Talker: Students not that worried about “ZooMass” label

By Katie Landeck

After recent crackdowns on partying, administration at the University of Massachusetts is trying to rid the school once and for all of the slang label “ZooMass.”

“ZooMass” is a term that refers to the party culture that was particularly present on campus in the early 2000s. As phrased it, students at the school “pregame harder than you party.”

In recent speeches to the Student Government Association (SGA), both Chancellor Robert Holub and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Campus Life Jean Kim have said they believe students should stop using the term “ZooMass.”

“We all have to work on UMass pride, not ‘ZooMass’ pride,” Holub said during his address to the SGA. “It is an unfortunate label from the past, and I think it should be banned on the campus.”

However, some students are not as sure that it should be banned or even that it is harmful to the school’s reputation.

“It’s not harmful,” said senior legal studies major Yu Lin. “I don’t think it is a big deal. Kids are raising the bar … the school is getting better despite the label,” he added referring to the higher GPAs of the incoming class.

Brendan McCarthy, a senior accounting major, echoed similar sentiments.

“It’s a stigma, but people realize it is still a good school,” McCarthy said. “You can get an education and still have a good time.”

Nevertheless, over his four years at UMass, McCarthy has noticed that the partying has gone down a bit.

“It has gotten slightly better, but only because GPAs and such are going up and those kinds of kids often aren’t the best partiers,” McCarthy said.

Statistically, the partying has decreased. In 2006, the Princeton Review ranked UMass as the seventh-biggest party school in the United States. However, by 2007, UMass did not even make the top 20 party schools and has stayed off the list ever since.

Despite the decrease in partying, the reputation lingers.

“The partying has been cut down a lot, but my friends from home still hear the title and think: party school,” said senior psychology major Carolyn Colon.

Colon has concerns that the title will negatively affect the school’s reputation and thinks getting rid of the term could be beneficial, but she does not worry that it will tarnish the value of her degree when she graduates.

“Employers will be open to hearing about the education I received here and the experiences I had,” Colon said. “But, people might not want to come here.”

Yet, freshman history major Amelia Murphy, an out-of-state student from New Hampshire had not even heard of “ZooMass” before she arrived on campus.

“I had never heard of it before,” said Murphy. “I think it is probably an in-state thing.”

Either way, Murphy does not think the term means anything.

Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected]