Office of Campus Life (OCL)

OCL FAQ’s related to President Mandel’s announcement about Fall 2020, are provided below and will be updated & augmented over the course of the summer.

If your OCL-related question isn’t answered below, feel free to contact Doug Schiazza, Senior Associate Dean of Campus Life, via email.


  • Q: I’m a new student & plan to come to campus for the fall. How do I apply for housing, and when will I find out my housing assignment?

    A: Housing Applications were due in in the Housing Portal on Sunday, July 19 @ 11:59pm ET. Housing assignments for new students are expected to be conveyed no later than Friday, August 14.

    Q: Where will first-year students live on campus this fall?

    A: We plan to use Mission Park, Sage, Williams, and Lehman for first-year students and their Junior Advisors (JAs). (When you indicate preference on the Housing Application, Lehman is considered part of the First-Year Quad along with Sage & Willy.)

    Q: Will I have to share a bedroom?

    A: Our plan is that each student will have their own bedroom for fall 2020.

    Q: I have a special situation for which I need some additional consideration regarding my housing assignment. How do I share this information & request consideration?

    A: The deadline for submitting a Housing Appeal in the Housing Portal was Monday, July 13 @ 11:59pm eastern time.

    Q: Will residential kitchens be open for use?

    A: Sadly, they will be closed this fall.

    Q: Since kitchens will be closed, should I bring a mini-fridge and/or microwave?

    A: Nope – we’ve got you covered! For the 2020-2021 academic year, the college is providing a MicroFridge unit in every student bedroom on campus, free of charge. These units include a microwave, mini-fridge/freezer, are Energy-Star rated, and use less power than a typical mini-fridge alone. (They also have a handy sensor to reduce the burnt-popcorn smoke alarms that result in your building experiencing middle-of-the-night evacuations.) Other units are not allowed this year, so leave yours at home, please!

    Upon your arrival you will find your MicroFridge stocked with a Quarantine Care package from Dining Services. They will provide you with a variety of items to supplement the two quarantine meals (Brunch and Dinner) that will be delivered to you during the time you wait for your test results.

    Q: Will residential common rooms be open for use?

    A: Some common rooms that are part of regular building circulation will need to remain open. Furniture may be reduced/removed, and capacities will be reduced. These spaces will not be reservable. Students using these spaces must follow face covering & distancing protocols.

    Q: When will student residences close for the fall semester?

    A: Students are expected to leave campus by Sunday, November 22 @ 12noon ET.

  • Q: I’m a returning student & plan to come to campus for the fall. How do I apply for housing? Will there be a Room Draw, and if so, when?

    A: Housing Applications for upperclass students who have indicated their intent to return to campus, were due in the Housing Portal on Sunday, July 19 @ 11:59pm ET. Room Draw is taking place from Monday-Friday, August 3 through August 7.

    Q: What size pick groups can we use to enter the Upperclass Lottery?

    A: We have decided to expand the group size maximum to 12, this time only.

    Q: Will pick order be seniority-based like previous years?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Does our pick group have to stay together when it comes time to pick actual rooms?

    A: Though you do not have to stay together, we hope most pick groups will be able to do so, so that the pick group can become a housing pod/cohort together.

    Q: Will there be gender caps this year?

    A: We will not be enforcing gender caps this year. Because of the higher priority of students being able to stick with their pick groups as much as possible to form pod/cohort groups in housing due to COVID issues around distancing & face coverings, we decided to temporarily remove that rule for this coming year.

    Q: A member of our pick group has decided to come back for the fall, but lives outside the US and isn’t sure if they will actually be here due to travel restrictions. What do we do for the lottery?

    A: If the student indicated that their intent is to come back to campus for the fall, they can participate in the lottery & select a room, even if travel plans are still unanswered.

    Q: Where will upperclass students live on campus this fall?

    A: We plan to use all upperclass buildings, except Dodd, Hubbell, Parsons, Sewall, and Tyler Annex, which are being held for quarantine/isolation needs, and Lehman, which is being used for first-year housing.

    Q: Will I have to share a bedroom?

    A: Our plan is that each student will have their own bedroom for fall 2020.

    Q: Will residential kitchens be open for use?

    A: Sadly, they will be closed this fall.

    Q: Since kitchens will be closed, should I bring a mini-fridge and/or microwave?

