the top ten things about div I — number seven!

Written by summer orientation assistant ilia Silverman-Esrig 11F

Greetings, folks! We in the Office of New Student Programs are eagerly anticipating your arrival at Hampshire, as I’m sure you are as well. To start the celebration of your impending arrival, we’ll be counting down the Top Ten Greatest Things about being a Divison I student throughout the summer. We started the countdown with #10#9, and #8 and are continuing on to #7!

#7: Unlimited Food in the Dining Commons

BAFeeling hungry? The Dining Commons has all sorts of meal options to satiate you! As a student living in the dorms, you are enrolled in an unlimited meal plan, meaning that you can eat in the dining hall as many times a day/week as you’d like. Not living in the dorms? Never fear! There are voluntary meal plans for you to take part in if you’d like to enjoy what the Dining Commons has to offer as well. Whether you eat everything and anything under the sun, are gluten-free, or have other dietary needs, there will always be something for you to eat.

The menu changes daily for each meal. You can expect to always have at least two or more hot entrée options, an extensive salad bar with ample veggies and more, a fresh deli bar, plenty of desserts to choose from, fruit, and fairly often, a chef on duty to cook to order for you! Do you have a class scheduled during a mealtime? Does your sports team need to eat while on the road to your next big game? The Dining Commons offers a packed-meal service for students who can’t make it to regular eating hours as well as lunch passes for students who take courses on other college campuses and need to eat at those locations. All you have to do is ask! One of the perks of having an unlimited meal plan is that if you’re on campus and don’t have time to spend in the Dining Commons, you can head over to the Bridge Café for a meal swap instead. With the meal swap, you can get a full meal and not have to pay additional money for it – it’ll just be treated like a meal you took in the Commons! Either way, each student has $155 in Bridge Café money per semester on their One Cards, so you’ll always have access to food there.

During my first year, it was tradition for my hallmates and me to all go to the Dining Commons for Saturday brunch in our pajamas. I remember how excited we always were to make waffles with the waffle iron, drink local chocolate milk, and eat all the hash browns we possibly could. During the week, we’d swing by the Bridge for sushi and a quick game of pool before heading to the library. I loved making traditions like these with my friends — it made dining at Hampshire an even tastier experience!

Have additional questions about dining at Hampshire? Check out our food provider’s website here:

the top ten things about div I — number eight!

Written by summer orientation assistant ilia Silverman-Esrig 11F

Greetings, folks! We in the Office of New Student Programs are eagerly anticipating your arrival at Hampshire, as I’m sure you are as well. To start the celebration of your impending arrival, we’ll be counting down the Top Ten Greatest Things about being a Divison I student throughout the summer. We started the countdown with #10 and #9, and are continuing on to #8!

Screen shot 2015-07-21 at 2.02.47 PM#8: Get Close With Your Tutorial Class Members (And Your Professors, Too)!

Getting excited about which courses you’ll take during your first year? There are so many great options! As we mentioned in the last blog post, you’ll have to choose at least one course in four out of the five different academic distributions, but don’t stress about making that all happen within your first semester – you’ve got all year to meet this requirement. What you will take in your first semester is your tutorial course, your preferences for which you ranked earlier this month in the course preference form. What is a tutorial course? Why is it important? Tutorials are 100-level courses that are designed specifically for you – the entering student – and are meant to help acclimate you to the academic structure at Hampshire. There are tutorial courses offered in each of the different schools within Hampshire, so you’ll be able to study something that interests you while learning all sorts of other great information about Hampshire’s academic program.

Your tutorial course consists of a small group of students and your professor, who also serves as your academic advisor for your first year at Hampshire. Once you’ve received your tutorial assignment in August, don’t be afraid to get in contact with your advisor. They’re here to help give you direction with course selection for the following semester and to answer any questions or concerns you may have about eventually transitioning to Division II (but that’s not for quite some time, so don’t worry too much about that!). Your tutorial advisor can be a wealth of knowledge for helping you network with other professors who could end up being helpful to you further down the road. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet your tutorial professor during orientation on Friday, September 4. Curious about which other students will be in your tutorial class? Well, you’re in luck – during orientation, groups are formed based on your tutorial, meaning you’ll have the chance to spend a whole week with your fellow classmates before classes even start!

Have questions? Need more information? Email us at We’re happy to help!

the top ten things about div I — number nine!

