A bird's eye view of autumn on campus.
Our students design their own program of study and recruit faculty to advise them using written evals instead of grades. Like a grad school for undergrads.
Hampshire, in Amherst, Mass., is among the most innovative colleges in the country, challenging students to design their own programs of study and recruit a faculty committee to advise them using narrative evaluations rather than grades. Like a graduate school model for undergraduates, the success of the College can be measured by the mainstreaming of many of its innovations in education and the achievements of its alums: Academy Award and Emmy Award winners, best-selling authors, scientists, historians, Peabody winners, MacArthur Foundation awardees, Fulbright scholars, and more. The College is ranked 40th in the US for percentage of alumni who earn doctorate degrees according to the National Science Foundation. More than a quarter of its grads have started their own venture or organization, landing the college on Forbes’s 2015 list of top-ten most-entrepreneurial colleges. Hampshire is part of the Five Colleges consortium, through which our students share classes, activities, and resources with the students of Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and UMass Amherst.
Mission: The mission of Hampshire College is to foster a lifelong passion for learning, inquiry, and ethical citizenship that inspires students to contribute to knowledge, justice, and positive change in the world and, by doing so, to transform higher education.
A bird's eye view of autumn on campus.
Alum Aaron Fagan 94S, whose new book of poetry is “A Better Place Is Hard to Find,” was featured at the Poetry Society of America.
To me, an aubade is a form of dirge, both a morning song and a mourning song. The new day, as we discover, both is and is not new. It’s infused, if no...
Through photography in her book Unfixed, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Visual Studies Jennifer Bajorek asks questions about the meaning and nature of liberation.
Through photography, the author asks questions about the meaning and nature of liberation. “Particular images can have, in themselves, political and social effects.”
The story of how thousands of rescued Yiddish books became the Yiddish Book Center on the Hampshire College campus, has been told a few times. Now, it’s an illustrated children's book, “The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come.”
Author Sue Macy begins her book when Book Center founder and Hampshire alum Aaron Lansky 73F was a young boy.
The story of how thousands of rescued Yiddish books became the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, has been told a few times. Now, it’s an
“I am a first-generation student in my third year, which puts me in the second year of my Division II. I am currently studying creative writing as my concentration, along with exploring poetry and theater. Outside my classes, I work at the Career Options Resource Center on campus, which provides resume/cover letter help to students, as well as helping students prepare for internships, jobs, and graduate school applications. In my free time, I enjoy doing yoga, kickboxing, playing the ukulele poorly, baking bread, and cooking meals for my friends. There’s plenty of space on campus to be able to enjoy my current hobbies, as well as to explore something new and exciting!
“Hampshire stuck out to me when I was first applying to colleges because of the focus on growth and improvement rather than numbers and merely testing well. The unique curriculum and the interdisciplinary nature of Hampshire was what ultimately led to my decision. I wanted to experience a place very different from where I grew up in Hawaii, and ultimately, I think Hampshire was the best decision I could have made. Not only is it a beautiful area with friendly and creative students, but also every single member of staff and faculty that I have met genuinely wants to support students the best that they can. Apathy is rare on Hampshire’s campus.” — McKenna Kopasz 18F
Alum artist Christina Quarles 04F, “known for her jumbled-up portraits of intimacy—arms and legs twisted together, raw canvas commanding viewers to fill in blanks between thick impasto brushstrokes” discusses her newest body of work, painted during quarantine and influenced by the country's racial tension, police violence, and wildfires right outside her studio.
She has raised more than $34,000 for various anti-incarceration organizations, immigration-justice initiatives, and the #MeltICE freedom fund, and has also donated numerous works to charity auctions and exhibitions, including a fundraiser for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Quarles is focused on encouraging more young people to vote, and has been fundraising for Walk the Walk, a fund for grassroots groups in African American and Latinx communities that aims to fight voter suppression in key swing states. She’s also working with Artists 4 Democracy, a group that engages college-aged voters studying art.
Christina Quarles, known for her jumbled-up portraits of intimacy, reflects on the difficulties and opportunities of 2020.
“Originally, I wanted to study policy, education, and sculpture, but then found ecology and animal behavior to be really interesting. After getting my scuba license through UMass and joining Dr. Laela Sayigh and Dr. Sarah Partan on a trip to Chilean Patagonia to study marine mammals, I decided to concentrate on the marine world. I conducted an independent study with Dr. Sayigh, during which I learned the software for analyzing vocalizations. While taking Cetacean Communication with Dr. Sayigh, at the end of my Div II, the potential of a stranding alert system was brought up, and I immediately knew I wanted to pursue it as my Div III.” — student Molly Dent 17F
I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and attended a very conventional high school. Although I excelled academically, I didn’t feel challenged or excited about what I was learning. Hampshire seemed like a perfect fit for me because students can combine various subject areas — I knew I had too many...
