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Orientation Activities

Orientation comprises various activities that you’ll participate in, which may include:


AudienceKeynote talk
To kick off orientation, we host a keynote speaker to engage the campus and local community in a discussion about relevant current affairs topics. We often invite the author of our common reading to give this talk. Past speakers include Tracy Kidder, Junot Diaz, Elaine Brown, and Kate Bornstein.

“Yes, No, Maybe So”

This is a powerful theater piece containing a series of vignettes that examine issues of sexual violence, communication, consent, and violence prevention on college campuses. It is written and performed by students from the Five Colleges.


Engaging with Intellectual Life
Students and faculty members will engage in dialogue about Hampshire academics and the Division I experience. Faculty members lead these small group information sessions and provide a space for students to ask questions and express concerns. Transfer students will attend sessions specifically about the transfer student experience.

Circle discussionCommon reading discussion
You’ve read the what did you think? This is your first opportunity to share your thoughts, opinions, and questions about the common reading with your new classmates and faculty. Tutorial professors will lead discussions for first-year students.

Film screening and discussion
The film screening is an optional event offered during one evening of Orientation. New students and their orientation leaders can watch a film--often a documentary--together and stay to discuss it. Every year we choose a new, up-and-coming film that we consider thought-provoking and relevant to the community’s diverse interests.

Interest Activity Day (Fall Orientation Only)

Whether you’re into whitewater rafting, stop-motion film-making, found art, or baking, Interest Day will give you a chance to branch out from your tutorial group and spend a day doing what you’re interested in with a new group of like-minded folks. A few months before you arrive on campus, you’ll be able to choose your Interest Day activity. These days are full of activities created entirely by orientation leaders, as well as some outdoor and athletic activities led by talented staff in Hampshire’s Outdoor Program in Recreation and Athletics (OPRA).

Examples of past interest day activities include:

Wandering Words and Syncretic Sounds
Create connections with new friends and explore your Hampshire home through an array of different kinds of poetry, words, narrative, and sound-making in various places on campus. We will discover the wonders of "blackout poetry," magnetic poetry, and explore the intersections between sound and language.

Costumes and Combat: Role-playing with Ridiculous Foam Swords
This activity will be filled with fake battles, theatrical role-playing, and capture the flag with a twist outdoors. We will be fighting with foam weapons and nerf guns, and will spend time creating our own characters, which can be whatever you want them to be! Feel free to bring your own costume, but we will also spend part of the day making props and small costume pieces. No sewing or role-playing experience necessary!

I Just Want to Go Whitewater Kayaking

If you want to learn to kayak, opportunity is knocking. Come join other beginning kayaking students for a day on Massachusetts’ scenic Deerfield River. We will focus on kayaking basics such as: turning over, paddle strokes, river navigation, ferries, peel-outs, and safety. If time permits, we’ll introduce the kayak roll. The focus of this trip will be on having fun, while making new friends and learning this challenging and amazing sport.

Top Chef: What Happens at Hampshire Will Be Delicious
As they do on the real Iron Chef, we will supply you with some basics: sugar, milk, eggs, flour, spices, some fruits, etc. Then you'll get our secret ingredients, and turn them into a creation of your own. As the food sizzles, we'll create cookbooks for the other team, and in-depth biographies of our team members. Secret judges will determine who will be... HAMPSHIRE'S TOP CHEFS. *Don't worry: Vegetarian, vegan, and other dietary restrictions will be accommodated.


COME PLAY FRISBEE AT HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE! It is an ultimate day for ultimate! Have a blast with training techniques, gaining comfort with throwing, discussing rules/strategy, and scrimmaging. All ability levels welcome.

Fun Activities


If you’re still raring to go after orientation activities, the orientation leaders provide various opportunities for you to further your introduction to Hampshire life.

These activities often take the form of introductions to Hampshire athletics; student group meet and greets; film screenings; and academic program information sessions.

Examples of optional activities include a Queer Spectrum Meet and Greet for queer people and allies to mingle; opportunities to make your own art for your dorm room; interactive tours of the community garden and other green spaces on campus; pick-up basketball games; and an opportunity to try the climbing wall.

Convocation (Fall Orientation Only)

Orientation ends with Convocation, an academic event marking the official beginning of the year. During this important event you’ll hear from the President and other important members of the College community.


Contact Us

Office of New Student Programs
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002

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