The Office of Student Engagement and Leadership provides a variety of programs throughout the January break, known as Interterm. From classes led by the Mead Art Museum, to a trip to go rollerskating together, students on campus over break will feel engaged and in community.

2024 January Interterm Classes

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A calendar of events with the date described in the text on the page

Interterm Programs & Events

In addition to casual classes designed to engage our students' interests, Student Engagement and Leadership is hosting a series of programs and events that build skills and community. We are collaborating with various campus partners to give our students something to do almost every day! Check out more details and RSVP to all events on the Student Engagement and Leadership Hub page.


Cooking 101 

JAN 8th, 15th, and 22nd; 1-3 PM; Lewis-Sebring Dining Room

This program will guide students through easy-to-follow tutorials so everyone can feel confident in the kitchen! This program, which is being hosted by Dining Services, takes place from 1-3pm on Mondays in the Lewis-Sebring Dining Room in Valentine Dining Hall. RSVP is required for Cooking 101 and spots are limited.

  • Monday, January 8th- Basic Knife Skills
  • Monday, January 15th- Soup
  • Monday, January 22nd- Cooking 101 + Eggs

Guided Breathing & Recentering Techniques with REW

JAN 17; 1:30-3:15; Wellbeing Makerspace Keefe 101

Join local yoga instructor, Matt Shamey, to learn several breathing, meditation, and visualization techniques that you can use every day to recenter and calm your body and mind. 15-minute sessions will be offered throughout the afternoon at 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 2:30pm, and 3:00pm. To maintain a quiet environment and minimize disruptions, we ask that you arrive a few minutes before session start time and stay for the full 15-minute session once it begins. The Wellbeing Makerspace will not be open for drop-in use while sessions are in progress.

The Restorative Storytelling Circle program

JAN 10th and 24th; 1-3 PM; O'Connor Commons

This program is hosted by the Center for Restorative Practices. Restorative circles are a way to express your feelings and worries in a safe and supportive environment surrounded by your peers. These circles build community and encourage growth and development through connection. This program is on Wednesdays from 1-3 pm in O'Connor Commons (basement of Charles Pratt).

  • Wednesday, January 10th- Our Experiences with Community, Connection, and Belonging
  • Wednesday, January 24th- Following our Professional Passions

Barre classes 

JAN 9th, 16th, and 23rd; 12:05-12:55 PM; Conway Classroom in Alumni Gym

Hosted by Athletics, this program is designed to make workouts fun through high-energy exercises that are a combination of pilates, ballet-inspired movements, cardio conditioning, and strength & flexibility training.

Pickleball 

JAN 9th, 16th, and 23rd; 12:05-12:55 PM; Middleton Gym in Alumni Gym

Hosted by Athletics, this program will teach students about the sport that's a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Pickleball is well-suited for all abilities and ages. Athletics is hosting this program on Tuesdays from 12:05-12:55pm in the Middleton Gym in Alumni Gym.

Yoga classes 

JAN 10th, 17th, and 24th; 12:05-12:55 PM; Conway Classroom in Alumni Gym

Hosted by Athletics, these yoga classes are a great way to center yourself and mentally prepare for the upcoming semester while engaging your muscles and practicing your breathing. This class includes both alignment principles and heart-centered themes. Bringing your own yoga mat is encouraged.

Strength Training 101 

JAN 11th, 18th, and 25th; 12:05-12:55 PM; Conway Classroom in Alumni Gym

Hosted by Athletics, this class will give you an overview of what strength training is, the benefits of it, and how to ease into it without stressing your body. All abilities are welcome!


Off-Campus Trips

If you're more interested in going off-campus and checking out nearby areas, SEL is hosting three field trips through Interterm. Transportation to and from locations is included, as well as any entrance fees. RSVP is required as spots on the bus are limited; any leftover spots will go at a first-come, first-serve basis. All participants must fill out a waiver prior to boarding the bus.

Northampton & the Smith Botanical Garden Field Trip 

JAN 12th; 1-4 PM; Bus leaves from Converse Hall

This trip gives you the chance to walk through the beautiful Botanical Garden and greenhouse at Smith College, as well as easy and quick access to the numerous restaurants and shops in downtown Northampton.

The Springfield Museums Field Trip 

JAN 19th; 1-4 PM; Bus leaves from Converse Hall

This trip will take you a short bus ride away to Springfield where all students will have access to five amazing museums all in one day! 

The Interskate 91 Field Trip 

JAN 26th; 4-7 PM; Bus leaves from Converse Hall

This trip is a great way to "roll" into the new semester with some rollerskating, soft drinks, and pizza all in one! Located in the Hampshire Mall, there is also plenty of shopping available once you're done skating.