Last week, students sat outside near the pick-your-own fields at Hampshire College Farm during which Professor of Art Serena Himmelfarb held a discussion on beauty and Western/Colonial ideals and ideas of science after reading Robin Kimmerer’s book, Braiding Sweetgrass.
In honor of Her Honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Herrell's Ice Cream, owned by alum Judy Herrell 81S, has just released three new flavors: Ginsburg Snap - sweet cream with ginger snaps, Legendary RBG - raspberry swirl and babka mixed into ginger ice cream and, Women's Empowermint- malted peppermint.
A Western Massachusetts ice cream shop added three new flavors to its menu in honor of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
TONIGHT! FREE! To mark the centenary of the birth of Yusef Lateef [who taught at Hampshire for many years and inspired generations of students as Five College Distinguished Professor of Music and Music Education], the UMass Fine Arts Center will celebrate his life with a multi-faceted, online project that includes: a live virtual concert, an exhibit of his visual art, a photo gallery of images, readings of scholarly papers relating to Lateef, dramatic readings of his fiction, film excerpts about Lateef, and 100 short video responses to Lateef by a cross-section of musicians, writers, former students, friends, colleagues and family.
To mark the centenary of Yusef Lateef’s birth, the UMass Fine Arts Center will celebrate his life with a multi-faceted project with a live virtual concert. Five improvisers will each play short solo pieces to open the exhibit.
Chef and alum Gabrielle Hamilton 83F sets up this recipe with a memory of Hampshire:
“When I arrived on campus for my second freshman year of college, I thought I was a precocious and savvy 17-year-old — having already lived on my own in New York City, already worked in restaurants and a raucous nightclub, already dropped out of a different college the year before, already been in trouble with the law (and been charged with two felonies). But my new housemate, a graduating senior I met that afternoon, hooked me by the arm and cruised me across campus to the welcome convocation — where I suddenly froze as I realized I had never been to an academic lecture before. Dr. Gloria Joseph, the love of Audre Lorde, was at the lectern, discussing third-world feminism, followed by the Pakistani political scientist Eqbal Ahmad, who used words like “anti-imperialism” and “anti-colonialism,” while I sat in the back of the hushed amphitheater, surrounded by nodding classmates who appeared already fluent in these concepts.
“The next day I took a good long walk in the crisp New England air to work it all out, to ask myself some big questions under the scrutiny of no one — this Thoreauvian remedy at least I had known since before high school. Walking and walking, past the apple orchards, alone in the hushed privacy of the pine-needle floor of the surrounding woods and coming eventually to the edge of a vast expanse of hard clay fields of Western Massachusetts, I felt less stupid than I did the day before.”
Crack the crust tableside to reveal its mysterious contents; the delight will be palpable.
Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang announced yesterday that Hampshire alum Cyrée Jarelle Johnson 07F, currently a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellow and author of Slingshot (Nightboat, 2019), has been chosen as the Brooklyn Public Library's inaugural Poet-in-Residence!
Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang announced yesterday that Cyrée Jarelle Johnson, currently a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellow and author of Slingshot (Nightboat, 2019), has been chosen as the...
"My first interaction with Hampshire was through attending the Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CCLP) Conference with my high school program, the Sadie Nash Leadership Project. Now I am a Div III studying the role of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on reproductive health through a neuroscience and public health lens. I am currently doing a study on the effectiveness of support groups for survivors of childhood sexual assault.
“I was born and raised in Brooklyn, so Hampshire was the complete opposite of what I was used to. I didn’t believe that I could adjust to a community so unique compared to where I am from. However, that experience allowed me to see the beauty within Hampshire's community. Since then I have invested myself as a resident advisor for three years; a student group leader for the Culture, Brain, Development program; a member of the Budget and Priority Committee; a CLPP co-chair; a member of the Graduate Gift Challenge; and an Event-Related Potential Lab assistant. I’m a Gilman scholar and a recipient of several Hampshire grants.
“Hampshire has not only allowed me to become innovative and involved with my community, it has allowed me to meet some of the most important people in my life. My friends have created this idea of community for me during my time at Hampshire and represent the people who I want to show up for in the world. As my time at Hampshire wraps up over the next few weeks, I hope to attend graduate school, advancing my education in ACEs and reproductive health.” —Chynna Aming 17F
(note: group photos here were taken long before the Covid-19 pandemic)
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fifty years ago today, just after the inaugural convocation, which formally opened Hampshire College, the first annual Kite Fly took place on campus.