Written by summer orientation assistant ilia Silverman-Esrig 11F

Greetings, folks! We in the Office of New Student Programs are eagerly anticipating your arrival at Hampshire, as I’m sure you are as well. To start the celebration of your impending arrival, we’ll be counting down the Top Ten Greatest Things about being a Divison I student throughout the summer. We started the countdown with #10 in June, and are continuing on to #9!

#9: Study Anything & Everything During Your First Year!

IMG_6516Hampshire requires you to take at least one course in four out of the five different academic distributions during your first year here (including your tutorial – more on that in a future post!), but what classes you end up taking are completely up to you! Our academic system encourages you to try out new subjects based on what sparks your interest, not based on what anyone else thinks is important for you to learn – meaning that you don’t have to take a history course, for example, if that’s not your thing. Instead, choose a variety of courses from at least four out of five of these distributions*:

  • Arts, Design, and Media (Sculpture, Photography, or Teaching Art to Children, for example)
  • Culture, Humanities, and Languages (Sex, Science, and the Victorian Body, or Global Poverty: Theories and Practices, for example)
  • Mind, Brain, and Information (The Social Psychology of Building Peace in the Context of Violent Intergroup Conflict or Computer Animation, for example)
  • Physical and Biological Sciences (Animal Behavior Theory or Natural History of Infectious Disease, for example)
  • Power, Community, and Social Justice (Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Latin America or Making and Unmaking the School to Prison Pipeline, or example)

Mix and match all sorts of courses to make the schedule that fits your passions the best. If you’re curious about something that you’ve never studied before, use the Division I academic structure to explore it further! Who knows, that class you take on the modern Middle East could completely shift your learning path in a whole new and exciting direction.

Before my first year at Hampshire, I had never taken a visual arts class before. Despite this, I decided to sign up for an Introduction to Sculpting class anyway – and to this day I’m still glad that I did! That sculpting course inspired me to re-envision the ways in which meaningful learning could take place in my life and allowed me to go beyond the so-called limits of my imagination. My entire academic path shifted after taking this course; because I was encouraged to explore different areas of learning instead of only sticking to what I thought I wanted to do, I was able to find a path that suited me best. All in all, the distribution requirement really allows you to check out topics you wouldn’t ordinarily explore – so take advantage of it!

Have questions? Need more information? Email us at We’re happy to help!


what’s the deal with work study?

What’s the deal with work study?

Great question. We’re glad you asked!

If you’re an incoming student with a work study award as part of your financial aid package, you’re probably wondering how (and when) to get started on the process of securing work study employment on or off campus. All work study-eligible students will meet with the Student Employment Coordinator, Janel R. Johnson on opening day and during orientation to review information about securing a work study position. But if you can’t wait to start thinking about employment opportunities, here are a few tips and FAQs to help you get started before you arrive!

Where can I view the available work study positions?
Available on and off campus work study positions are listed on the student employment intranet site, and will be updated more fully in mid-to-late August. These listings are as current as possible for this moment, but will certainly be updated as we move towards the semester. To get a sense of what’s available, you can browse the following sites. (Note: you will need your HampNet username and password to log on to the Intranet.)

On Campus Work Study Listings
Off Campus Work Study Listings

When can I begin contacting potential employers?
The student employment office generally recommends that students wait until mid-August to begin contacting campus offices. Many Hampshire offices are closed during the summer, while others operate with limited staffing, so you’re more likely to get in touch with offices once their full staffs have returned for the start of the fall semester (which generally happens around August 1). We’ve heard some stories about students contacting offices sooner than this and having success in doing so, but most offices don’t expect to hear from you until mid August.

How should I contact potential employers?
Once you’ve identified potential opportunities in which you’re interested, you can begin contacting these offices to express your interest, see if the position is still available, and schedule an interview for early in the semester. Email is preferred by most offices, as it is easier to keep track of communication, potential candidates, and interview scheduling. Some listings will indicate how best to contact the office, so feel free to use this as a guide. If you cannot find contact information on a listing, feel free to contact the student employment office for more information.

How many positions should I pursue?
The student employment office suggests that students pick seven positions of interest, you should apply to at least one off campus work study position too. Many students have a work study awards as part of their financial aid package, and the more opportunities you pursue, the more likely you are to secure a position.

