AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst will roll out the red carpet over the Labor Day weekend for thousands of first-year and transfer students who will be joining the Commonwealth’s flagship campus community.
The estimated 4,685 first-year students and 1,100 transfers will ease into the 2015-16 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, including the annual inter-class Rope Pull, on Sunday, and New Student Convocation, the Class of 2019 photo and the campus-wide BBQ on Monday.
About 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.-4 p.m., transfers on Saturday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and returning students on Sunday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
This year, students and their families will be assisted by Living at UMass, a new, free digital app for iOS and Android that has its initial focus on the move-in. It includes all the planning steps needed in the weeks leading up to the new semester, as well as interactive guidance for move-in day.
On Friday evening, new students will get to know their residence hall staffs through floor meetings and first night activities from 7-9 p.m.
For late-night eating, Berkshire and Worcester dining commons will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
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 12:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday, 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 p.m., Drawn Together allows students to take part in coloring, card making, UMass spirit posters and care packages. From 9 p.m.-1 a.m., students can play laser tag there.
Those preferring the outdoors have the UPlay Jamboree from 2-6 p.m. on
the intramural fields next to the Mullins Center. Students sign up for tournament-style dodge ball or kickball, or walk-on for other lawn games. Next door there is ice skating at the Mullins practice rink from 4 to 8 p.m.
At 7:30 p.m., the Out of State Meet-Up in the Student Union’s Cape Cod Lounge offersuseful resources and local information for those from outside Massachusetts.
From 9 p.m.-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.
Sunday activities begin with the New2U Tag Sale from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom offering sustainable shopping for thousands of refurbished items, including clothes, mini-fridges, lamps, futons, rugs, storage units and school supplies. Students can pay a $5 early bird entry fee on Sunday morning for first dibs on all items. At all other times Sunday and Monday, entry is free.
From noon-5 p.m. Sunday, UFest takes place on Goodell Lawn. This campus festival
features student performances, interactive displays, games, carnival activities, sidewalk chalk contest, and activity information and dining tents. The annual Rope Pull at 4:30 p.m. caps the event, pitting the Class of 2019 against the Class of 2018.
From 4-8 p.m., there is ice skating at the Mullins Center practice rink; from 7-9 p.m., Get Your Game On offers fun, games and prizes at the Learning Commons in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, and from 7-11 p.m. the Game of Life in Campus Center Auditorium offers participants a realistic version of the classic board game while revealing how to pay for college and prepare for the future.
From 8-10 p.m., Night Under the Stars at Haigis Mall offers an evening of entertainment featuring by student performance groups, plus free food. Rain moves the event indoors.
On Labor Day, the New2U Tag Sale continues from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.
At 1:15 p.m., deans from the various schools and colleges welcome new students at events across campus, then the students head to the New Student Convocation at 2:30 p.m. at the Mullins Center, where Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy and other officials will formally welcome them to the university. From there, students walk next door to the intramural fields for the taking of the Class of 2019 photo.
Then, Chancellor Subbaswamy and the UMass Minuteman Marching Band will lead the new students in the Minuteman March to the Welcome BBQ at Haigis Mall from 4-7 p.m. The entire campus is welcome to enjoy free food from award-winning UMass Amherst Dining Services.
Students may top off the evening with ice skating at the Mullins practice rink from 6-8 p.m.
Classes for the fall semester begin Tuesday.