Five College Consortium

The Five College Consortium comprises four liberal arts colleges and one university in the Connecticut River Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts: Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[1] totaling approximately 38,000 students. They are geographically close to one another and are linked by frequent bus service which operates between the campuses during the school year.[2]

The consortium was formally established in 1965, but its roots lay in cooperative efforts between the oldest four members of the consortium dating back to 1914.[3]


In 1914, Massachusetts Agricultural College (now UMass), Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith joined International YMCA College (now Springfield College) to form the Committee on University Extension of the Connecticut Valley Colleges, a joint continuing education program for the Pioneer Valley. In later years, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and MAC—later known as Massachusetts State and UMass—increased their collaboration, culminating in the formation of an inter-library loaning program in 1951 and a joint astronomy department in 1959. Finally, in 1965, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith and UMass incorporated the Four College Consortium, which became the Five College Consortium when Hampshire College was founded in 1968.[3]

The five colleges operate both as independent entities as well as mutually dependent institutions. The mission of the consortium is to support long-term forms of cooperation that benefit the faculty, staff and students of the five colleges. Shared academic and cultural resources are the primary initiative of the consortium. This means that students at each of these schools are permitted and encouraged to take classes at the other colleges (through "cross-registration") at no additional cost to the student.[4] Student groups and organizations often draw participants from all five campuses and several academic programs are run by the Five Colleges (for example: astronomy, dance, some foreign languages, and women's studies[5]). The colleges also participate in an interlibrary loan program, allowing students, staff, and faculty to take advantage of all five campuses' collections.

The Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory was founded in 1969 by the Five College Astronomy Department. Together, the Five Colleges operate WFCR (Five College Radio), an NPR member station operating at 88.5 MHz in the FM band.

Five-College folklore

A popular urban legend among Five College students holds that the characters on the Saturday morning cartoon Scooby-Doo represent the five colleges.[6] The legend has Daphne representing Mount Holyoke College, Velma as Smith College, Fred as Amherst College, Shaggy as Hampshire College, and Scooby as UMass Amherst. Hanna-Barbera Productions, CBS executive Fred Silverman, and Mark Evanier,[7][8] one of the show's writers, have stated that the legend is false.[9] Moreover, Scooby-Doo creators Joe Ruby and Ken Spears have been explicit in the cartoon show being based on the radio program I Love a Mystery and the TV sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,[10] with the four teenagers being based directly on characters from Dobie Gillis.[11] In addition, Scooby-Doo made its television debut in 1969, one year before Hampshire College opened.[12]



University of Massachusetts Transportation Services, as a contractor for the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA), provides free inter- and intra-campus bus service to students. Most of the routes are centered and serve UMass Amherst, which has over two-thirds of the student enrollment of the Five Colleges, but two routes, Route 38, connects Mount Holyoke College to UMass Amherst via Hampshire and Amherst Colleges, and Route 39 connects Smith and Hampshire Colleges (with some weekday trips and all evening and weekend trips when classes are in session operating to Mount Holyoke College). The buses, operated by student workers from UMass Amherst, run on frequent schedule seven days a week when classes are in session, allowing car-free travel to class and social events. Hourly buses run into the early morning on weekends, an alternative to driving after drinking. This service is funded through a contract with the member institutions. The PVTA also operates two non-UMass Transit routes (the Maroon 40 Minuteman Express, and the Blue-43) that connect UMass Amherst with Smith College via Route 9. All of these routes are free to ride for students, staff, and faculty of the Five Colleges Consortium.

Greyhound Bus Lines, Peter Pan Bus Lines, and Megabus offer intercity bus service to the region. The major terminal for the region is the Springfield Bus Station, from which services are provided both north-south and east-west to Vermont and New York City, and to Boston and Albany, respectively. Megabus makes its stop in the region at Hampshire Mall in Hadley en route to Vermont and New York City, while Greyhound makes an additional stop in Northampton and Peter Pan also calls at UMass Haigis Mall.


Amtrak's Vermonter service operates through the Pioneer Valley once a day in each direction, with station stops at in Northampton, Holyoke and Springfield. The PVTA provides bus service from stops near the Amtrak station to all of the colleges in the Five College Consortium.

Additional service is offered at the Union Station in Springfield, where Northeast Regional direct and shuttle provide service to points south along the Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak service to Amherst station ended on December 28, 2014 when the Vermonter was rerouted through Northampton. Prior to the rerouting, Amtrak service was offered at the station once each way via the Vermonter. It was contiguous to the Amherst College campus and a PVTA bus stop.



Major domestic scheduled airline service is available at both Bradley International Airport (FAA: BDL) in northern Connecticut (45 minutes) and Logan International Airport (FAA: BOS) in Boston (120 minutes). Logan offers extensive international flights.

General aviation

Northampton Airport (FAA: 7B2) and Turners Falls Airport (FAA: OB5) are the closest dedicated general aviation airports. They offer 24-hour access for private aircraft, including corporate jets. 7B2 and 0B5 can only accommodate very small corporate jets.

See also


  1. "Five College Consortium". Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  2. "Fleet Vehicles - Transportation Services - UMass Amherst". Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  3. "50th Anniversary |". Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  4., Gravity Switch, Inc -. "Five College Interchange Five College Interchange". Retrieved 2016-04-21.
  5. Common Departments and Programs from Five Colleges, Inc.
  6. Mikkelson, Barbara. "Scooby-Doo, What is You?". Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  7. Evanier, Mark (2014-02-20). "Another Stupid Thing on Wikipedia…". News from ME. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  8. From the E-Mailbag.... News From ME (2014-02-21). Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  9. "The scoop on Scooby" from The Unofficial Amherst College WWW FAQ
  10. Shostak, Stu (05-02-2012). "Interview with Joe Ruby and Ken Spears". Stu's Show. Retrieved 03-18-2013.
  11. Evanier, Mark. (July 10, 2002).Post Archived May 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine on "News from Me" blog for Retrieved on March 27, 2006. Excerpt: "Fred was based on Dobie, Velma on Zelda, Daphne on Thalia and Shaggy on Maynard."
  12. Mikkelson, David (2006-05-22). "Scooby-Doo, What is You?". Retrieved 2016-07-16.
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