Busy Weekend Ahead as Students Arrive for 2013-14 Academic Year

The new academic year has arrived with students moving back to campus starting Friday and the first day of classes scheduled for Tuesday. More than 28,000 students will be enrolled in the fall semester, including 20,640 undergraduates.

The extensive set of welcoming events is scheduled including a gathering for all new students in the Mullins Center, a group photo of the first-year class, an old-fashioned rope pull at the Campus Pond and a Labor Day barbecue including an attempt to set a world record for the largest-ever fresh fruit salad.

The arrivals begin Friday, Aug. 30 when move-in for the 4,600 members of the entering class takes place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The rest of the 13,323 on-campus residents are scheduled to arrive on Sunday, Sept. 1, and Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 2.

The first-year students will be greeted with a New Students Convocation at the Mullins Center on Saturday, Aug. 31, at 11:30 a.m., where they will be taught the university cheer, fight song and alma mater. They’ll also hear from Colin Beavan, author of this year’s common read, “No Impact Man.” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and other campus leaders will also speak. Following convocation, new students will form a giant 2017 for a class photo in lot 25 near the Mullins Center.

Later that day, as part of Adventure into Amherst from 3-5 p.m. students can explore downtown Amherst and its many stores, restaurants and other businesses. There will be music, food and special deals offered by many shops.

UFest, an afternoon of fun follows on Sunday, Sept. 1 from noon to 5 p.m. on the Goodell Lawn.Highlights includecommunity service projects, such as making care packages for the military and blankets for Project Linus, registering as bone marrow donors or volunteering to work in the UMass Permaculture Garden. All the projects are linked to the theme of UMass Amherst’s 150th anniversary celebration.

The Sesquicentennial rope pull takes place on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 4 p.m. in front of the Old Chapel. Teams of new students will compete in a revival ofa campus tradition dating back to 1893.

Rounding out the weekend, there will be anattempt to create afruit salad world record on Monday, Sept. 2, at 4 p.m., on the traffic island south of the Haigis Mall near the Fine Arts Center. The annual welcome barbecue will attempt to set a world record by preparing a 15,000-pound fruit salad incorporating locally grown produce mixed in a 15-foot diameter, reinforced swimming pool.

The fruit salad will be led by celebrity chef Jet Tila of the Food Network, Willie Sng, UMass Amherst’s executive chef, and chef Oliver de Volpi of McGill University, which last year set the current record for the largest fruit salad at 11,197 pounds.

The recipe calls for more than 50 varieties of fresh fruit grown locally by the UMass Student Farm, the UMass Permaculture Initiative, and various local producers, including the Joe Czajkowski Farm in Hadley. The salad will be weighed using a truck scale. The event is fully funded by donors and plans call for the entire fruit salad to be used at the event and in the dining commons in the following days.