“In many ways, this event symbolized the College itself... the high hopes, youthful vigor, and joy of launching a new enterprise, the determination, strength, and upward-looking leadership needed to sustain it, the inevitable disappointments overcome by an abiding faith that it will soar to ever greater heights.”
Fifty years ago today, on an autumn day in a quiet inland valley of Western Massachusetts, a new experiment in higher education formally began. On October 3, 1970, poet, playwright, and essayist Archibald MacLeish delivered an address to open Hampshire College:
“Hampshire proposes—explicitly proposes—to accept for itself a responsibility for the restoration, for the maintenance, of the difficult balance between society and self. And in that acceptance it seems to me not only courageous but entirely right. . . .
“. . .as I think for myself of this all but impossible commitment, and as I look around at the faces of the men and women who have made it, I feel a surge of excited hope. In a time like ours, it is only the impossible commitments which are believable, for only the impossible commitments are now worth making. If the probabilities of the future overwhelm us there will be no future which men, as we have known men in the past, will wish to live. It is precisely the probabilities—even the certainties—that must change. And only education can perform that miracle.
“I think we may be present at a greater moment than we know.”
Read MacLeish's full address and more in “Reflections of an Inaugural Convocation”: http://hamp.it/1970
This Sunday, Nathan McClain, visiting assistant professor of creative writing and African American literary arts, will read as part of the 2020 Poetry at the Library Series.
One of your neighbors posted in Arts & Entertainment. Click through to read what they have to say. (The views expressed in this post are the author’s own.)
Fall colors are popping all over campus! Great shots by post office assistant Jim Patten. 🍁 🍃 🍂
Potter and alum Maya Machin 98F, is participating in the Hilltown 6 Pottery Tour this Saturday and Sunday. “Artistically, her pottery has an earthy, elemental style. Partly, that is due to the subject matter. She draws inspiration from the natural world — moons and grasses appear frequently — and from geometric concepts, which appear in many of her smaller pieces. It is also partly due to her firing technique, which intentionally causes imperfections and allows for processes to happen beyond her control.”
Maya Machin's pottery may be especially relevant to this year's Hilltown 6 Pottery Tour — and to 2020 as a whole. The Ashfield potter’s method of firing pieces in a wood-burning kiln is intended to derail her original vision for the piece, creating...
Hampshire's neighbor, Atkins Farm, in its rightful place, #1!
Not in town? You can order them online: https://www.atkinsfarms.com/online-store/bakery/cider-donuts-1-12-dozen/
Wondering where to find the best cider donuts in New England? Here are 5 favorite apple cider donut spots.
On September 17, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, in partnership with the Community Commons, hosted Hampshire’s first Community Education Day, part of the College’s new curricular model. The first event centered on this year’s Common Read, The New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project.”
On September 17, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (IDI), in partnership with the Community Commons, hosted Hampshire’s first Community Education Day. Overlapping with Advising Days, when classes are canceled so that students can meet with their advisers, Community Education Days...
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down in-person classes at the Little Roots studio in Florence, MA, where Hampshire alum Maggie Shar 99F and Annie Stevenson offer family-friendly music classes for children six months to six years, children from across the globe can now attend an online version of the program in the comfort of their own homes.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down in-person classes at the Little Roots studio in Florence, children from across the globe can now attend an online version of the Florence-based program in the comfort of their own homes.Little Roots — which...
Last week, in Assistant Professor of Art Serena Himmelfarb's class "The Generative Drift: Introduction to Alternative Studio," students experimented with colors by making egg tempera with a variety of pigments and creating ink with oak galls.
Last week, the Department of Education initiated a civil rights investigation into Princeton University in response to an open letter from Princeton's President Christopher Eisburger about the University's commitment to combating systemic racism.
Wesleyan University’s President, Michael Roth, and Amherst College’s President, Biddy Martin, have written the following statement regarding the Department of Education’s investigation of Princeton University surrounding racism and adherence to federal non-discrimination law. Hampshire College President Ed Wingenbach, with nearly 80 other college and university presidents, has signed on in support.
Last week, the Department of Education initiated a civil rights investigation into Princeton University in response to an open letter from Princeton's President Christopher Eisburger about the University's commitment to combating systemic racism. Wesleyan University’s President, Michael Roth, and ...
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Our students design their own path of study and recruit faculty to advise them and assess their work using written evaluations. “A grad school for undergrads.”