New and returning students, faculty, and staff reunite on campus
After three semesters of mostly remote learning and work, UMass Dartmouth recently welcomed back all students, faculty, and staff to campus for the fall semester.
On August 28, with the help of the UMassD football team, faculty and staff members, and their families, 900 first-year students moved into the new Balsam and Spruce residential halls that were officially opened in the fall of 2020 but were not fully occupied due to pandemic-related safety protocols. The university expects 2,600 students in total to live on campus this semester.
In total, the incoming Class of 2025 consists of 1,200 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from across the country and around the world. The undergraduate class is represented by 44% students of color and 52% first-generation students.
UMass Law welcomed its incoming class that saw the Commonwealth’s only public law school grow to more than 370 students, up from 186 in 2016. The new students, 33% of whom are students of color, boasted the highest median LSAT score and undergraduate GPA in institutional history. Coupled with a record number of applications, UMass Law continues an upward trajectory of academic quality.
After move-in, first-year students attended a multi-day Orientation that taught them about the university, introduced them to their fellow students, and gave them the ins and outs of college life. The university also hosted Sophomore Rewind, which gave second-year students an Orientation experience to help smooth their transition to campus since many spent their first year at UMassD learning virtually. Orientation culminated in a long-time UMassD tradition – the Corsair Olympics. Participants split up into teams based on their residence halls (including a commuter student team) and engaged in competitions ranging from board games to Tug of War.
The academic year officially began with New Student Convocation on August 31, where new students heard encouraging words and advice from university leadership at the beginning of their higher education journey.
Addressing the assembled students, Chancellor Mark Fuller said “I talk a lot about what UMass Dartmouth can bring to you. A quality education. A diverse and dynamic community. Opportunity for the future. But today, what I’m most grateful for is what you bring to us. Your energy and ideas, your diverse experiences and perspectives, your eagerness to learn, grow, and make a difference. Know that we believe in you, and everyone on this campus is dedicated to your success.”
Students also heard from their peers during the This We Believe essay contest which featured three students sharing their personal belief statements.
On September 1, students began their first day of classes of the fall semester and continue to pursue their educational, professional, and personal ambitions.
While the university is excited to have the Corsair family together again in person for living and learning experiences, there are still important safety protocols in place to protect the health of the community. UMass Dartmouth has required COVID-19 vaccinations for all students and employees who will physically come to campus. In addition, the university is temporarily requiring all faculty, staff, and students to wear masks in public areas indoors on campus despite their vaccinated status.