AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Colleges and universities around the region are welcoming back students for the Fall 2022 semester, and Thursday will be a busy day at the state’s flagship campus.

This year, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is welcoming its second-largest freshman class ever. In all, some 5,500 students are expected to arrive on campus Thursday. The Class of 2026 is officially the most diverse in history for UMass, with 36% of students identifying as African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, or Native American.

Students were turned into ‘Minute Movers’ heading to their designated posts to help freshman students settle in to the dorms.

“I have shift from 7 to 11 this morning, then tomorrow from 10:30 to 2:30. Make sure everything gets up to the room and don’t break anything,” said Ben Englander, a UMass Amherst Sophomore.

“Nervous, but very excited. Very happy that the restrictions are gone and I can have a somewhat normal freshman year,” said Freshman Julie Dolan. Julie and her family made the trip from Hansen, Massachusetts.

According UMass, students must show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test before arriving on campus.
There will be no weekly testing requirements and masks will only be required in health-related campus facilities. The limited COVID-19 restrictions is not the only thing Julie is looking forward to this year.

“The campus food, definitely! Number one dining,” said Julie.

Move-in was a seamless process, parents and students parking in front of the dorms then moving crews took over from there.

Freshman Maggie Yore told 22News, “It’s so easy. We just pulled up and their moving our stuff in for us.” Maggie is from Medford and was eager to get settled and ready for her first year at UMass Amherst, “I’m so excited. My sister is a senior year, so I’m pretty familiar.”

There are just over 1,000 transfer students incoming, adding up to a total enrollment of 22,900 students; 155 more students than last year.

The check-in window for students opens at 8 a.m. on Thursday, and lasts through 4 p.m. If you need to run errands through the Amherst area, plan accordingly for traffic. It’s well-known within the community that ‘Move in day’ at U-Mass is a busy day on the road but the university made sure to remind everyone with signage along Route 9.