Family Orientation |
Student painting on the farm

Family Orientation

For information about Opening Day and move-in, click here.


Friday, September 2

Family Orientation is an optional, in-depth series of workshops, panels, and informational events designed to give families a deeper understanding of Hampshire College and its resources.

Registration is $45, and goes to offset basic costs of catering and materials. Online registration is now closed, but walk-in registration will be available.


Schedule (subject to change):

8:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Harold F. Johnson Library, lower level
Don't miss Hampshire-imprinted clothing and gifts.

8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Kern Kafé
R.W. Kern Center, first floor
Stop by and pick up one of our delicious made-from-scratch blondies, breakfast pastries, soft pretzels, cookies, or salads. Thirsty? We have an espresso, latte, or daily-drip brew (hot or cold) just for you!

8:30-11:30 a.m.

Franklin Patterson Hall, Lobby
Pick up name tags.

8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Family Lounge
Franklin Patterson Hall, Faculty Lounge
At any time families can take a break, enjoy light refreshments, relax, check email, read Hampshire publications, or talk with staff and students.

9:00-9:45 a.m.

R.W. Kern Center Tour
R.W. Kern Center, Lobby
Constructed to the rigorous standards of the Living Building Challenge, the Kern is a statement of Hampshire values. Learn how its net-zero, self-contained systems work and hear about the process of sourcing sustainable, local materials.

9:00-9:45 a.m.

Division I: Creating a Strong Academic Foundation
Franklin Patterson Hall, Main Lecture Hall
What is Division I? How is an individualized academic program created by a student and supported by an adviser? What does the journey to academic success look like? Discover how students create their own programs of study from the people who provide support and guidance throughout the first year.

  • Tripp Johnson 12F, humanities intern
  • Sura Levine, dean of humanities, arts, and cultural studies and professor of art history
  • Laura Melbin, assistant dean of advising
  • Bobbie Stuart, director of central records

Academic Panel: Focus on Transfer Students
Franklin Patterson Hall, East Lecture Hall
Families of transfer students have their own set of questions and concerns: What is a Division II committee and how does a student get one? How do students transition to Hampshire’s academic style? What are the requirements? Academic support staff will talk about how they assist transfer students in moving along the Divisional path and help families understand everything from evaluations to graduation.

  • Anne Downes, senior associate dean of advising
  • Alana Godner-Abravanel 14F
  • Rachael Graham, associate director of central records
  • Tim Zimmerman, visiting assistant professor of cognition and education

9:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

New Student Orientation: Group Activities and Common Reading Discussion with Faculty
New students participate in activities to introduce them to the College, and then participate in a discussion of the year’s common reading.

10:00-11:30 a.m. 

Farm Center Tour
Meet at Franklin Patterson Hall, at the Torrey Courtyard
How does the Farm Center operate? How do students use the farm in their academic programs? How can students join its CSA? Meet the farm staff and see the vegetable fields, barns, greenhouses, and pastured livestock that make up this vital part of the Hampshire community. Farm-friendly footwear is encouraged.

10-11 a.m.

Separation and Transition Workshop
Franklin Patterson Hall, Main Lecture Hall
What can you expect during the student transition to Hampshire? What transitions are common to all families and what else might occur? No matter what stage you’re in, come reflect and laugh with the professionals from our counseling services as they help you prepare for this next phase of your student’s life, and yours.

  • Sara Aierstuck, director of health and counseling services
  • Eliza McArdle, director of counseling services

11:00-11:45 a.m. 

The New Student Experience
Franklin Patterson Hall, Main Lecture Hall
What happens outside the classroom? How are students supported in their adjustment to the residence halls? What opportunities do students have to build community and to get involved with classmates with similar interests? How will students find out about all of this? Staff on the front lines will answer these questions (and more) as they give you a sense of what to expect in your student’s first year.

