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20 Things to Do in 2020

So here we are in 2020, a year that just tells you to use your vision. It’s a fresh start, and a chance to explore with fresh eyes. In that spirit, we present you with “20 Things to Do in 2020,” a small sampling of the rich options that await you on campus or a stone’s throw away. It’s about fun, and learning new things that don’t necessarily fit on a syllabus.
Students cheering at hockey game

Cheer on your River Hawks

The men’s and women’s basketball teams both play eight games at home in January and February, and the men’s hockey team plays seven games at the Tsongas Center as it battles for the Hockey East crown. Dreaming of spring? The UML softball team’s home opener is March 18, while the baseball team opens play at LeLacheur Park on April 7.
Student rock climbing with the Outdoor Adventure program

Choose your own adventure

Whether it’s a day hike, a ski trip, a surfing lesson or ice climbing, the Outdoor Adventure Program will get your adrenaline pumping and help you get charged up for the spring semester. Don’t have equipment? No worries – you can rent gear from the OAP. Be sure to check out the “Spring Break Rock Climbing, Hiking and Hot Springs” trip to Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina, March 6-15.
group swim lessons lifeguard

Be a lifesaver

What better way to spend a few hours on this year’s bonus leap day — Saturday, Feb. 29 – than becoming certified by the American Red Cross in CPR and first aid and learning how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED)? If you can’t make that course at the Campus Rec Center, there’s another four-hour course on Saturday, April 4. Check out the lifeguarding and wilderness first aid courses, too.
Three students stand outside a commuter rail train in Lowell Photo by Ed Brennen

Take the commuter rail to Boston

Did you know the MBTA offers an unlimited weekend commuter rail ticket for just $10? From Lowell’s Gallagher Terminal (at 101 Thorndike St.), you can catch the train and be in downtown Boston in less than 45 minutes. From there, the city is at your fingertips: the Museum of Fine Arts, the Seaport, Newbury Street, TD Garden, you name it.
Career Counselor Sushmita Ramachandran meets with a student at UML's Career & Co-op Center

Fine-tune your résumé and search for a summer internship

You’re an ever-evolving work in progress, and so is your résumé. Career Services offers “Career Corner” résumé writing workshops throughout the semester on North and South campuses and at University Crossing. You can also schedule a visit with a career counselor or Career Peer. They’ll help make your résumé sing – and you’ll get a leg up when applying for that summer internship or co-op.
Rowdy the River Hawk riding a bike through Lowell

Go for a bike ride

There’s a reason UML is designated a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. You can pedal your way around campus thanks to the Free Wheelers Bike Share program. Bicycles are provided to students, faculty and staff for free. You just need to register and then you can check out bikes at five convenient locations around campus. There’s even a Free Wheelers app, so you can reserve a bike, track your usage and more from your phone. If you want to go for a longer ride, try the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, which starts in Lowell and stretches for more than 11 paved miles to Acton.
A student volunteer sorts donations on South Campus Photo by Ed Brennen

Volunteer with a local organization

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” The Merrimack Valley Food Bank, the Lowell Transitional Living Center, the Wish Project, the House of Hope and the Lowell Humane Society are just some of Lowell’s deserving nonprofit organizations that welcome student volunteers. You can also lend a hand right here on campus with the Sustainable Move Out Donation Drive.
A young woman eats pho inside Viet Thai in Lowell, MA Photo by Tory Germann

Try a new restaurant

Lowell is loaded with great places to eat. Psyched for sushi? On a mission for Mexican? Dying for diner fare? You’ll find all of these and more in close proximity to campus.
Members of MALES recruit at the UMass Lowell club fair Photo by Meghan Moore

Join a club

UMass Lowell has more than 250 active student clubs, covering interests from accounting to vocals, community service-focused groups to faith-based organizations, academics to the outdoors.
Astro Observatory on South Campus

