form Sunderland Farm Collaborative, which is now delivering produce, dairy, and other farm products directly to consumers’ homes. Among the participating farms are Apex Orchards (Becca Drew ’13, wholesale manager), Mapleline Farm (Chad Dizek ’01, farm manager; Richard West ’91, herd manager; John Kokoski ’69 business manager), Queen’s Greens (Matt Biskup ’95, co-owner), and Riverland Farm (Meghan Arquin ’99, co-owner). 

Child wearing headphones

Entertain your kids 
And what about the kids? Keeping them busy with schools and camps closed is no small feat, but Josh Stearns ’07MA is here to help. The archive of his Ping and Echo newsletter features kid-friendly podcast episodes that adults will love, too, along with links to fun activities and related reading and videos.

People holding open books

Feed your mind 
Or how about a good book? Find books for kids and adults alike at Bookshop, the new online bookstore created by Andy Hunter ’94. Providing an independent alternative to Amazon, Bookshop shares its profits with local independent bookstores. While the site launched months before the pandemic began, it has done a brisk business in recent months as many local bookstores have had to temporarily close their doors, and it recently hit the $1 million mark in earnings for local bookstores.

Classic books on a shelf

Impress your colleagues 
And speaking of books, what impression is that bookshelf behind you making during all those video meetings? If you want to impress your boss, co-workers, or friends, the Brattle Book Shop in Boston is here to help. Owner Ken Gloss ’73 and his wife Joyce Kosofsky ’75 will curate a hand-picked selection of books to make your Zoom background look smarter and more aesthetically pleasing. Drawing on their experience selecting books that make the right impression for retailers, realtors, and film and television sets, these booksellers will choose and ship a selection of books to make you look sophisticated and worldly—even if you rarely leave the house.