Articles

Getting Ready for Williams!

Dear Families of the Class of 2026,

We greatly look forward to seeing your students, and many of you, on campus mere days from now.

Meanwhile, some initial thoughts on Move-In Day and Family Days:

  • Move-In Day is Tuesday, August 30, for all new students except international and Williams First students and families (who’ve received separate invitations and move-in information for Friday, August 27).
  • All students arriving August 30 have now received instructions on how to reserve a move-in time, and the appointment windows on those return dates have been arranged so as not to conflict with our student and family programs. (Any student facing particular scheduling challenges is free to reach out to our colleagues in Residential Life and Housing.)
  • Our Campus Safety colleagues are skilled at getting your cars close to dorm entries, and until 11:00 am older student volunteers will be available to help those who need assistance. Our schedule of optional family programming throughout August 30 follows. Visitors are expected to be vaccinated, and masks are strongly recommended for all indoor venues.

10am-1pm Community Resource Fair, Paresky Center Representatives from Williams offices and local businesses will be tabling on the first floor.

11am-1pm Lunch. This two-hour window will give you plenty of time to grab a quick bite under the Paresky lawn tent between moving in and other activities.

11:30am-12:30pm Campus Tour (departs from Weston Hall)

12pm-1pm Exploring Sacred Spaces (departs from Paresky porch)

12pm-1pm Meeting for Parents of Varsity Athletes, Brooks-Rogers Auditorium, Bernhard Music Center Masks strongly encouraged; please bring your own along with you.

1pm-1:30pm Goodbye Hugs!

1:30pm-2:30pm President Mandel’s Welcome to Williams Families, Chapin Hall Families only, masks strongly encouraged; please bring your own along with you.

3:00pm-4:00 pm Campus Tour (families only: departs from Weston Hall)

  • Please pay particularly poignant attention to 1:30 pm: the time to hug your students goodbye. They’ll be heading off to their first orientation meeting and their new lives at Williams, while you will be heading to Chapin Hall for a warm welcome by our president and her leadership team. Plan your trip back home any time after 2:30 pm August 30, then think about joining us back here in late October for…

Friends and Family Weekend, October 28-30, when you’ll be able to attend a Friday class; enjoy student performances, faculty presentations, and great meals; and get to know your student’s new friends and their families.

While we’re still assembling the 2022 Friends and Family Weekend program (and will present full details in late September), a glance at our last in-person Family Days (in 2019) will give you a good sense of what’s in store. For now, feel free to save the date and make travel arrangements.

And just to put Family Days in context…while many families enjoy this particular campus weekend, a great many more actually don’t attend. For some, the time and expense to travel to Williamstown are too great. (And let’s face it: though Williams is a beautiful place, it’s far away from where most people live!). For others, there are other moments in their students’ four years at Williams—from a special sports event or musical performance to Commencement—when a visit makes more sense.

Whether or not you join your student for Move-In Day or attend Family Days, we look forward to seeing you at Williams at some point during your student’s time with us.

With best wishes,

Rob White
Director of Parent and Family Programs

Welcome to the Williams Health Center

Dear New Williams Students,

Williams is committed to supporting students in mind, body, heart, and spirit.  We’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the full range of medical and mental health care and 24/7 emergency response that Williams offers.  

First, a word about chronic conditions.

Please contact us this summer if you have physical conditions or mental health issues of any kind that might benefit from support while you are at Williams. Rest assured, we are fully equipped and prepared to ensure that such challenges won’t reduce the quality of your experience here. Call us at 413-597-2206 to schedule a consultation. Your family members or guardians are welcome to join in those conversations with your permission.

Medical Services

  • There are no charges for clinic visits at the Health Center. Students can make appointments to see a health care provider Monday through Friday while we are in session. Call us to schedule an appointment in advance. Same-day sick visits can usually be accommodated. Our RN staff manages weekend visits, and a local physician is always on call. Physical and gynecological exams, lab testing including STI testing, and an orthopedic clinic are also available on campus by appointment.  
  • Most laboratory tests and diagnostic studies, prescription drugs, and consultation or treatment outside the Health Center are the student’s financial responsibility, as are certain vaccines required for students traveling internationally. Learn more about student health insurance requirements.
  • In emergencies,  students should call 911 from their cell phone or 9-911 from a campus phone. Local ambulance service will transport you to Berkshire Medical Center’s emergency department, 10 minutes from campus. Depending on your particular condition, transportation may be arranged to comprehensive medical centers in nearby Pittsfield, MA, or Bennington, VT.  

Mental Health Care 

We in Integrative Wellbeing Services (IWS) are eager to help. In any given year, the number of Williams students who engage with IWS is probably higher than you think: more than half of all students use our services in some way while at Williams. 

We’re here to help you meet challenges you may face on during your Williams journey. We provide comprehensive support to students in addressing mental health issues and making changes to enhance personal growth, capacity for healthy relationships, and academic engagement. There are no charges for clinic visits at our center for Integrative Wellbeing Services in Pond House.

