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: IMPORTANT DATE UPDATE: Our plan is for housing applications for new students to open in the Housing Portal on Monday, July 13 @ 12noon eastern time. A message will be sent to your Williams email to let you know how it works. You’ll have until Sunday, July 19 @ 11:59pm eastern time to submit your housing application. 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, and Williams for first-year students and their Junior Advisors (JAs).

    Q: Will I have to share a bedroom?

    A: Our plan is that each student will have their own bedroom for fall 2020. Depending on the number of students who decide to enroll for the fall on campus, we may have to double some rooms.

    Q: You mentioned doubles as a possibility if the number of students who want to come back is high. Are there other things being considered in order to accommodate students in single rooms?

    A: Yes, there are a couple of “dials” that the college will consider turning to assist with this, before considering doubles. We’ll know more after July 10.

    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: Submit a Housing Appeal in the Housing Portal by Monday, July 13 @ 11:59pm eastern time, & follow the instructions.

  • 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: IMPORTANT DATE UPDATE: Our plan is for housing applications for upperclass students who have indicated their intent to return to campus, to open in the Housing Portal on Monday, July 13 @ 12noon eastern time. A message will be sent to your Williams email to remind you. You’ll have until Sunday, July 19 @ 11:59pm eastern time to submit your housing application. Room Draw will take place from Monday-Friday, August 3 through August 14. Right now the plan is for timeslots to open from 10am-3pm daily, and each pick group would have 10 minutes before the next pick group has access.

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

    A: Group sizes of 1-6, like usual.

    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 currently plan to use all upperclass buildings, except Dodd, Hubbell, Parsons, & Sewall, which are being held for quarantine needs. If return-t0-campus numbers are relatively low, some buildings may be closed for the semester.

    Q: Will I have to share a bedroom?

    A: Our plan is that each student will have their own bedroom for fall 2020. Depending on the number of students who decide to enroll for the fall on campus, we may have to double some rooms.

    Q: You mentioned doubles as a possibility if the number of students who want to come back is high. Are there other things being considered in order to accommodate students in single rooms?

    A: Yes, there are a couple of “dials” that the college will consider turning to assist with this, before considering doubles. We’ll know more after July 10.

    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: 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 in these COVID times.

    Q: I submitted a Housing Appeal back in the spring before leaving campus due to the campus closure. Do I need to resubmit?

    A: No, you don’t need to resubmit. However, if you were given a housing assignment back then, it likely needs to change. Contact Ana Azevedo if you have questions.

    Q: I didn’t submit a Housing Appeal in the spring, but I need to do so now. Is that Ok?

    A: Absolutely! If you believe you have a situation that cannot be fulfilled through the upperclass lottery/room draw process, you can fill out a Housing Appeal request in the Housing Portal anytime from now until July 13 @ 11:59pm eastern time.

    Q: When will new Housing Appeals be reviewed & decided?

    A: The Housing Appeal Review Team (HART) will be working on this through the latter part of July. Our goal is to have decisions out by July 31.

    Q: If I fill out a Housing Appeal, should I still apply to the Housing Lottery?

    A: Yes – just in case your appeal is denied, depending upon the nature of the housing appeal. If your appeal is approved and results in a pre-assignment, we’ll remove you from the room draw.

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

    A: Follow this link.

  • Q: I already chose a room in the Co-Op Lottery for 2020-2021. Is that room still mine?

    A: Yes, that room assignment is still yours, and we expect it will stay that way. We do reserve the right, however, to revisit this if the number of students who decide to return is high and we need to consider doubles.

    Q: I already chose a room in the Co-Op Lottery for 2020-2021, but with all the changes, I don’t think that assignment will work well for me. Can I enter the lottery instead?

    A: Yes, this year you can do this – you will need to relinquish your Co-op booking in order to participate in the lottery. Contact Ana Azevedo in OCL if you would like to do so.

    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 will be able to enroll in the fall semester as an “on campus” student, and 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 will 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 can 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: What buildings will be used for quarantine & isolation?

    A: For quarantine, we will use Dodd, Hubbell, Parsons, & Sewall. For isolation, we will use 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 (up to 6 is the plan) 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: You say “up to six is the plan” for pods/cohorts. Are there other sizes?

    A: Yes. There will be 2-person, 3-person, 4-person, 5-person, & 6-person pods/cohorts – it varies due to building architecture & available bathrooms. Depending on the number of students who decide to enroll for the fall on campus, we may have some larger pods/cohorts.

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

    A: A full listing of the designated pods/cohorts will be provided on the OCL website soon.

  • Q: Will the House Coordinator building selection process be redone?

    A: Yes. Because four buildings are being held for quarantine (Dodd, Hubbell, Parsons, Sewall), we felt it was only fair to redo the draw. The pick order will be the same as the last time.

    Q: Will House Coordinators still get to pull in friends with them?

    A: Yes. In most cases HCs will be able to pull in up to 5 friends with them. There are a few buildings where the pods/cohorts result in a smaller number of pull-ins (4 or 3).

    Q: Will Residential Director & pull-in housing assignments remain the same?

    A: It will depend on the residential area. Contact Patty Leahey-Hays or Maddy Polidoro for details.

    Q: I was a pull-in with an HC or a RD, and I’d prefer to enter the upcoming lottery. Is that OK?

    A: Yes, this year it’s OK. Contact Ana Azevedo for assistance with this.

  • 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: We will have a process for this and will share it at a later date.

    Q: I’m thinking that I won’t come 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: We are waiting for the July 10 Intent-to-Enroll deadline to determine the final timeline, as the number of students returning will drive the schedule (we can only accommodate around 150-200 students arriving per day due to quarantine meal deliveries). Generally, we expect students to begin returning in mid/late August, with JAs, RLT, and orientation leadership in the first round, first-year students in the second round, and upperclass students in the third round. We currently expect that the last day for check-in will be Monday, September 7, in order to ensure enough time for quarantine before classes begin on September 10.

    Q: Will an arrival date be assigned to me?

    A: Actually, we are planning to offer students some choice on this within some parameters. As noted above, we expect JAs, RLT, and orientation leadership in the first round, first-year students in the second round, and upperclass students in the third round. Once we have numbers after July 10, we’ll provide specific return-to-campus days/times for students to sign up in advance.

    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 let 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: It’s highly recommended that you pack lightly and bring only the necessities. It’ll make your move-in easier, and 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.

    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 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 testing & check-in work?

    A: We are planning a centralized, outside process. More details coming soon.

  • Coming soon!

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

    A: The college is planning for some organized transportation opportunities similar to Motorcoach and is working on those schedules now. Stay tuned for more info.

  • 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.