AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- As Hampshire College officials continue to look at ways to work through the school's declining enrollment and financial troubles, a group has come together and presented a plan to trustees.

This group of students, staff, professors, and alumni presented the board of trustees with their Re-envisioning Hampshire plan yesterday.

It details out ways to keep Hampshire independent, stop layoffs, and raise millions of dollars.

In January, Hampshire College announced financial struggles and that they were looking for find a long-term partner to help sustain the school's future.

"I think it was a shock and I think many alums were surprised by our emotion in that moment that we have not necessarily been that involved and we have not been very active as an alumni organization. Yet, the level of emotion that Hampshire might not be here anymore was intense and so it brought people together at a very high level," said Save Hampshire member Mary-Moore Cathcart.

Cathcart, a Hampshire College alum and member of the re-envisioning committee, told Western Mass News that over the past couple months, several hundred people have come together to try and save the school and preserve its uniqueness.

"I think that our plan is exciting and it feels like the new generation of Hampshire," Cathcart explained.

The group's Re-envisioning Hampshire plan includes creating a sense of community and academic collaboration.

"Real collaboration between faculty, staff, and alums to teach classes and that there's a real radical interdisciplinary way of teaching," Cathcart explained.

The group also has a fundraising goal of $20 million by October.

"We don't know the exact numbers of what we need. We know we're going to need at least 10, so we're aiming for more than that, so we're covering our bases," Cathcart noted.

Hampshire College President Miriam Nelson told Western Mass News they are looking at the group's plan, as well as other options.

"The board is meeting weekly and we had a board meeting yesterday and we were looking at the potential for fundraising, looking at our financial position, and the whole range of strategic options that are at a specific development stage that we can look at them," Nelson explained.

Cathcart said that during their presentation to the board yesterday, they got a lot of smiles and nods and many people seemed to be excited about their plan.

Nelson said that they are considering all options and she's optimistic about the future.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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