Universities and local businesses brace as students return to campus for fall

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A big day at UMass Amherst on Thursday. More than 5,500 freshmen will come to campus to move in. And it is not only the university that is preparing for this influx of students, but also the businesses in the region that are benefiting from this return to campus.

On Wednesday evening in downtown Amherst and Northampton, many students were present and exploring western Massachusetts.

Summer is winding down and schools are once again welcoming students here in downtown Amherst, from restaurants to shops and cafes, the town is already teeming with students.

“Honestly, if you just look at downtown, a large percentage of the population is college students,” said Annika Paylor, a student who spent her summer at Amherst College and is now feeling the excitement of the new semester as more and more students are returning to the area.

“It’s really nice to have everyone back. Everything feels a lot more alive. And even more students are on the way,” Paylor said.

UMass Amherst will welcome just over 5,500 freshmen this fall. And between UMass and surrounding colleges, businesses are gearing up for a busy season.

A staple in Northampton town center eager to serve familiar faces indulging in a study break. 22News spoke to Judith Herrell of Herrell’s Ice Cream in Northampton who said: ‘We’re going to be bashed for a few weeks while all the students say ‘hey! we are back to school! So happy to see you, let’s go get some ice cream! So it’s really exciting and it’s actually a lot of fun once the students come back.

Herrell added that this welcome back to campus is also a relief for companies looking to get students on their payroll with many help-seeking signs still posted at windows.

Freshmen will be moving into UMass tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., so if your commute is in the surrounding area, expect increased traffic.