Diversity and Inclusion

Programs

 

The Office of Admission

    • As part of Amherst College's commitment to diversity, the Office of Admission hosts two weekend Diversity Open Houses (DIVOH) in the fall to introduce prospective applicants to Amherst's campus, student body, faculty, classes, and residence halls. Up to 100 students are selected to attend each weekend. The Diversity Open Houses are available to all prospective students, but the DIVOH selection committee prioritizes the invitation of students from traditionally under-represented groups, such as African-American, Hispanic/Latino American, Native American, and Asian-American backgrounds, as well as first-generation students.
    • Diversity Interns are current Amherst students who work with the Office of Admission to reach out to prospective students from different cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The Diversity Interns can provide information and personal perspectives on what the Amherst College community has to offer. Meet these students, learn more about their work and contact them with questions through the Diversity Interns page.
    • Each April, any admitted student who identifies as a person of color, first generation and/ or low-income is provided the funded opportunity to visit Amherst (so long as they have not already attended a DIVOH).
    • Partnership with College Horizons to organize a recruitment program for Native American students.
    •  Diversity programming and outreach to around 400 community based organizations, guidance counselors, teachers, and community leaders all across the country and beyond.
    • Starting in 2003, Amherst College partnered with QuestBridge, a national non-profit organization focused on connecting bright, motivated low-income students to educational and scholarship opportunities at top colleges and universities. Participation in programs such as the The National College Match has strengthened Amherst’s ability to discover and attract the most talented high-achieving low-income students in the country. Committed to making an Amherst education affordable, QuestBridge Scholars often receive a full-scholarship to attend.
    • Each year, the Telementoring Program matches approximately 150 highly motivated, public high school seniors from disadvantaged backgrounds with Amherst students from similar backgrounds to provide guidance throughout the college application process. Mentors are extensively trained regarding the college admission process and use their own experiences to advise mentees on choosing a college list, preparing and completing college applications, interpreting financial aid packages, coping with changes in social/cultural expectations in college, and choosing the right school for their interests.  

Athletics Department

  • The overall mission of the Diversity Initiative in Athletics at Amherst College is to embody and promote the community that embraces its pluralistic identity. It is also dedicated to the inclusion of students, faculty, staff of all cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds, regardless of age, gender, learning differences, or sexual orientation. Our student-athletes respectfully honor the range of human differences in a variety of ways. Most importantly are their educational experiences on their respective teams, in the classroom, and participating in community engagement through outreach opportunities on and off campus throughout the academic year.
  • The Intramural Sports program at Amherst College spans three seasons and offers members of the college community an opportunity to participate and compete in sports. The program is open to all students, faculty, staff, and administrators of Amherst College.
  • Amherst College student-athletes give back to their surrounding community. Click here for some stories of student-athlete community engagement.
  • The creation of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee on the Amherst College Campus, looks at ways to help promote the importance of participation in various community engagement projects throughout the year. 
  • Amherst LEADS is a leadership development program that provides a comprehensive and educational view of leadership that can be used both during and after a student-athlete’s experience at Amherst. Designed specifically for the varsity student-athlete, the program features a variety of symposia, workshops, speakers, and interactive experiences to educate the college’s student-athletes about becoming strong, ethical and influential leaders.
  • Amherst athletes and staff collaborated to create a video for the You Can Play Project, a national effort advocating respect for all collegiate athletes, regardless of sexual orientation. It offers a simple yet profound message: If you can play, you can play.

Career Center

    • Amherst Women of Color in the Workplace Retreat aims to facilitate a dialogue between working professionals and students about how to navigate the professional space as women of color. Workshop discussions will not only foreground how to transition from college to the workplace but also how to build supportive networks within the Amherst community. Follow the link for more infomation.

Center for Community Engagement

    • The Center for Community Engagement plays a central role in fulfilling the College's mission to "engage the world around them" and does so in ways that raise fundamental questions about knowledge. By integrating knowledge with engagement, the Center for Community Engagement ensures that graduates are well-prepared to lead principled lives of consequence.
    • Engagement AdvisingThe Engagement Advising program is one of the best introductions to community engagement at Amherst, and it's available year-round. The program matches students looking to get started with students who have substantial engagement experience. Advisors meet with their advisees, get to know their interests, and make tailored recommendations for getting started. Meetings can be off-campus.
    • Community Engagement Orientation Trip-The Community Engagement Orientation Trip is a fun, challenging, and intensive introduction to the communities in and around Amherst. For three days during orientation, students are immersed in local communities as they are introduced to the people and organizations of the Pioneer Valley.
    • Organizations in the Pioneer Valley-The Center for Community Engagement maintains sustained, mutually-beneficial relationships with dozens of organizations in the Pioneer Valley. Browse the list of organizations with whom we work most closely.
    • Summer Internships-Each summer, 150 students hold public service internships around the nation and the globe as part of the Center for Community Engagement's public internship programs.
    • Engagement in the Classroom-Community-based learning adds complexity and urgency to students' critical grasp of social, political, and cultural issues by connecting the intellectual rigors of academic study with the needs and expertise of the community.
    • Student Leadership-The Community Engagement Leader program prepares students to be Amherst College alumni who link learning with leadership— to the College, to their communities, and to the world beyond.

