Amherst College was named one of five finalists for the $1 million Cooke Prize for Equity in Educational Excellence on Tuesday, April 12. The college was listed alongside Davidson, Pomona, Stanford and Rice.

The Cooke Prize, sponsored by the Jack Kent Cooke foundation, is intended for an elite college or university that has demonstrated a large amount of support for high-performing low-income students. The goal of the prize is to allow the institution to further work against unequal barriers to admission.

Michael Harmon ’16 created his own interdisciplinary major “Colonial and Postcolonial Studies.” His thesis focuses on a trip he took by train in South Africa and Zimbabwe. His advisers are history professor Sean Redding, European Studies professor Ronald Rosbottom and political science professor Amrita Basu.

Q: What is your major and what is your thesis about?

Students voted in a college-wide poll on whether or not to divest the college’s endowment holdings from the fossil fuel industry on Sunday, April 3. Out of the 627 respondents, which comprise more than a third of the student body, 73 percent voted in favor of divestment.

The Office of Communications launched a new version of the Amherst website on Wednesday, March 16. An email sent to members of the college community on March 9 announced the new website’s release.

The website has been extensively redesigned, featuring a simplified homepage structure intended for easier use on all devices, including mobile ones. The new format also uses photos and videos in order to be more visually appealing.

The Office of Environmental Sustainability is holding the Amherst All In initiative this week, a T-shirt campaign designed to encourage positive student attitudes towards environmental activism.

Planning for the Amherst All In campaign began last semester. According to the campaign’s student organizer Suhasini Ghosh ’16, the campaign’s name comes from the goal of demonstrating the widespread effect of environmentalism on daily life.

Chair of the college council and professor Nicola Courtright introduced the proposal to shorten the college’s spring semester during the Association of Amherst Students meeting on Monday, Feb. 22.

The new proposed calendar would decrease the length of future spring semesters from 14 to 13 weeks, which would match the length of fall semester. The proposal includes an extension of reading period in the spring to a minimum of four days, three potential make-up days for weather emergencies or campus-wide events such as the day of dialogue and a full three-week interterm session.

This March, the college will implement an overhaul of its annual housing application process. The application for students will take place through an online portal, which opened to students on Monday, Feb. 15.

The college purchased new software from the student housing solutions company StarRez in an effort to streamline the housing selection process for students and to keep track of the status of rooms and dormitories throughout the year. The process of implementing the new system began last July.