Are there any forms that I need to fill out?
Once you have interviewed and acquired a job, you will need to fill out a work contract, I-9, W4 and M4 tax forms before you will be able to be paid for your work. You can obtain the work contract through either the employer or the student employment offices. All work study-eligible students are required to attend the student employment meeting, which takes place on Tuesday, September 8, at which point you’ll fill out your tax forms and learn more about policies and procedures for student employment. It is very important NOT to fill out the tax forms before you come to campus. These are date sensitive and can not be accepted if dated before the student employment meeting during orientation. More information about this meeting will be available in the new student orientation schedule. Please note that you’ll need to have two forms of identification with you in the form of 1) a current passport, a social security card, or a certified birth certificate, and 2) either your Hampshire ID or a driver’s license. Please keep this in mind when packing for Hampshire!

Where can I find more information?
Visit the student employment office page on the Intranet for lots of great links, including information on contracts and a list of FAQs. Janel Johnson, the student employment coordinator, will return to the office in mid-August, but you can certainly send her an email, and she will respond within the business week, You can also contact Financial Aid 413.559.5484 with any pressing questions. They’re happy to help.

Still have questions? Curious about anything new student related? Feel free to contact us at We’d love to hear from you!

the top ten things about div I — number ten!

Written by summer orientation assistant ilia Silverman-Esrig 11F

Greetings, folks! We in the New Student Programs office are eagerly anticipating your arrival at Hampshire, as I’m sure you are as well. To start the celebration of your impending arrival, we’ll be counting down the Top Ten Greatest Things about being a Divison I student throughout the summer. Keep your eyes peeled during the coming months as we go from #10 to #1!

#10: Deluxe Dorm Accommodations!

IMG_6488Some of the most important and meaningful conversations you can have take place outside of the classroom, and where better to be a part of these discussions than in your very own dorm? Both Dakin and Merrill have lounges on every hall, each with chalkboard walls for brainstorming and creating, a refrigerator, couches, and a TV. Some even have balconies on them depending on what floor they’re on! Your lounge is a great space for new ideas to blossom in as you hang out and chat with your friends at any time of day or night. When you’re ready to retire, you can head back to your room, complete with furniture that offers flexibility in how it’s arranged so you can truly make your space your own!

Some halls in Dakin have one double (some only have singles!), while each floor in Merrill has two (one on the long hall, one on the short). Approximately two thirds of the incoming class will end up in single rooms, but it’s important to clarify your preferences about your lifestyle and habits on your housing preference form (due by July 1) so if you are placed in a double we can make sure to find you the right roommate match. You can also indicate your preferences for noise level, substance-free housing or not, single vs. multi-gender halls, and, if you’re a transfer student, an international student, a video game enthusiast, queer friendly, study intensive, or a student of color, you can specify that you’d prefer to live on a hall with folks who share those preferences as well!

Another super exciting housing preference worth considering is whether or not you’d like to live in one of Hampshire’s Living & Learning Communities (LLC). To be apart of an LLC, you’ll have to indicate it on your housing preference form and fill out an application as well (also due July 1).  LLCs foster community engagement in a really unique way – you get a chance to live among folks who share a particular common interest or passion around all sorts of subjects. This coming year, there are six different LLCs:

  • Body, Brain, and Culture
  • Community Engagement for Social Change
  • Environmental Justice and Sustainability
  • Looking/Reading/Writing
  • Social Justice
  • Wellness

You can learn more about these communities at

No matter where you end up living your first year, it’s bound to be an adventure. Make sure to take advantage of all that Residence Life and Housing has to offer you!

Have questions? Need more information? Email us at We’re happy to help!

understanding the cel-1 requirement

CEL1If you’ve begun your advising questionnaire on TheHub, you’ve likely encountered a question about what types of campus service learning activities you’d be interested in during your first year at Hampshire. In addition to the seven courses you must complete in Division I, all first-year students are also asked to fulfill the Campus Engaged Learning requirement, affectionately referred to as CEL-1, in order to pass Division I and move on to Division II. You cannot sign up for CEL-1 activities until after you’ve arrived on campus, but for those of you who can’t wait to learn more, read on for lots of great information!

What is CEL-1?
CEL-1 is a Division I requirement that asks you to engage in 40 hours of collaborative work/projects/learning outside of the traditional classroom during your first year. CEL-1 activities thus take place on campus and/or enhance campus life. With an emphasis on mindful participation, documentation and reflection, CEL-1 activities provoke observations about the meaning of community and the relationship between your coursework and your other pursuits. The requirement allows you to weave together multiple experiences (i.e. you can complete more than one CEL-1 activity!) throughout the year that build a dynamic, comprehensive Division I experience.

