From the Classroom to the Quad: Student Life at Amherst

Photos by Maria Stenzel, Jiayi Liu and Matai Curzon ’22

singers performing onstage

Known as the "Singing College," Amherst has six student-run a cappella groups, plus the Choral Society, which is made up of four ensembles. Here, Mammastu Fall ’21 and the Blue Stockings perform at the Black Student Union’s Harlem Renaissance event during Family Weekend. (Performance opportunities)


A crowd gathers outside to eat food made from fresh produce from the Book & Plow Farm

The Book & Plow Farm has a threefold mission: 1) engage students in collaborative and productive farm activities; 2) provide quality produce to the Amherst College community; and 3) offer people space on campus to connect with food, land, and each other. Pictured here, members of the Amherst College community celebrate the harvest at Farm Fest, which featured music, games, and of course, amazing food from the farm. (Related Content: Better Know a Farmer)


A football game in progress

A football game at Pratt Field is one of the mainstays of Homecoming Weekend, which also features lectures, great food and plenty of time for students to connect with alumni. (Homecoming 2019 Photos)


fans celebrate from the stands during a football game

Fans get serious about cheering for the Mammoths during a game.


A crew team on the river

Competitive rowing, or crew, has a long and storied history at Amherst College. The team got its start in the 1860s and soon emerged as one of the most powerful programs in the young world of collegiate rowing, winning a national championship in 1872. Designated as a club sport at Amherst, it's one of the few sports students can join without needing any previous rowing experience. (Meet former crew captain Jana Barber ’19 and her teammates.)


Students playing frisbee on the Academic quad

The Main Quad (also known as the First-Year Quad), flanked by first-year residence halls, Frost Library and Johnson Chapel, and with a view of the Mt. Holyoke Range, is a favorite place to play, read and relax.


  Visitors gather at the annual Fall Festival

Each year, Fall Festival brings together students, faculty, staff and their families for a day of fabulous food and music. (Photos from Fall Festival)


The Science Center at Amherst College

Our state-of-the-art Science Center, which opened in the fall 2018, has quickly become a popular gathering place on campus. (Science Center WebCams: webcam one and webcam two)


Six students gather around a large snowman

It wouldn't be New England without some snow! (For more wintery views—and more of spring, summer and fall—take a look at Amherst Through the Seasons.)


A man and a woman in a kitchen, wearing black aprons, cooking together

For three weeks in January, students can enroll in a variety of challenging classes or workshops, like this intensive seminar for Folger Undergraduate Fellows. “Before Farm to Table: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures” did a deep dive into an 18th-century manuscript recipe book and culminated in the class attempting to replicate the recipes in a kitchen. See more photos: The 2020 Interterm Experience and learn more about Interterm.


An a capella group performs (one member is dressed like a banana)

The Zumbyes, another of Amherst College's a cappella student singing groups, perform regularly throughout the year. (Read about The Zumbyes 2019 appearance on Boston's public television station WGBH on Sing That Thing!)


Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited Amherst College

Students at Amherst College have the opportunity to hear many prominent speakers, such as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who spoke on campus in October 2019. (Related Reading: The Power of Listening)


People heading into the Powerhouse for an event

The Powerhouse was converted into an event space in 2014. Since then, it's been used for poetry slams, musical performances, movie screenings, club meetings, panel discussions, pub nights, outdoor picnics and more. (Learn more)


A student dance performance in progress

Dance and Step at Amherst College (DASAC ) is a student dance group that choreographs their own routines and performs in the Powerhouse and other local venues, showcasing their talent in hip-hop, break, step and street jazz. (Meet Shikha Jha ’22, one of DASAC's artistic directors, and the other dancers, in this Instagram video post.)


Three students relax in hammocks on the Amherst College campus

Hammocks are a common sight on the First-Year Quad come springtime. Check out our Spring Fever slideshow!


A professor holds a class outside on the academic quad

Ok, so it's not all fun and games on the First-Year Quad. Seeing professors relocate their classes outside is also a common sight at Amherst College.


a small group of students gathered for a class

More typically, classes are held indoors. This small group had the lucky opportunity to attend a masterclass, aptly located in the Amherst-owned Emily Dickinson Museum, with writer Susan Choi during LitFest 2020. (Learn more about Choi and all of the writers who were part of LitFest 2020.)


Students gather at the annual city streets festival

Our annual City Streets celebration is open to the Amherst College community and features food from around the world. (See more photos)


Two people stand before an easel contemplating a painting in progress

The Department of Art and the History of Art provides ample studio space for students to explore, learn and experiment with a variety of mediums. (Studio Art Showcase Slideshow)


A student describes her summer research which is illustrated on a large poster

Each fall, all SURF Fellows participate in a poster session. Jea Adams ’21 presented the research she did working with Kate Follette, assistant professor of astronomy. (In April 2020, Adams received a Goldwater Scholarship.)


graduates toss their caps in the air at the end of the commencement ceremony

Commencement is held on the Main Quad. Along with their diploma, each student receives a Conway Cane, a visual metaphor of how a college education supports our graduates throughout their lives. (Commencement 2019 coverage)