    A: Nope – we’ve got you covered! For the 2020-2021 academic year, the college is providing a MicroFridge unit in every student bedroom on campus, free of charge. These units include a microwave, mini-fridge/freezer, are Energy-Star rated, and use less power than a typical mini-fridge alone. (They also have a handy sensor to reduce the burnt-popcorn smoke alarms that result in your building experiencing middle-of-the-night evacuations.) Other units are not allowed this year, so leave yours at home, please!

    Upon your arrival you will find your MicroFridge stocked with a Quarantine Care package from Dining Services. They will provide you with a variety of items to supplement the two quarantine meals (Brunch and Dinner) that will be delivered to you during the time you wait for your test results.

    Q: Will residential common rooms be open for use?

    A: Some common rooms that are part of regular building circulation will need to remain open. Furniture may be reduced/removed, and capacities will be reduced. These spaces will not be reservable. Students using these spaces must follow face covering & distancing protocols.

    Q: I’m planning not to be on campus for the fall, but I might come back for the spring. How will I get a housing assignment?

    A: We will be working on this process in the coming months.

    Q: Conversely, it is OK if I decide after being on campus for the fall, that I want to be away from campus for the spring?

    A: Yes.

    Q: When will student residences close for the fall semester?

    A: Students are expected to leave campus by Sunday, November 22 @ 12noon ET.

  • Q: If I want to change my housing assignment, how do I do so? Will there be housing mini-lotteries this year?

    A: Sadly, there won’t be mini-lotteries this year. However, students may request a housing change through the Housing Appeals (HART) process. The bar for changes will be rather high this year, as housing moves could be complicated due to COVID issues.

    Q: Where can I find more info on Housing Appeals?

    A: Follow this link.

  • Q: I was officially released by the college to live off-campus during the annual process that already took place. Am I still OK to live off-campus?

    A: Yes – as long as our records show that you were officially released, you are OK to live off-campus. You were able to enroll in the fall semester as an “on campus” student, and if you did so, you will be allowed to attend in-person courses, opt into the meal plan, and use college resources.

    Q: I’d like to live off-campus this year, but I was not officially released by the college to do so. What do I do?

    A: We are not be accepting any additional petitions for official release to live off-campus in Williamstown at this time. If you were not officially released previously and would like to live off-campus in Williamstown, you were permitted to opt to enroll as a remote student. Please note, however, that remote students will not be permitted to attend in-person classes, opt into the dining plan, or have access to campus property.

    Q: When will Co-Ops close for the fall semester?

    A: Students are expected to leave campus by Sunday, November 22 @ 12noon ET.

  • Q: What buildings will be used for quarantine & isolation?

    A: For quarantine, we will use Dodd, Hubbell, Parsons, & Sewall. For isolation, we will use Tyler Annex and the CDE residence hall. These buildings will not be available for general housing selection.

  • Q: I’ve heard of this “pod” or “cohort” thing. What is it?

    A: Because of social distancing, face covering, & other COVID-related parameters, we wanted to give on-campus students the ability to have a residential space (a “pod” or “cohort”) where they can be with a small number of other students to provide a flexibility similar to being with members of the same shared household, and within each pod to know that only those students are using a shared designated bathroom.

    Q: What are the pod sizes?

    A: For upperclass students, there are pods for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 students. For first-year students, there are pods for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 students. It varies due to building architecture & available bathrooms.

    Q: What are the specific pods/cohorts across campus?

    A: A full listing of the designated upperclass pods/cohorts can be found at this link.

    Q: What’s the difference between a pick-group and a pod/cohort?

    A: A pick group is the group of people you enter the lottery with, to get a pick-number/time together for choosing rooms. The group can stay together, split up, etc., however it wants/needs to at the time. A pod is the group of people, based on rooms chosen, with whom you’ll be able to live with as if you are family at home, regarding COVID restrictions. Could be some/all of your pick group depending on who chooses what rooms. Or it could be a mix of other students not in your pick group, etc.

    Q: Is my pick group restricted to pods of the same size?

    A: No. When a pick group’s time comes for choosing rooms, each student in the group can choose any room that’s still available. If it works out that your whole group can take a pod of the same size, great! If not, it’s OK – choose rooms, and others who choose or have chosen rooms in the same pod will be your pod-mates.

  • Q: I left things for storage when I left campus in the spring. How will I get my things back when I return for the fall?

    A: You’ll be able to pick up your stored items after you are out of quarantine. There will be a sign-up process for this in SnapAppointments – more details coming soon.