Moderator: Jessica Ortiz, director of new student programs

  • Andrea Cadyma, associate dean of students and director of residence life
  • Gretchen LaBonte, assistant dean of students and director of campus leadership and activities
  • Byron McCrae, vice president for student affairs and dean of students


11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Family Orientation Lunch
Franklin Patterson Hall, Faculty Lounge
Pick up your bagged lunch prepared by Bon Appétit and enjoy it with new friends. There will be listing of indoor places to eat around campus or you can simply sit on the grass anywhere you choose. Note: Students will be participating in common reading discussions with faculty at this time.

1-2 p.m. 

Student and Family Resource Fair
Longsworth Arts Village, under the solar canopy
Where can students get involved? In what sports can a student participate? What on-campus activities, resources, and programs are available? Students and families can explore offices and meet staff from around the campus.

  • Alumni and Family Relations
  • Campus Leadership and Activities (CLA)
  • Campus Police
  • Career Options Resource Center (CORC)
  • Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA)
  • Center for Feminisms/Queer Community Alliance Services (QCA)
  • Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP)
  • Community Partnerships for Social Change (CPSC)
  • Entrepreneurship Program
  • Critical Studies of Childhood, Youth, and Learning (CYL)
  • Culture, Brain, and Development (CBD)
  • Farm Center
  • Global Education Office (GEO)
  • Hampshire Fund
  • Harold F. Johnson Library
  • Health and Counseling Services
  • Housing Operations Office (HOO)
  • Institute for Science and Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Library Media Lab
  • Lebrón-Wiggins-Pran Cultural Center
  • Media Services
  • New Student Programs
  • Outdoor Programs, Recreations, and Athletics (OPRA)
  • Office of Accessibility Resources and Services (OARS)
  • Spiritual Life

2-5 p.m.

New Student Orientation
New students participate in a conversation, facilitated by a member of the faculty, about academics at Hampshire, including an overview of Division I. Transfer students will attend sessions specifically geared to their experience.

2:15-3:00 p.m.

Community Engaged Learning
Franklin Patterson Hall, East Lecture Hall
Community engaged learning is a key part of a Hampshire education. All students complete at least two community-engaged learning activities during their time at the College. In our community, this engagement takes many forms and  provides opportunities for students to bring new and diverse perspectives into their education. During this session, we discuss the central role community engagement and experiential learning play in Hampshire’s academic model, with a focus on resources available to first-year students.

Moderator: Mary Bombardier, assistant director of community engagement and director of community partnerships for social change

  • Mateo Medina 09F, program coordinator of the civil liberties and public policy program
  • Beth Mattison 84F, assistant director of the critical studies of childhood, youth, and learning program

Learning, Researching, and Creating
Harold F. Johnson Library, Airport Lounge
What do students do when they’ve got a research paper, project, film, or other academic project due? How do students interact with source materials and create original content? Meet the professionals who help them with research and media production, using a wide variety of technologies and resources.

  • Rachel Beckwith, arts and access librarian
  • John Bruner 94F, new media production technician
  • John Gunther 84F P02, manager for advanced media
  • Amy Halliday, gallery director
  • Suzanne Karanikis, circulation supervisor
  • Jennifer Gunter King, director of the library
  • Alana Kumbier, critical social inquiry and digital pedagogy librarian
  • Heather McCann, interdisciplinary science librarian
  • Bonnie Vigeland P96 P09, humanities and film librarian
  • Neil Young 94F, manager of media services

3:15-4:00 p.m. 

Student Accounts, Financial Aid, and Work-Study Panel
Franklin Patterson Hall, East Lecture Hall
How do ID cards work? What jobs are available on campus? Does your student have to apply for financial aid again next year? Hear from the staff of student financial services about what you should know to make paying bills and securing financial aid easier.

  • Jillian Brown, bursar
  • Janel Johnson, student employment coordinator
  • Jennifer Lawton, director of financial aid

5-7 p.m. 

Families can eat in the dining hall (pick up meal passes in the Family Lounge) or take their students off campus.

Stay In Touch
With Alumni and Family Relations
Snail Mail
Alumni and Family Relations
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Phone + Email
Fax: 413.559.6054