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Five College Consortium

The Five College Consortium, incorporated and established in 1965, comprises four liberal arts colleges and one university in the Connecticut River Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, totaling approximately 28,000 students.[1] They are geographically close to one another and are linked by buses which run between the campuses.[2]


  • Members 1
  • Overview 2
  • Five-College folklore 3
  • Transportation 4
    • Bus 4.1
    • Rail 4.2
    • Air 4.3
      • General Aviation 4.3.1
      • Airlines 4.3.2
  • Notes 5
  • See also 6
  • External links 7


The consortium is composed of Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield (CCGS), in addition to another highly selective five college and two graduate school consortium in Southern California known as the Claremont Colleges.


The five colleges operate both as independent entities as well as mutually dependent institutions. 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. They also participate in an interlibrary loan program, allowing students, staff, and faculty to take advantage of all five campuses' collections.

In addition, students at each of these schools often take classes at the other colleges ("cross-registration" is permitted and often encouraged). Student groups and organizations often draw participants from all five campuses and several academic programs (for example, astronomy, dance, some foreign languages, and women's studies[3]) are run by the Five Colleges.

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.[4] The legend has Velma representing Smith College, Daphne as Mount Holyoke College, Fred as Amherst College, Shaggy as Hampshire College, and Scooby as UMass Amherst.

However, Hanna-Barbera Productions, CBS executive Fred Silverman, and Mark Evanier,[5] one of the show's writers, have stated that the legend is false,.[6] Moreover, Scooby-Doo creators Joe Ruby & 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,[7] with the four teenagers being based directly on characters from Dobie Gillis.[8]



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 also offer interstate bus service to the region. The major terminal for the region is the Springfield Bus Terminal, 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.


There are currently no passenger train service to Amherst. Trains are currently available at the Northampton Union Station at Northampton next to Smith College via the Vermonter once a day each way. Additional service is offered at the Springfield station (SPG), where Northeast Regional direct and shuttle trains connecting to Northeast Regional trains connections are available one stop away at the Springfield station (SPG), with multiple departures daily to New Haven and New York (with some trains continuing on to Washington, DC) and once-daily service via the Lake Shore Limited to Boston or Chicago.

Amtrak service to Amherst station (AMM) ended on December 28, 2014 when the Vermonter is 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.


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.


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 (90 minutes). Logan offers extensive international flights. Regularly scheduled shuttles are available for a fee.


  1. ^ Five College Consortium
  2. ^ UMass Transit web site
  3. ^ Common Departments and Programs from Five Colleges, Inc.
  4. ^ Mikkelson, Barbara. "Scooby-Doo, What is You?". Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  5. ^ From the E-Mailbag.... News From ME (2014-02-21). Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  6. ^ "The scoop on Scooby" from The Unofficial Amherst College WWW FAQ
  7. ^ Shostak, Stu (05-02-2012). "Interview with Joe Ruby and Ken Spears". Stu's Show. Retrieved 03-18-2013.
  8. ^ Evanier, Mark. (July 10, 2002).Post 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."

See also

  • Museums10, a collaboration of several local museums run by the Five Colleges

External links

  • Official website
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