    Q: I won’t be coming back this fall. Will my stored items continue to be stored for me?

    A: Yes.

  • Q: What will the process be for determining who can stay during this period?

    A: We’re working on that – more coming soon.

    Q: If I’m approved to stay, will I be able to stay in my fall semester room?

    A: We are planning that students during this period would remain in their fall semester room. We do, however, reserve the right to consolidate.

    Q: If I’m approved to stay, will meals be available?

    A: Yes, meals will be available from Dining Services.

  • Q: I’m trying to make my travel arrangements to come to campus. When can I move in?

    A: All students who are enrolling on campus for the fall must sign up in advance for a spot in a 20-minute window on campus for Check-In & Initial COVID Testing. Sign-ups were due in July. If you still need to sign up, or need to change your day/time, contact Mike Bodnarik via email.

    • Summer-to-Fall Transitional Students (students currently living on-campus who are also studying on campus in the fall) = Wednesday, August 19, 12noon – 3pm eastern time.
    • Residential Leaders (JAs, JAAB, RLT) and Pre-Approved Orientation Leaders = Monday, August 24, 12noon – 8pm eastern time.
    • First-Year & New Transfer Students = Thursday through Saturday, August 27-29, 12noon – 8pm eastern time.
    • Sophomores, Juniors, & Seniors = Tuesday through Monday, September 1-7, 12noon – 8pm eastern time.

    The timing & limits must be adhered to in order to manage the complicated logistics of COVID testing, post-testing quarantine, and meal deliveries during quarantine.

    Important Note – students will not be permitted to access campus via private transportation outside of the testing and check in times. If your planned travel would result in your arriving on campus outside of the schedule noted, you must make your own plans to stay overnight off-campus so that you can arrive on campus during the scheduled check-in days/hours.

    Q: My family is coming with me when I move in. Will they be able to check out my room?

    A: Sadly, this time around we can’t permit others into your room due to the quarantine period you’ll follow after your check-in & testing. Take pictures once it’s decorated & send them to your family to show them your interior designer skills.

    Q: I’m trying to figure out what to bring with me to campus. Any advice?

    A: To make your move-in easier, you should pack very lightly, bring only the necessities, and pack in multiple smaller boxes & bins. In the event that the campus has to close again, it’ll make it easier for you to re-pack for a return trip home. Remember – do NOT bring a microwave or fridge – each room will be outfitted with a MicroFridge (microwave+mini-fridge/freezer) for your use.

    Q: Will there be help to move my things into my room?

    A: Sadly again, this time around we can’t let others into your room due to the quarantine period you’ll follow after your check-in & testing, so you will have to move your things into your room solo. Pack very lightly (remember, bring just the necessities), pack in smaller multiple boxes/bins to make the moving process easier, and if you need things later, you can order online & have things shipped to the Jessica Park Mailroom in Paresky for pick-up after your quarantine period is over.

    Q: How will initial testing & check-in work?

    A: We are planning a centralized, outside process to take place near Cole Fieldhouse. More details as we get closer to mid-August.

    Q: When will student residences close for the fall semester?

    A: Students are expected to leave campus by Sunday, November 22 @ 12noon ET.

  • Coming soon!

  • Q: Will the Motorcoach program be operating this year?

    A: The college has arranged for transport to campus using large motorcoach buses from major transportation hubs.

    From Albany Airport: Transport is available 3 times daily (10:30am, 2pm, and 6:30pm eastern time) during the college’s published arrival sequence (and check-in/testing will be available for students arriving to campus on the 6:30pm bus, even if it gets to campus a bit after 8pm – sign up for a check-in/testing time as close to 8pm as you can).

    From New York’s Penn Station & Boston’s Logan International Airport: Transport is available on select dates. The schedules and departure times were arranged to coincide with the arrival and check-in schedule on campus.

    Important Note – students will not be permitted to access campus via private transportation outside of the testing and check in times. If your planned travel would result in your arriving on campus outside of the schedule noted below, you must make your own plans to stay overnight off-campus so that you can arrive on campus during the scheduled check-in days/hours. However, if you are on a Williams-scheduled motorcoach bus as noted above, you will be able to check-in and get your initial test even if the bus arrives to campus at or shortly after 8pm.

  • Q: Will Club Sports be able to practice or compete during the fall semester?

    A: We continue to work to develop protocols that will allow students to practice safely. However, Club Sports will not compete or be able to travel off campus to events.