The four new residence halls that opened this fall are more than just places to sleep; they’re blurring the line between inside and outside the classroom.
Now home to 296 sophomores, juniors and seniors, the Greenway Residences have seminar rooms and study carrels, as well as social spaces large and small, including two-story lounges with spiral stairways. They offer room options from singles to suites.
These dorms—grouped around a central courtyard and linked by bridges—are meant to foster connection, enrich how students learn and interact, and provide a new model for integrating academic and residential life.
In fact, said Greenway Resident Counselor Beselot “Bessy” Birhanu ’17 at a fall ribbon-cutting, they’re becoming “a haven for creativity, a space where everyone can come together and, honestly, a home away from home.”
Karen Blake ’17, president of the Association of Amherst Students, said at the ribbon-cutting that the buildings “make it easy for students to make connections across groups, across class and hopefully across difference.”
Located to the south of Merrill, with views of the Holyoke Range, the dorms are part of a major building and landscaping project that is transforming the eastern part of campus. The other components are a landscaped walkway and a new, interdisciplinary Science Center.
Construction is under way for the Science Center on land previously occupied by the Social Dorms. It is designed to be a hub of discussions encompassing not only the sciences but also math, the humanities and the arts. The building will enhance the College’s leadership in science, technology, engineering and math education and in reimagining the liberal arts for the 21st century.
The landscaped walkway—called the Greenway—will run from Valentine Dining Hall past the new Science Center and down to the new dorms, extending the campus with curving pathways, an amphitheater, recreational areas and a scenic orchard. Both the Greenway and the Science Center are scheduled to open in fall 2018.