Our staff includes psychologists, clinical social workers, mental health counselors and psychiatrists, and we work closely with our colleagues in Medical Services. Beyond in-person, on-campus services, we provide additional, alternative means of mental health support through a full array of free, live video counseling and psychiatry, as well as asynchronous messaging services, through Talkspace. There is also 24 / 7 crisis on-call support available by calling 413-597-2353.

Confidentiality

We provide all services to students with the promise of full confidentiality. Except in cases of clear emergency, we’re legally prohibited from sharing any information about our confidential conversations with your family unless you give us permission to do so. Within these guidelines, we’re delighted to partner with your family to ensure a healthy Williams experience. 

We close by encouraging you to call or stop by the Health Center with any questions or concerns. Once you learn how easy and comfortable it is to access our services, you’ll be empowered to take charge of your own health and wellbeing.

For now, enjoy the remainder of the summer, and please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] whenever you have concerns or questions.

Wendy Adam
Director of Integrative Wellbeing Services

Deborah Flynn
Director of Medical Services

Robert McBain
Health Services Administrator

Getting Ready for Family Orientation 2022

Dear Williams Families,

We look forward to meeting you at Williams on Saturday, August 27, for our Williams Firsts and International family orientation program. You can view the full program here, and below are some thoughts to give you a better sense of how the weekend will work.

COVID Vaccines and Masking
Williams College expects all visitors to be vaccinated, and we strongly recommend masking indoors, so please bring your own mask with you.

Saturday, August 27
We will meet you and your student whenever you arrive at Paresky Student Center. If we’re picking you up in Albany, we’ll take you directly to Paresky. We’ll provide you with some informational materials and answer any questions you might have. You can then help your student move into their dorm room, walk around our campus, and generally settle in. Afterward, join us for an informal buffet dinner under the Paresky tent anytime between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm.

Sunday, August 28
A buffet breakfast will be served under the Paresky tent from 8:00-9:45. Students and families will spend the rest of the morning together in various orientation activities, and everyone will gather under the Paresky tent for lunch.

During the afternoon, we will provide a special program for families while students are involved in their own orientation activities. Everyone will gather together one last time for a picnic supper. At the end of the picnic, families and supports will say goodbye to their students, who will depart for the rest of their orientation program. We’ll gather with families for dessert and a final conversation to end our family orientation program.

Monday, August 29
If you have reserved transportation with us back to Albany airport, train station, or bus station, we’ll pick you up at the Williams Inn, the Northside, or the Fairfield Inn.

Please feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have any questions at all. We greatly look forward to meeting you at Williams soon.

Best wishes,

Rob White
Director of Parent & Family Programs

Williams Firsts and International Family Orientation 2022

SATURDAY, AUGUST 27

9:00 am-9:00 pm
Campus Check-In— Paresky Hall

5:00-7:00 pm
Buffet Dinner for Families and Students—Paresky Lawn Tent

SUNDAY, AUGUST 28

8:00-9:45 am
Buffet Breakfast Available for All Families and Students—Paresky Lawn Tent

10:00-10:30 am
Welcome to Williams!

  • Williams Firsts and their Families under Paresky Lawn Tent
  • International Students and their Families, Paresky Auditorium

10:30-11:45 am
Campus Resources Walking Tour with Students

  • Williams Firsts and Families and International Students and Families depart from Paresky Lawn. (Multilingual tours available.)

11:45 am-1:00 pm
Lunch for All Families and Students—Paresky Lawn Tent

1:00 pm
Families Convene at ’62 Center MainStage
Students depart for a separate orientation

1:15-1:30’62 Center MainStage
Introductory Remarks

1:30-2:00—’62 Center MainStage
Panel Discussion: Academic Support

  • Director of Accessible Education G.L. Wallace
  • Danielle Ramdath, Senior Associate Dean of Academic Engagement
  • Christina Walsh, Associate Dean of Students / Dean of First Year Students

2:00-2:30’62 Center MainStage
Panel Discussion: Health & Wellbeing

  • Director of Integrative Wellbeing Services Wendy Adam
  • Chaplain to the College Valerie Bailey Fischer
  • Bilal Ansari, Assistant Vice President for Campus Engagement

2:30-3:00—’62 Center MainStage
Panel Discussion: Safety & Dining

  • Director of Campus Safety and Security Eric Sullivan
  • Director of Dining Services Temesgen Araya

3:00-3:45 ’62 Center Lobby
Break, Informal Chats with Panelists

4:00-4:30’62 Center MainStage
Presentation and Discussion: Financial Services

  • Director of Financial Aid Ashley Bianchi

4:30-5:15 pm
Panel Discussion: Student Perspectives

  • Williams Firsts’62 Center MainStage
    Moderated by Associate Dean of Students/Dean of Williams First Rebecca Garcia
  • International’62 Center Adams Memorial Stage
    Moderated by Associate Dean/Director of International Student Services Ninah Pretto

5:15 pm – 7:00
Family and Student Cookout—Paresky Lawn

6:50 – 7:00
Families/supporters give their students farewell hugs and remain on Paresky lawn for their own programming.

7:15-8:15
Family Dessert and Activities—Paresky Lawn
(Students head off to their own programming)