As most of us have been quarantined in our homes for at least two weeks, it is no surprise that a few of us are going a bit stir crazy. For many, unfortunately, the necessity of staying inside can lead to an unavoidable sense of boredom. To bring a little Amherst back into our lives, I have come up with 10 Amherst-themed ideas that you can accomplish from the comfort of your own home.  

Feel free to try one or all of the options listed below:

1. Go for a walk or jog that is exactly 1821 steps 

If you are craving some exercise, take a quick walk around your block. Challenge yourself by taking 1,821 steps, the same number as the year that Amherst College was established For the average person, taking 1,821 steps will be the equivalent of 0.81 miles. 

2. Make a meal out of only things you could find at Val

Are you missing the smells and tastes of Valentine Dining Hall?   If so, make a meal out of food items that you could only find at Val. 

For the less ambitious, I suggest starting by making a waffle.  If you are feeling adventurous, I encourage you to try an at home-version of the stir-fry station.

3. Choose your favorite Amherst dessert and make it yourself

Throughout the year, desserts of all types are served at Valentine and during special events. For this challenge, pick one of your favorite Amherst desserts and try to make it home!  

Some fun ideas include purple glazed mammoth cookies, Val’s chocolate espresso brownies or  a classic Schwemm’s milkshake (and at least, in your own home, the grill will never close before you get there). We have included links to recipes for each of these desserts below.

4. Dress up your pet like a Mammoth

For this option, transform your pet into the Amherst mascot. Some of you may already have mammoth costumes for your dog (if so, bonus points for you), but if not, take this moment to get creative in dressing up your pet. 

5. Learn an Amherst College song

Because Amherst College is known as “The Singing College,” it only seems right to include a musical suggestion. For this idea, pick a song from this traditional Amherst College songbook and learn it.  This PDF copy includes numerous options in addition to full sheet music and the lyrics for each song.

6. Wear all of your Amherst gear (or only purple clothes) for an entire day 

It’s time to resurrect your homecoming outfit. If possible, put all of your Amherst-themed clothing on at once and wear it for the rest of the day. If you have no clothing with the Amherst logo or a mammoth, then wear a completely purple outfit. 

7: Read a Book Written by an Amherst Alum

Nearly every Amherst student has visited the notable Amherst alumni Wikipedia page. If not, that in itself is a rabbit-hole of a quarantine activity. The page is full of famous authors including Julie Powell ’95, Dan Brown ’86, Lauren Groff ’01 and David Foster Wallace ’85. While distancing, try diving into one or multiple of the following books written by an Amherst alum.

"Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen" by Julie Powell ’95 (and then watch the movie)

The "Da Vinci Code" or "Angels & Demons"  by Dan Brown ’86

"Fates and Furies" by Lauren Groff ’01

"Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace ’85

8. Watch a movie starring an Amherst alum

There are also numerous famous actors and actresses who have graduated from Amherst College.  If you are looking for a new movie idea, try one of the movies listed below. Each film features (or was written by) a notable Amherst alum.

"Angels in America” or a "Hunger Games" movie, which feature the Emmy and Golden Globe winning Jeffrey Wright ’87 as Norman "Belize" Arriaga and Beetee

"10 Things I Hate About You" with Larry Miller ’75, as Walter Stratford 

"Rocky" where Burgess Meredith ’31 plays Mickey

“Pitch Perfect” with John Michael Higgins ’85, as John

“Pocahontas” and “Erin Brockovitch” written by Susannah Grant ’84

9. Paint a Picture of Mount Norwottuck

If you are missing Amherst’s remarkable views, then this is the challenge for you: Find a picture of the view from Memorial hill and paint a picture. When complete, you will be able to take in Amherst’s breathtaking vistas from any corner of the globe.

10: Schedule a Zoom meeting with your Amherst friends 

If you haven’t already, schedule a Zoom meeting or a FaceTime call with your friends from Amherst.  It is crucial to stay in contact with other Mammoths during this hard time.





Sophia Wolmer