Five College Consortium Helps Its Member Campuses Accomplish More

Ina Clark recalls her experience working for the Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, which was not a job performed in a vacuum.

“You’re not only working on your own museum, but also collaborating with the development offices of all the Smithsonian museums — and not only juggling all that, but finding positive ways for those relationships to work,” she told BusinessWest. “I love working with people to grow things, producing results they wouldn’t achieve otherwise.”

She brings the same mindset to her new role as director of Development and Sponsored Programs at the Five Colleges Consortium in Amherst, an organization that, for decades, has convened the resources of Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and UMass Amherst to increase the capacity of those institutions to create educational opportunities both on and off campus.

“Not everyone has the same strengths in everything, and there are certain things they wouldn’t have the budget or structure to take on,” Clark said of the five campuses, adding that this dynamic is exciting to her, in that it necessitates the collaborative work Five Colleges specializes in. “It allows some students to get experiences and opportunities they wouldn’t have on their own campus, but can have because this exists.”

Executive Director Sarah Pfatteicher agreed. “I feel like the work we do is particularly valuable and powerful at a moment that feels very divisive,” she said. “Particularly after the pandemic, we’ve all been so focused inwardly. This is all about getting people in a room to think in a bigger-picture way than they do alone, or accomplish collectively what they couldn’t do themselves — just get outside their individual interests and think of the collective good.”

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