Fireworks to Kick Off New Academic Year at UMass Dartmouth

The 30-minute fireworks display will begin at 8:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Students will participate in a variety of welcome activities...

UMass Dartmouth will welcome its largest ever freshman class and largest ever 
contingent of residential students this weekend, culminating with a 30-minute 
fireworks display Monday night.

The fireworks, which will begin at 8:30 p.m., will follow post-dinner activities 
including a Coca-Cola-sponsored DJ and prize giveaways outside the new Woodland 
Commons building located at the center of the newest resident halls. From 7:30 
p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sodexho, the campus food service company, will serve refreshments 
to students at the courtyard behind the Woodland Commons residence halls.

The public is welcome to attend the fireworks and bring picnic dinner with 
them. The public is encouraged to watch the fireworks from the campus quadrangle 
near the bell tower. Parking for the public will be available in parking lots 
13 through 16. Traffic into the campus will be stopped at 8 p.m. for public 
safety reasons. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

A total of 1,486 first-year students are expected on campus this fall, representing 
a 16 percent increase over last year's 1,284 first-year enrollees. 
Over 90 percent of Massachusetts cities and towns and 25 different states are 
represented in the class of 2009.

With the opening of a new 800-bed housing complex, approximately 4,000 students 
will set up their home away from home on campus, up from 2,400 in 2001. Residential 
students now represent over 50 percent of the total undergraduate student body, 
up from 41 percent in 2001.

"UMass Dartmouth's faculty quality, research opportunities, 
comfortable size, and coastal location are attracting more students every year," 
Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack said. "And more than ever, these students 
are demanding a traditional campus experience in which their learning occurs 
not just in the classroom but through a myriad of campus activities."

Students will arrive at the residence halls on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. 
Classes begin Tuesday.

Other highlights of the academic year opening include:

  • The campus begins the year as the U.S. News & World Report's number one ranked public master's level institution in New England and its undergraduate engineering program has once again been ranked among the best of its kind
  • The overall student population, including graduate and continuing education students) is projected to be 8,850, up from 8,300 in 2004, a 7 percent increase.This positions UMass Dartmouth as the fastest growing campus in the UMass system and keeps it on track to reach 10,000 students by 2010.
  • The academic profile of the incoming freshman class continues to improve, with overall SAT scores for incoming freshman rising from 1065 last year to 1071 this year
  • 32 new faculty members have been hired
  • Thirteen classrooms have been upgraded with new teaching technology, bringing to 40 the number of classrooms that have been fully renovated over the last two years. In addition to improving the aesthetics of these learning environments, the renovations use the "greenest" technologies available to save energy
  • A dozen tennis courts, two basketball courts and a roller hockey rink have been added to the campus to expand recreational opportunities for students. 
  • This September, ground will be broken on a new $9 million, 20,000 square foot research building. The facility, which will house anti-bioterrorism research and other discovery activities, will be an important asset for the regional life science-based industries.
  • Due to the rapidly evolving connection between textile science, bio-technology,and advanced materials, the Textile Engineering Department has changed its name to the Textiles and Materials Department
  • Students will now be able to conduct nearly all of their university business online via COIN (Corsairs Online INformation).
  • Students, faculty and staff will find upgraded information technology that will improve web and email performance and include a redesigned university web page at http://www.umassd.edu
  • Responding to student desires for informal study and social gathering places the university has been renovating a number of areas including the Arts and Science Building atrium. This renovation includes the re-activation of fireplacesin the atrium
  • Less visible, but critical to the long-term preservation of campus facilities, are infrastructure projects focusing on saving energy costs and public safety, including a new energy efficient main steam line; new roofing for the Textile Building, Arts and Science Building, and the Residence Dining Hall; a new fire alarm system in the Arts and Science Building (Group I) and the Engineering Building (Group II); elevator repairs in Foster Administration, Arts and Science (Group I), Engineering (Group II), the Campus Center, and the Residence Dining Hall.

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