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Residential Programs

Defined Residential Community Programs

Defined Residential Communities (DRCs) are hallways within residence halls where students can live with others who share similar interests, backgrounds, and identities. Each of these communities was created by UMass Amherst students and they serve as living and learning environments that support personal growth and academic achievement.

These communities are not restricted by major, and are open to all sophomore, junior and senior students interested in the particular focus area. DRCs are an ideal choice for students who are looking for a dynamic, hands-on way to learn about the variety of cultures and lifestyles represented at UMass Amherst.

What to Expect
Students who live in the Defined Residential Communities have access to staff and faculty who work with them to build a solid community of peers. DRC residents can expect the following:

While all of the DRCs have their own established culture and personality, they are constantly growing and changing to fit the needs of the individual students who live there.

Interested in Applying?
The application to live in a 2015-2016 Defined Residential Community is currently closed.  If you have questions about the selection process or timeline, please contact Adam Ortiz at

Approved students will receive instructions from Student Services on how to reserve a space through the room selection process. If you have any questions about the selection process, contact Adam Ortiz at

Defined Residential Communities 2015-2016

nuanceNuance: Multicultural Student Community
Southwest Area

Nuance is designed for students who want to explore and bridge commonalities and differences across their diverse social identities, including race/ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class. Whether pursuing a program of study related to social justice or simply interested in dialogue and exploration of these issues, students will have opportunities to take classes together, engage in dialogues with each other, and connect with campus organizations and centers focused on social justice. Students will develop awareness, knowledge, and skills to collaboratively create an inclusive residential community.

aaaAsian/Asian American Student Community
Northeast Area

The Asian/Asian American DRC emphasizes the value of understanding the links between Asian and Asian American issues in an era of global migration, media and capital. Students in the community gather frequently to discuss issues of identity, leadership, belonging, and values. Professional staff and faculty in the Asian/Asian American DRC are highly visible and work closely with students to coordinate events and create strong friendships. The Asian/Asian American DRC also plans regular off-campus field trips focused on culture and community-building.

harambeeHarambee: African Heritage Student Community
Southwest Area

Harambee, Swahili for "the pulling together point" or "the point at which things come together", is a community that honors African and African American history and culture. This community is designed to support students who are of African descent, identify within the African Diaspora and/or wish to learn more about African culture and celebrate different African Diaspora cultures. In Harambee, students will have opportunities to share and learn from one another’s experiences and backgrounds while exploring both historical and contemporary African American issues. Students will participate in programming that explores the multiple facets of African American life and the option of taking classes linked to the community.

kanonhsesneKanonhsesne: Native American Student Community
Central Area

Kanonhsesne, [the place where we live], is a living learning environment that provides opportunities to pursue academic excellence, engage in developing a working knowledge of historical and contemporary Indigenous issues, and develop a sense of community for Native American students and their allies. Students make a commitment to engage in the programming and recommended courses to become more aware global citizens and allies to each other. Students have opportunities to participate in events such as the spring Campus Pow Wow, Indigenous Peoples Symposium, and Native American heritage month events.

2in20Spectrum: LGBTQA Community
Central Area

Spectrum: LGBTQ&A Community is a community that supports the rights and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer people, and their allies. Through programming and other in-hall initiatives, this community fosters connections between individuals with shared experiences and interests. The community also encourages students to learn about and actively seek ways to eradicate genderism and heterosexism. Resources available to the community include collaborations with The Stonewall Center and Pride Alliance.

wellnessWellness Community
Central Area
Orchard Hill Area

Students join this community for a variety of emotional, physical and spiritual reasons related to broad, holistic personal definitions of ‘Wellness’. All members of the Wellness Community agree to live in an alcohol- and drug-free environment that is supportive of individuals’ needs and differences. Respect is a key component of the Wellness Community. Wellness students work together to create safe, healthy, and inclusive communities. They participate in a shared living experience through educational programming, optional academic health and physical education courses, and community-building through collaboration and communication.

veteransVeterans Community
Sylvan Area

The Veterans Community is a community for students transitioning from military duty to university life. This community helps mitigate challenges associated with adjusting to campus, academic achievement and personal growth through intentional programming, resources and the development of a supportive, peer oriented living environment.

Living in Community