Explore infinity and beyond

When it opens on South Campus this spring, the new astronomical observatory will provide high-resolution views of the craters and lava plains on the moon, the satellites of Jupiter and its cloud belts, and the rings of Saturn, as well as star clusters, galaxies and nebulae light-years away. On some nights, the observatory will be open to the public for stargazing.
Park visitors wait as a yellow trolley tour arrives in Lowell Photo by Lowell National Park

Visit the Lowell National Historical Park

How many colleges have a national park right next to campus? Take a tour and learn more about Lowell’s central role in the Industrial Revolution, the history of labor, the legacy of women’s activism and much more.
A student stands smiling near a Zipcar in one of the garages on campus at UMass Lowell

Rent a Zipcar and take a road trip

Want to explore beyond the Greater Boston area, but don’t have any wheels? Zipcars are available for rent at all three campus parking garages – on North, South and East campuses – starting at just $7 per hour. Cars are available to anyone 18 or older, including international students. Round up your friends and hit the road; all you need to do is sign up for an account.
Palette with paint

Love art

Visit the Western Avenue Studios and soak up the work of more than 300 artists. Located along the Pawtucket Canal, the converted mill building is home to painters, sculptors, photographers, graphic artists, fabric artists and more. Pop in on the first Saturday of each month for open studios.
Gianfranco Pocobene working on Coburn mural

Check out the newly restored mural in Coburn Hall

The third floor of Coburn Hall is home to a WPA-era mural that was recently restored to its original splendor as part of a top-to-bottom restoration of the oldest building on campus. The three-panel historic gem, which was painted over decades ago, depicts students studying arts and humanities, the “ideal” teacher instructing a classroom. and a view of Lowell’s skyline.
UMass Lowell Image

Beat a path to the “Kerouac Retrieved” exhibit

On display at Allen House are some of the treasured possessions of Lowell native and beat writer extraordinaire Jack Kerouac. You’ll see his simple wooden writing desk, handcrafted carriers for his beloved cats and other memorabilia. For a deep dive into the Beat master and his contemporaries, check out the Kerouac Room at the Center for Lowell History, part of the UMass Lowell Libraries.
Victoria Grace and Alexis Bronkovic in Silent Sky at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre Photo by Meghan Moore

Feel the drama

Take in a play at the Merrimack Repertory Theater (MRT). The local cultural institution has been offering professional theater in downtown Lowell for more than 40 years. Students get discounts on tickets.
Rows of plush red seats inside the Luna Theater in Lowell

Film watch and philosophize

Catch a free Monday night movie at Mill No. 5’s Luna Theater, and discuss it with a philosophy professor as part of the monthly “Philosophy and Film” series.
A yoga instructor demonstrates a seated meditation pose outside Campus Rec Photo by Colleen Gordon

Learn to meditate

Take an inner journey over four weeks that could just make your life more … Zen. On consecutive Thursdays beginning Feb. 6, Campus Recreation yoga teachers will offer a meditation course. It’s only $10 for the entire journey, and it’s open to students, staff, faculty and Campus Rec Center members.
Benjamin McEvoy and Edward Morante at DifferenceMaker boot camp with their Benji Ball prototype

Cultivate your inner entrepreneur

UMass Lowell is stocked with resources for entrepreneurs, from workshops on attracting investors to incubator space for startups. If you have an idea for a business or a product and want to channel your inner Steve Jobs, check out the DifferenceMaker program, which offers students a chance to solve the world’s problems through inventiveness and collaboration. Student teams pitch their ideas and are evaluated by all-star judges. Winners emerge with real prize money. Some have gone on to launch successful startups.
The UMass Lowell Gospel Choir performing.

Catch campus talent

You can go to overstuffed clubs or pay huge money for big-name shows, or you can take in some pretty exceptional talent on campus. For example, coming up this semester, there’s a Talon Club Comedy Series at the Tsongas Center, and several nights of staged readings of Bram Stoker’s Dracula at Allen House. Of course, you can wash it all away with the UML Gospel Choir’s Spring Concert April 25.