Class Information & Sign-Up

Collecting 101: Acquiring Art for the Mead

Jan 22–26; 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Go behind the scenes at the museum, discuss collecting strategies with museum staff, and play an active role in the art acquisition process. One of the highlights is a free overnight trip to New York City! You will meet with artists right in their studios, visit museums and galleries, and make contacts with other arts professionals.

The program will culminate with participants' presentations at a public event where they will endorse their choice or an original piece of work for the Mead’s permanent collection.

If interested, please apply by Sunday, December 10, 2023.

Students of ALL majors and interests (STEM or humanities) are welcome!

Mapping Geographic Data with ArcGIS

January 8–17 (M–F, Tu-W), 9 AM – 12 Noon

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are a powerful tool to discover spatial relationships and illuminate your research with intuitive maps:

  • Illustrate historic sites and extract features from old maps;
  • Spatially correlate census, economic, and other data;
  • Display geologic formations and delineate watersheds;
  • Track human, animal, and plant populations;
  • Map locations from a GPS receiver; and
  • Create geographic features.

You will learn about:

  • Constructing and Sharing Maps (including with Google Earth);
  • Mapping Named Data (including census data and street addresses);
  • Mapping Coordinate Data (including using a GPS receiver);
  • Mapping Image Data (including scanned maps and satellite data); and
  • Analyzing and extracting geographic data.

ArcGIS Pro 3.2 will be provided but can also be installed on faculty, staff, and student Windows computers, or on Macs running Windows under Parallels (note link to the Student Edition) or a similar virtual machine (32 GB of total RAM is highly recommended!). Download ArcGIS Pro from the Amherst Software Collection.

This workshop is in seven parts, and is non-credit and no charge.

Prerequisites: Priority is given to the Amherst College community and then the Five College community through December 29, after which it is first-come, first-served.

Web Programming

Jan. 18–25 (Th–F, M–Th), 1–4 p.m.

The World-Wide Web is a set of computer technologies that publish and display information over the Internet in a highly interactive manner. At the heart of the Web are several content and programming languages that will be covered in this example-based course:

  • The Web content languages (HTML and CSS) that are the foundation of webpages
  • The Web programming language (JavaScript) that makes web pages dynamic and interactive
  • A document object library (jQuery) that makes it easier to manipulate your pages
  • User-interface frameworks (Bootstrap and React) that provide pre-built components for your pages
  • A Web server (Node.js + Express) that lets you store and search for your data
  • A server-side database (MongoDB) to provide efficient access to your data

What can you do with Web programming? Check this out: https://aanderson.people.amherst.edu/polarhack/

Please think about a project to which you’d like to apply your new understanding!

This course is six days, and is non-credit and no charge.

Prerequisites: No programming experience is assumed. Priority is given to the Amherst College community and then the Five College community through December 29, after which it is first-come, first-served.

Where Do You Think You’re From?

January 26 (F), 9 AM – 12 Noon, 1 PM – 4 PM

Do you know about your family’s origins beyond your parents and grandparents? The ancestors of most Americans are immigrants, arriving within the last 400 years and commonly within the last 150 years. In this course you’ll learn how to use census data, archival records, and other sources to trace your genealogical past and determine when your family arrived and from where. You’ll also learn how to compile this information into a free software program, display family trees, and share with others.

Recommended: During the holidays, talk to your parents and other relatives to gather as much name, date, and location information as you can before coming to the workshop; relationships, births, marriages, deaths, migration, etc. can all provide a foundation that you can leverage back in time.

  • This course is non-credit and no charge.

Prerequisites: Priority is given to the Amherst College community and then the Five College community through December 29, after which it is first-come, first-served.

How to Get What You Want from ChatGPT with Prompt Engineering

Jan. 16 & 18; 1–4 pm

Are you disappointed with your experience so far with AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Bard? Prompt engineering is the process of crafting the text you enter to get higher quality results, including more informative text and more compelling images. In this workshop, participating students, staff and faculty will learn methods to trouble-shoot their prompts and compare different generative AI chatbots. We will work through examples in analyzing online text, extracting data from images, and generating new images with Dall-E to illustrate concepts. There will be time for participants to share their own tasks for the group to work on. No technical experience required. Registrants may attend one or both days of this workshop.

Sign up is limited to the first 30 participants. This class is open to students, faculty and staff.

  • This class will be hosted Tuesday 1/16 and Thursday 1/18 from 1-4 pm.