Special Events Mark Arrival of Students and Opening of Fall Semester at UMass Amherst

barbecue event

AMHERST, Mass.­ – The University of Massachusetts Amherst will welcome thousands of first-year and transfer students over Labor Day weekend as they arrive at the Commonwealth’s flagship campus.

An estimated 5,050 first-year students and 1,140 transfers will begin the 2018-19 academic year with a variety of programs offering opportunities to make friends and learn about the campus and neighboring community.

Highlights include organized visits to downtown Amherst and Hampshire Mall in Hadley on Saturday, UFest on Sunday, and New Students Convocation, the Class of 2022 photo and the campus-wide barbecue on Monday.

For more information, visit www.umass.edu/newstudent/newstudent/fall-nso/schedule.

More than 13,000 students who live in 52 residence halls will move in over the weekend. First-year students will move in Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., transfers on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and returning students on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Students and their families are being assisted by My UMass, a free digital app that includes all the planning steps needed in the weeks leading up to the new semester, as well as interactive guidance for move-in day. The app is useful year-round and includes information such as sustainability initiatives, public transit schedules and a service request form that lets students report problems to Facilities and Campus Services.

At 5 p.m., Commonwealth Honors College will hold an induction ceremony for its newest members at 5 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall.

On Friday evening, new students will get to know their residence hall staff through floor meetings and first night activities from 7 p.m. to midnight.

From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., the Big U, a campus carnival sponsored by the University Programming Council and student activities, will be held on Haigis Mall.

For late-night eating, Berkshire Dining Commons will be open Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight. On Sunday, Berkshire and Worcester dining commons will be open from 9 p.m. to midnight.


On Saturday, students can tour the Permaculture Garden outside Franklin Dining Commons at 11 a.m. and learn about gardening techniques that are more than just sustainable.

From noon to 2 p.m., it’s Adventure into Amherst, where students get to know their downtown neighbors and businesses and will be offered special deals for the day. Students gather in their residential areas for the walk into town.

Inside the Campus Center Auditorium from 2-5:30 p.m., Drawn Together allows students to take part in coloring, card-making and decorating UMass spirit posters while learning about community service opportunities.

Those preferring the outdoors have the UPlay Jamboree from 2-5:30 p.m. on the intramural fields next to the Mullins Center. Students sign up for tournament-style dodgeball or kickball, or walk on for other lawn games. Next door there is ice skating at the Mullins Center practice rink from 2-5 p.m.

At 6 p.m., all new students will dine together in the Mullins Center for a program titled “Many Voices. One Community,” which will include performances and conversations about all the differences that together make UMass a strong and inclusive living and learning community.

At 8 p.m., the Out of State and International Student Meet-Up in the Campus Center’s Amherst Room offers useful resources and local information for those from outside Massachusetts.

From 9 p.m. to midnight, it’s Mall Madness as buses carry students from their residential areas to Hampshire Mall for special student discounts, student performances and a late-night movie.

For those not needing retail therapy, there will be a laser tag competition at the Campus Center Auditorium from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.


Sunday activities begin with the New2U Tag Sale from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom and Commonwealth Room offering sustainable shopping for thousands of refurbished items including clothes, mini-fridges, lamps, futons, rugs, storage options and school supplies. There is an early-bird special from 8-9 a.m. for international students.

From noon to 5 p.m. UFest, a campus festival, takes place on Goodell Lawn featuring student performances, NSO Open Mic, interactive displays, games, carnival activities, sidewalk chalk and UMass Dining food tents. Also at UFest, students will be signing up for UMass Outing Club trips they will take on Monday.

Transfer students can meet each other and learn about campus resources at a 6:30 p.m. Transfer Student Dessert Reception in the Marriott Center on the 11th floor of the Campus Center.

From 4-7 p.m., there is ice skating at the Mullins Center practice rink; from 7:30-10 p.m., Get Your Game On offers fun games and prizes at the Learning Commons in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library; from 8-10 p.m. the University Programming Council’s Under the Stars Night at Haigis Mall will feature student comedy groups, and from 9 p.m. to midnight there will be a campus scavenger hunt.


At 9:30 a.m., UMass Outing Club trips depart from campus to introduce students to hiking, kayaking and climbing opportunities in the area.

Also at 9:30, Commonwealth Honors College hosts a first-year student open house and meet-and-greet in the Events Hall.

An off-campus student meet-up will be held 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the Off Campus Student Center in 314 Student Union.

Starting at 1:15 p.m., deans from the various schools and colleges will welcome new students at events around campus, then students head to the New Students Convocation at 2:30 p.m. in the Mullins Center where Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy officially welcomes them to UMass. From there, students walk to the intramural fields for their class picture and then follow the Minutemen Marching Band in the traditional Minuteman March to the Welcome BBQ at Haigis Mall. The entire campus is welcome to enjoy free food from the award-winning UMass Dining Services.

Students may top off the evening with ice skating at the Mullins practice rink from 4-7 p.m.

Fall semester classes begin Tuesday.