One of the amazing things about going to college is moving out and learning to be independent and self-sufficient. For housing, we have many options for students to choose from. Here at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, we have 7 residential areas, each with its own unique dynamic and vibe. All dorm rooms are equipped with a bed, dresser, desk, and chair.
Out of the 7 residential areas, Sylvan is the most affordable housing option. Not only is Sylvan cheaper, but Sylvan also has suites instead of the typical double, accommodating six to eight residents. Students living in suites have access to their own bathroom and living room that they share with their suitemates. The area also hosts a student-run snack bar where students can pick up some study snacks without having to go all the way to Wocester Dining Commons. Sylvan is within close proximity to the Totman gym where students can get their workout in to break the Freshman 15 myth. The gym features an indoor swimming pool and a weight room equipped with a variety of machines. Sylvan is located in the far northeast corner of campus, however buses are very helpful in getting students to their classes and where they need to be in a timely fashion.
Right next to Sylvan is the North Apartments. North Apartments are for multi-year students, therefore, freshmen are not eligible to apply for housing in this area. North Apartments have air conditioning for those hot days right when school starts. Apartments include 4 beautiful bedrooms with single occupancy, two full bathrooms, and a full kitchen with appliances. Students living in North Apartments can stay for the entire 9 months of the school year. Typically students must move out of their dorm rooms for Thanksgiving, winter, and spring break, but North Apartments allow students to stay on campus.
Northeast is comprised of residential buildings that form a quadrangle around a grassy area known as the Quad. The Quad is a great open space for students to relax or play some Frisbee, volleyball and other outdoor activities. Because the main buildings for computer science and mathetics courses are right across the streeet, many students that live in the Northeast area are computer science and mathematics majors. Worcester Dining Commons is located within the Northeast area, where students can have their meals or grab Grab’n Go when they’re in a hurry.
Up on a hill, we have Orchard Hill. Orchard Hill surrounds a grassy area called “The Bowl”. Like the Quad in Northeast, the Bowl is a great spot to hang out and relax with your friends. Many students who have lived in this area have reported that Orchard Hill was a very closely knit community and hosted fun events for everyone such as floor wars, in which students compete against each floor. Orchard Hill also hosts Sweets ‘N More, a student-run business featuring light meals and snacks where students get have their meals without going down the hill. Orchard Hill is also home for many students involved in Residential Academic Programs (RAPs), such as Connecting with Social Justice RAP and Cultural Explorations RAP. At the top of Orchard Hill, we have an observatory that is open to the public on Thursdays to look at the beautiful stars in the night sky.
At the foot of Orchard Hill is Central Residential Area. Central has many RAPs that freshman can take advantage of such as the Exploring Society RAP, Global Perspectives RAP, and Global Viewpoints RAP. The area has defined residential communities such as the Native American community and the community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allies. Students living in Central have quick access to University Health Services and Franklin Dining Commons. UMass Amherst's historic plant conservatory, Durfee Conservatory, is right next to Central. Durfee Conservatory is a place students like to visit because it's a santcuary of calmness and serenity. Central is a great place to live if you prefer to live in a quieter environment.
Southwest is the largest residential area on campus, full of diversified students. In Southwest, we have two dining halls, Berkshire and Hamphire Dining Commons. Because Southwest is a heavily populated residential area, the dining halls can get so crowded that it might be difficult to find a seat. It might be a good idea to have your meals before the peak hours. Southwest has many Residential Academic Programs that students of different majors may take interest in such as Health Sciences RAP, Investigating Consumerism RAP, and Perspectives in Health Topics RAP.
Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community
The Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community (CHCRC) is the newest addition to our residential areas, and opened in the fall of 2013. CHCRC is only for students who are members of the Commonwealth Honors College. Freshmen dorms in the Honors College consist only of doubles in which two students share one room. Honors housing for multi-year students consist of a mixture of suites and apartments. CHCRC is one of the two residential areas on campus with air conditioning. which is very necessary for those hot days in the beginning of the school year. In the CHCRC, we have tons of study space such as classrooms and the cafe. Roots Cafe is a great place for students to grab some food, study, or hang out. CHCRC is a great area for honors students to connect and establish a sense of community.
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