Counseling Center

    • The Counseling Center provides assessment, counseling, brief psychotherapy, and referral to Amherst College students on a voluntary and confidential basis. It's purpose is to help students cope with dilemmas in their personal development or with painful life events, and also to help students develop a resiliency so that they are better able to respond to life problems and concerns. They are here to help in ways to further students’ growth and make their experiences as Amherst students more productive and successful.

Dean of Faculty Office

Dean of Students Office

  • First-generation College Student outreach and programming
    • In President Martin’s 2013 letter to the community, she includes that 18 percent of the incoming class can be classified as first-generation college student. Amherst College values students from all backgrounds and sees its diversifying population as a point of pride. In an effort to build a first-generation college community, the Student Life Fellow runs a first-generation mixer where faculty, staff, and students are invited. Furthermore, Amherst College and Class Action, a non-profit organization, will host a first-generation college summit on campus. The first-generation college summit will include students from the five college consortium, Wellesley College, Harvard College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Colby College. The goal of the first-generation college summit is for students to build a network across institutions and for administrators to share best practices.
  • International Student Life Fellow:
    • International student meetings- Over the course of the semester, Dexter Padayachee has been encouraging international students to individual meetings to discuss their experiences at Amherst College. The aim of these meetings is to understand the experiences of the growing number of international students on the college campus. Furthermore, as part of an ongoing research endeavor these meetings highlight some of the struggles of international students, and efforts are being made in collaboration with the Dean of Students Office and the Office of the Provost. The meaning of diversity at Amherst College needs to incorporate the international presence in order to be successful, and explore the full potential of its diverse and internationalized student body.
    • Diversity discussion with international students- During Fall 2013, Dexter Padayachee collaborated with the ISA to host a diversity discussion amongst the international student body. The discussion gave voice to a multitude of perspectives regarding being an international student at Amherst College, highlighting both positive and negative aspects.
    • Koenig Scholars- Pledged to the college in 2007, the Koenig Scholarship Fund allows Amherst College to recruit five high-achieving students from Africa and Latin America. An integral part of the International Student Life Fellow is to support the Koenig Scholars in any means possible. This ranges from addressing issues of culture shock to strategically aiding students who are experiencing academic difficulty. The Koenig Scholarship Fund has been a huge contributor to the internationalization of Amherst College.
  • Student Activities Office
    • Last year, of the 288 registered events hosted by student groups last year, 63 were coordinated by student cultural/religious/advocacy groups. Dean Hannah Fatemi serves as an advisor to many of these organizations, meeting bi-weekly with some groups and helping leaders plan ideas and program development. The organizations that Student Activities works most closely with, due to their volume of programming efforts, are listed below:
    • The Student Activities Office supports the facilitation of a variety of student programs, from cultural celebrations, panel discussions/speakers, social programs, film screenings etc. Some examples of large events that the department supports that occur yearly are:
      • Voices of the Voiceless
      • Harlem Renaissance
      • Asian Night Market
      • Diwali Festival
      • Moon Festival
      • Chinese New Year
      • Kwanzaa
      • CaribFest 
  • Student Life Fellows’ Initiatives:
    •  Coat drive- Through the Dean of Students Office, the Student Life Fellows organized the annual coat drive and collected coats and winter accessories. Coats were made available to low-income and international students who may have not had any winter clothing or the financial resources to buy them. This program was initiated due to the changing demographics of the campus; there was a need for the school to provide winter coats and accessories to students. The Student Life Fellows, Flora Chan and Dexter Padayachee are exploring new ways of increasing the quality, efficacy and reach of the program through possibly involving the Office of Development and Parent and Alumni Programs.
    • Break Programming- As the student body changes over time, there has been an increased need to provide services to students who are unable to travel home during Thanksgiving Break, Winter Recess, and Spring Break. In their capacity as Student Life Fellows, Flora Chan and Dexter Padayachee have created programming to support student who remain on campus during these times. Traditionally the college has been closed and students were not provided with adequate support, including meals and student support services. In an effort to ensure that all members of our diversifying student body are catered to, they have strategically created and continued programs like the Share a Meal with a Community Member, and daily activities that attempt to create a space that fosters community. There have also been talks within Residential Life to keep dormitories open during the Winter Recess, as a growing population seeks housing during this time. Additionally, the college attempts to provide meals for students who remain on campus during all breaks, which was not provided before. These programs are open to all students, irrespective of socio-economic background.
  • Transfer Student Outreach and programming
    • Amherst College has a distinctive dedication to community college transfer, which roots stem from the 2006 partnership between the college and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.  Amherst College’s need-blind admissions and no-loan financial aid policies makes it an affordable and desirable school for transfer students. The Student Life Fellow’s position is dedicated to supporting and working with transfers and first-generation college students. Through the year, the Student Life Fellow organizes events for all transfer students and serves as an advisor. Transfer student programs include transfer orientation, workshops with the fellowships office and the career center, social events, and off-campus trips. Moreover, the Dean of Students Office and the Student Life Fellow has appointment Transfer Peer Mentors to coordinate programs and support their peers. 