How does it work?
CEL-1 activities are offered by the Hampshire community and take on several different forms. Each activity is sponsored by someone on campus. Sponsors include the array of community members on campus, including campus program staff, Hampshire faculty, Division II and III students and student group leaders.  You are welcome to craft your own CEL-1 activity, provided that it meets the guidelines and has a sponsor who is not a Division I student. You’ll be asked to document this work as you go so that you’re better equipped to write about it in your final Division I Portfolio and Retrospective Essay. Documentation can take many forms as well: journal entries, photography, collection of materials, video, artwork, etc.

What counts?
Past CEL-1 activities run the gamut of experiences, including various arts-based projects, design/build work, outdoor adventure and leadership, food/farm/sustainability initiatives, identity-based groups, student-run courses, social justice organizing, event planning, and so so much more! Membership in an recognized student group, completion of an Outdoors Program/Recreational Athletics (OPRA) course, and completion of an Experimental Program in Education & Community (EPEC) course can all count towards your CEL-1 hours, so there are countless ways for you to complete the requirement.

How should I begin?
Your tutorial advisor will help you discuss and decide on an appropriate CEL-1 activity, but  you are welcome to start brainstorming and getting involved in projects as soon as you arrive on campus and the semester begins! The CEL-1 website will guide you through completion of the CEL-1 process, and will provide an overview of the available activities once classes start. This website is where sponsors upload information about activities they are offering, and where Division I students can learn more details, browse opportunities, and register for activities. To browse available opportunities from last year (and get a sense of what you might be interested in), click ‘Old/Past’ in the Status toolbar on the Browse tab of the site.

When should I begin?
Because this is campus-based engagement, the expectation is for you to get here and familiarize yourself with the opportunities available to you. You will be updated about the CEL-1 process during and after orientation, and will be asked to sign up for activities after you’ve arrived on campus. You’ll be advised to begin this process early in your Division I, and will receive lots more information after classes begin.

Where can I find more information?
You’ll be receiving more information during orientation and after you arrive, but in the meantime, you can read more about the requirement on the CEL-1 website and the Center for Academic Support and Advising’s CEL-1 page. Have a burning question that can’t wait? E-mail for more information. They’re happy to help!

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us at with any questions about new student orientation, your arrival, or your first year at Hampshire. We’d love to hear from you.

people you should know: ilia silverman-esrig!

IliaHello dear ones! My name is ilia Silverman-Esrig, and I’m the Summer Orientation Assistant for New Student Programs. Although I grew up in Rockville, Maryland, I’ve spent the last four years here in the Pioneer Valley and just two weeks ago graduated from Hampshire. It’s wild to think that my undergraduate career came and went so quickly – I still remember my first day of college like it was yesterday. I remember how excited I was to decorate my dorm room with posters, lights, and more, all of which in one way or another represented both where I came from –- my past — and where I’d be headed – my future — for the rest of my time at Hampshire. I remember how nervous I initially was to introduce myself to my hallmates, how amazed I was at their apparent confidence, and how relieved I was to find out that actually, they were just as uncertain as I was.

My first months at Hampshire were an unbelievable opportunity to try my hand at anything and everything I could potentially be passionate about. In my first year alone I took a course on Palestine and Israel, Intro to Sculpting, a World Religions class, a Psychology course, Linguistics, and even an Ecology class! Having the chance to test out so many different areas of study really helped me to figure out what I was (or wasn’t) interested in. I was also able to begin the process of building my own micro-community of artists, creators, and activists – people who were curious about the world they lived in and who were inspired to make change in new and meaningful ways. I found these friends not just in my classes but in the student groups I took part in as well, from the Jewish Student Union to Sexperts (our on campus sexuality & sexual health group). I even found community in my work-study jobs in the Spiritual Life office, as a desk monitor in the Robert Crown Center, and as an orientation leader and coordinator for incoming students!

