When I was deciding what college I wanted to go to, I was set on going to a large school. I imagined that a large school would give me more things to do and more people to meet. You might think that Amherst would be the wrong school for a person with my interests; however, Amherst accommodates this, especially in regards to events. There are 30,000 students within a ten-mile radius of Amherst, which makes it the third largest booking area within the northeast right behind New York City and Boston.
You might be thinking—how does this affect me? Well, during your time here, you’re going to be an Amherst College student but also a Five College student. That means that if one of the 130+ clubs doesn’t interest you and you don’t want to create your own club, you’ll have the chance to join any of the clubs here. Personally, I saw the Hampshire Circus practicing on the town green, and they were eating and dancing with fire. They told me that I could learn how if I signed up over at Hampshire College. I haven’t joined yet, but I’m definitely open to the idea of it.
Also, when it comes to events on one of the Five Colleges, you can go to any of them by being an Amherst student. During our spring 2013 concert, students were given free tickets to Macklemore. The year before that Ludacris was here, and Jay-Z, Big Sean, and Tyga have been in the area. If you’re into electronic dance or house music, we had Tiesto and Avicii down the street at UMass. Throwback music that has come here includes Alanis Morisette to Metallica. And if you’re interested in alternative music, Indigo Girls to Dirty Projectors and Youth Lagoon have played within the area.
If you want to go to a lecture, we have those too! On our campus we had the former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz speak to us about national security and sovereignty in regards to the US and Pakistan, Rachel Maddow gave us a talk on topics related to her newest book, Kurt Vonnegut taught a class at Smith College, Anderson Cooper gave a lecture there as well, and Bill Cosby and Maya Angelou have given talks at UMass. Needless to say, there’s always something to do in the Pioneer Valley to keep you busy, and the events that are sponsored by schools have the tickets already paid for or discounted, which is great for a college student! Back in Vegas, I would go to music concerts, and I thought that coming to Amherst would be the end of that. But it turns out that I’m more inclined to go to these events because it’s conveniently located, friends who share similar interests want to go, and the tickets are easy to get!
Although there are things to do at every moment here in the Pioneer Valley, you don’t need to leave the Amherst campus to have something to do. We have seasonal festivals to welcome the changing seasons with cider donuts, hayrides, and bonfires, and it’s a good way to relax and hang out with friends. During the winter festival we had an ice sculpture competition, and even our president Biddy Martin went sledding with us. Besides our festivals, we have events spearheaded by organizations and clubs on campus, so when you’re walking inside Valentine Hall or Keefe Campus Center, you’re going to see advertisements on the walls or people in their booths convincing you to come out and see their show. And in the end, you’re not going to an a cappella show because you love a cappella groups or a theatre performance because you love that particular musical (although you might). You’re going there to support your floormates, roommate, friends, classmates, and overall community that we have here at Amherst.
When it comes to this school, Amherst is as large or as small as you’d like it to be. It’s all up to you.
P.S. The (unfortunate) photos above are from a concert that my friends Kiko, Vera, Tyler, and I went to. We went to see Ra Ra Riots! with my handy dandy Urban Outfitters disposable camera.