Departments

    • Departments offer an incredible variety of courses that focus on domestic and international diversity and different cultures and societies. Whether this be by the study of different languages, or the exploration of a subject through an international or cross-cultural prism, Amherst is working on providing and creating opportunities for our students to develop global skills, comprehension and understanding. Here are some of the Amherst departments that are paving new paths in this area:

Facilities

    • As Facilities recognized that the student body was becoming more diverse, they sought to match their staff to the changing student population. The effort was a success--15 years ago custodial workforce was entirely composed of white men, and now over 50% of staff are of color. This has brought many benefits to everyone involved, including to students who are able to develop good relationships with staff by sharing each other's cultures. 
    • Purposeful recruitment, close partnerships with Human Resources, mentorship by Charri Boykin-East in the Dean of Students Office, hiring programs as well as active creation of an inclusive work culture has made the department an attractive career opportunity for diverse candidates.
    • Facilities has hosted workshop programs to move the team through difficult times when some long term staff have had a hard time embracing facilities' diversity efforts.
    • Facilities organizes a Summer Apprentice Program that provides custodians the opportunity to get exposed to and learn a trade.
    • 3- year partnership with Westover Job Corps to provide training and internship possibilities for at risk young adults who want to pursue careers in the trades.   

Provost Office

    • The Multicultural Resource Center is the hub for all groups at Amherst College that promote understanding of different cultural aspects present in the community.  It acts as a communication and activities hub, located in the Campus Center.
    • The Queer Resource Center supports the LGBTQQIAA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and Ally) students of Amherst College. The QRC seeks to empower the lives of LGBTQ students by uniting the diverse individuals in the community across gender, race, age, and economic standing, religion, and ability differences. The intention of The QRC is to provide a safe, open, and confidential atmosphere where LGBTQ students and their allies can gather openly and discuss relevant issues/topics.
    • Women's and Gender Center seeks to foster a critical awareness of gender and create an intentional space, accessible to students of all genders, that will serve as a resource and forum for topics and issues related specifically to women and, more broadly, related to the experience of gender. The Center promotes learning about and exploring gender through personal experience, academic inquiry, community organizing, activism and discussion. 
    • The Office of Study Abroad provides advice and resources for students from groups typically underrepresented in education abroad. Please see Diversity and Study Abroad: Identity and Disclosure for more information on disability, religion, race, LBTQ students and gender and study abroad.  This website is featured in the Forum on Education Abroad's advising webinar for new advisers as a site with comprehensive resources!
    • Amherst is an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. The Provost Office has hosted NCFDD workshops for faculty. 
    • Amherst is a founding member of LADO-Liberal Arts Diversity Officers. In 2012, LADO launched the Creating Connections Consortium, a strategy to increase student, graduate and faculty diversity. 
    • Since September 2013, the Provost has been responsible for overseeing the Amherst Strategic Planning Process. While all Strategic Planning committees are looking into ways to support our diversity, the Committee on Diversity and Community is solely dedicated to these issues.  
    • Currently, the Provost Office is organizing the Ask Big Questions Program at Amherst.

Student Health Services

    • Student health services are committed to promoting health and preventing or treating disease and illness, in a caring, confidential and competent manner, including direct patient care and health education, for all Amherst College students.They encourage students to be active participants in their health care. This includes the Health Center and Counseling Centers. 

Valentine Dining Services

    • "Valentine is in a continuous evolutionary process, growing with the needs of our customer. One area of specific desired growth is that of cultural diversity in our menu offerings.  We realize the importance of bringing a global perspective to our table and not only introducing world cuisines to our students but integrated these dishes into our concept.  This effort began in full a couple of years ago and has already had a significant influence in our menus and will continue to be a significant stimulus to our menu advancement into the future. The World Cuisine’s menu items that were valued by our customers and can be produced within our current abilities become part of our regular menu cycles, growing our repertoire, creating greater diversity throughout our concept and in turn brings a taste of home to our international students and introduces others to cuisines of many people throughout the world. While our concept follows the seasons to showcase the best ingredients available and especially our region has to offer, it accomplishes such with a global approach, even driving what the Book and Plow Farm will grow to accomplish our needs.   Development of this process challenges our team to produce the previously unfamiliar items with a quality ingredient base.  These new techniques learned by our staff, not only refines their individual ability but has strengthened the overall ability of our team.  We have found this entire process to be rewarding in many ways to our overall mission of providing excellence in food and service and we look forward to its continued positive impact as we become more diverse in our offerings."- Charlie Thompson, Director of Dining Services