Everything that I did and everyone that I came to know while I was at Hampshire genuinely will inform everything that I’ll do in the future. My Division III, which turned out to be a three part process, was a chance for me to really put into action all of the theory I had learned previously. I created a curriculum for a workshop series that was built on the use of creative expression as a means of self exploration, understanding, healing, and embodiment; I then facilitated this six month long series with a group of womyn right here on campus. Hampshire’s unique academic structure allowed me to do this and curate an interactive gallery space that showcased these womyn’s creative works, all while writing and compiling a facilitation guide for this work that others can use. I was able to engage in a process that truly reflects the work I want to do in the future – work that is community engaged, creative, and empowering.

After four years at Hampshire, I can confidently say that I got everything out of this college that I wanted to – because I was encouraged to give my all and be present in all that I did. It sounds cheesy, but Hampshire is a place that truly changes lives – I hope you’ll take advantage of all it has to offer once you arrive.

Don’t hesitate to contact me at if you’ve got questions or want to chat – I’m excited and happy to connect. Welcome!

-ilia, 11F

welcome to the newtohamp blog!

photoOn behalf of the office of new student programs at Hampshire College, we’d like to welcome you to the newtohamp blog. Here you’ll find updates on academic requirements, events sponsored by the office of new student programs, tips from current students on navigating your first year at Hampshire, and posts by guest bloggers on all things new students. We don’t want you to miss a thing!

Can’t make it to one of our programs? Check back here for a post-event report with information on what you missed and how to get in touch with presenters. Looking for advice from current students? We’ll have current students posting their best pieces of wisdom from their first year experiences. Have questions, but don’t know who to ask? We’ll cover that too, by introducing the individuals that can help you to make the most of your first year at Hampshire.

Stay tuned!

win this week’s care package!

Care Package FrontIt’s finally here, friends. It’s time for the last CARE PACKAGE question of the semester!

All first and second semester students are eligible to win – just post an answer to the following question before 11:59 p.m. TONIGHT to be included in the drawing for this week’s care package. The winner will be chosen randomly from all of the respondents tomorrow morning. Here goes:

If you could thank one person for helping you through your first year (or semester) at Hampshire, who would you choose?

effective oral presentations

Effective Oral PresentationsHave an oral presentation assigned as part of a final project? Looking to improve your public speaking and learn how to better use visual aids? On Tuesday, April 7, Transformative Speaking Peer Mentors Quin and Ben presented a special workshop on how to prepare for oral presentations, utilize visual aids, and maximize the impact of public speaking. Couldn’t make it? Wondering what you missed? Read on for more information.

What Happened:
While participants enjoyed some delicious snacks, Quin and Ben engaged the audience in an activity designed to help them get their ideas about upcoming presentations out in an informal way. Participants pair-shared with one in another in a speaking version of free-writing, identifying how they wanted to narrate their presentations and talking things out. Participants were then asked to write down the ideas that came out in sharing as a starting point for their preparation, and were urged to begin formalizing their thoughts and determining how they would go about giving the presentation. Quin and Ben went on to discuss the use of visual aids, especially Powerpoint, displaying and critiquing sample slides and discussing best practices.

What We Learned:

  • Giving an oral presentation is NOT the same thing as reading a paper aloud. Your presentation should be treated as a separate event in terms of how you prepare, what content you include, and your overall approach. Think critically about what you want the audience to take away and make sure that the pieces you include are serving your end goal.
  • Visual aids, especially Powerpoint, should play a supporting role in your presentation. Trying to use Powerpoint as a timer or as a place for notes is generally unsuccessful, and can be a detriment to your presentation. Pay attention to your titles, images, and the amount of text you use. If the text you plan to use is more than four lines, it might be too much for the viewer to digest. Have a limited amount of time? Make sure to budget time for film clips and other slide transitions!
  • Make sure to take technological constraints into consideration. Is your computer charged? Do you need an adapter? Are you sure that the projector is functional? To prevent any surprises, consider testing your Powerpoint in the room in which you’ll be presenting beforehand.
  • Practice (and not just the night before)! Consider filming yourself, presenting for friends, or practicing your talk in the mirror. The more familiar you are with your material, the less likely you are to struggle with it in front of an audience.
  • Presenters also shared a super helpful handout on using Powerpoint. Find it here!

Get In Touch:
Want to connect with the Transformative Speaking Peer Mentors? Check out the Transformative Speaking Program website for information, and like their Facebook page for details on office hours at the InfoBar. You can also join their Moodle page for lots of great tips on a variety of different speaking topics.

Have questions? Need more information? Contact us at We’re happy to help!