“Amherst for Amherst” is Amherst College’s initiative to deepen its partnership with the town of Amherst, MA.
Our engagement is focused on four core areas that reflect Amherst College’s priorities and where we believe we can achieve a real impact in the next few years.
1. Economic Development
The College will continue to be an engine of economic growth as one of the largest employers and taxpayers in the Town of Amherst. We also recognize that a thriving, diverse community needs safe, affordable housing.
In the Fall of 2023, Amherst announced $1.325 million in direct investment in the town and region, including:
- $1 million to the Jones Library renovation and expansion project.
- $250,000 to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital for its emergency department expansion.
- $75,000 to the Drake arts and cultural performance venue for sustained programming (Professor Darryl Harper ’90, above, celebrated the release of his eighth album in a show at the Drake).
In the months ahead, we plan to announce additional investments, including support for the Amherst Fire Department and Amherst Regional Public Schools.
Amherst College is an engine of economic activity in the town and region.
million in economic activity
jobs supported directly and indirectly
spent by students on groceries, dining, entertainment, clothing, and transportation (UMASS Donahue Institute)
2. Public Education
Our commitment to education extends beyond our own students, and we are committed to supporting public schools as the bedrock of our community, with a particular focus on college access.
Over the last decade, Amherst Regional High School students have taken over 500 free classes at Amherst College on topics ranging from Molecular Biology to Russian. Several of these students have gone on to graduate from Amherst College. ARPS students receive transferable credits and, starting in Fall 2024, course materials at no cost.
Mead on the Move is a program that brings art education from the Mead Art Museum’s galleries into pre-K-12 grade classrooms. Free and open to all Amherst-area schools, the school visits use close-looking, guided discussion, and multi-sensory engagement to promote dialogue, critical thinking, and personal connection through art. All visits are developed and facilitated by Mead’s trained and paid Student Museum Educators.
Alongside our institutional Climate Action Plan, we will engage deeply with partners in the town and region to mitigate the effects of climate change and foster a more sustainable future.
4. Intentional Inclusion
As we seek to build a stronger Amherst College community, we also seek to partner with organizations and individuals working to create a more welcoming and inclusive town. This work includes an honest appraisal of the College’s racial history and relationship with the town and efforts to make this history more visible.
Amherst College partnered with the Ancestral Bridges Foundation to host “Ancestral Bridges: Celebrating Black and Afro-Indigenous families who lived and worked in Amherst in the 18th through early 20th centuries,” an exhibition of historical photographs and artifacts at Frost Library. This exhibition sought to center this long-neglected aspect of town history and to celebrate the rich and complex lives of the Black and Afro-Indigenous community of Amherst.