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Downtown Amherst invites college students to fun orientation

AMHERST — More than 4,000 new students at the University of Massachusetts, joined by Amherst College freshmen, will come to downtown Amherst on Saturday.

The Amherst Business Improvement District and the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce are working with officials at both institutions on this year’s Adventure into Amherst, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. This marks the fourth year UMass students have come downtown as part of new student orientation.

Sarah la Cour, executive director of the Amherst BID, said the event is an opportunity for the downtown businesses to present themselves to freshmen.

“Its a really great chance for the town and the businesses to show all students we’re happy to have them,” la Cour said.

La Cour said the streets will be lined with balloons as part of the welcoming atmosphere and many businesses will have activity on the sidewalks.

UMass students will be dropped off by shuttles at Kendrick Park and will then be guided through downtown by their resident assistants. Amherst College students will walk downtown.

Hope Keenan, marketing director for the Amherst BID, said 26 businesses will be participating, with many giving out free samples, coupons or having some other specials and surprises for the students.

“It’s a unique opportunity for them to welcome the new students,” Keenan said. “It’s a really great way for them to connect with students and show them something different from other shopping experiences.”

Art Alive is sponsoring a raffle and will have coupons and free crafts.

The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce is working with the Amherst BID on the event. Local band Lux Deluxe will perform in front of the All Things Local store and the new location for The Mercantile.

Amherst Police will have a booth set up in which officers will talk about services offered and the bylaws that it enforces, including the open container and noise bylaws.

At the end of the event, UMass students will board buses on Amity Street in front of Jones Library, where they will return to the campus and the Mullins Center, where a large screen will be set up to broadcast the UMass football game against Boston College from Gillette Stadium at 3 p.m. This is the first of three events in which students will be coming downtown. There will also be the Celebrate Amherst Block Party Sept. 18 and the Homecoming Parade Sept. 27.

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