Friday, February 12, 2016

Five Colleges 50th Anniversary



With the add-drop period now over, it is that time in the semester when everyone settles into their final course schedules. Whether you are staying on the Mount Holyoke campus this semester or venturing out into our neighboring colleges, you may be interested to know that the 2015-2016 year is the 50th anniversary of the Five College Consortium! In honor of this occasion, I invite you to take a look at how this five college community developed into what we know today.

Pictured above is the secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts presenting the charter for Hampshire
 College in the presence of the Presidents of Mount Holyoke, Amherst, UMass, and Smith colleges.


Although the Five College Consortium was not officially established until 1966 when Hampshire College joined with Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and UMass colleges, collaboration between the four original colleges started many years before. Joint faculty and academic departments were some of the beginning stages in establishing a community between the original four colleges. Eventually, their collaborations led to the founding and incorporation of the fifth college, Hampshire College.

Four colleges van transport. ca. 1961
Five Colleges bus system before 
arranging five college routes with PVTA
With the inclusion of Hampshire College and the official establishment of the Five College Consortium, the interaction between the colleges increased greatly, such as with the introduction of student cross registration between all five colleges. Consequently, the need for efficient transportation was more necessary than ever. Before Hampshire joined, the original four colleges used inter-campus transportation vans to provide students with the opportunity to visit the other colleges. However, after the consortium was established, the need for more effective transportation ended the original four college van service and was replaced with the five college bus system. Finally, in 1979, Five Colleges arranged transport services with the PVTA instead, which continues today.

Students attending a dance. ca. 1960-1969
Other developments to the Five College Consortium over the years include a range of departmental and extracurricular advancements made to integrate all five colleges and to provide further resources and opportunities for members of the Five College community. For instance, the Five College Dance Department, Astronomy Department, Foreign Language Resource Center, and Women's Studies Resource Center are all examples of departments that that have evolved as a result of this collaboration in the last fifty years. Clubs, extracurricular organizations, and college events are also often open to all five colleges, creating both academic and social communities between the colleges.

Today, the Five College Consortium offers each of these developments to its community in addition to to the benefits that come with combined access to all that these colleges have to offer, whether it be the libraries, museums, performances, department resources, or the network of students and faculty. Thanks to the work put into creating this consortium, those who wish to take advantage of the resources of all five colleges have the opportunity that otherwise would not have been possible.


Brittnee Worthy is a student Archives Assistant in Archives and Special Collections. 

All photographs are from the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections. To learn more about the five colleges or to explore other areas of interest visit the Archives in the Basement of Dwight!


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