AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – 22News showed you how the return of UMass students affects local businesses. But how does it affect daily life around town?
UMass Amherst move-in day paints a familiar picture. Traffic jams and packed parking lots.
Business was booming in Amherst Center on Friday and the sidewalks were bustling with foot traffic. The town’s population nearly doubles once the students come back.
Members of the class of 2019 told 22News they’ll try and impact the community of Amherst in a positive way and work to change the university’s party school image.
“I think it’s shying away from the party school image a little bit,” said UMass sophomore Ian Dziewietin of Worcester. “There’s a lot of really good things about UMass. The academics are great, brand new buildings. Its a good place to be.”
The Southwest freshman dorms are just down the street from residential communities.
“Just driving through I was thinking about all the residential areas that are literally right off campus. The school itself really blends in with the community. I think there is a lot of good that can come from that and hopefully that’s what we see in the upcoming year,” said UMass freshaman Chris Kokoros.
Amherst resident Jerrey Blanchard told 22News the students make the area more vibrant.
“I think it adds a lot to the culture,” said Blanchard. “That’s the reason why there are so many restaurants and bookstores downtown. Without the students, they wouldn’t be here.”
Freshman move in continues through the weekend with 13,000 more students set to arrive on Sunday. As a result, University Drive is closed to both North and Southbound traffic to allow the students to move in.