Chapter 11: Other Oft-Asked Questions

May I look at my room over the summer?

The Williams College residence halls are mostly packed each summer with participants involved in everything from sports camps to conferences to the nationally famous Williamstown Theater Festival. Outside of a presidential mandate or if you are signed up for the New England Banking Conference, you will have to wait it out with your fellow classmates from Alaska to Zimbabwe to see your room. Don’t forget, you can see a virtual mock-up by clicking here.

Is there a place to store extra goodies, such as a trunk, giant pieces of luggage and boxes?


Yes, we have limited storage (but only during the academic year) at Williams in the basement of some buildings. Custodians & other Facilities staff manage storage on-campus – to reach them, call 413.597.2486.

Though the college is not responsible for the safety of your things should they be lost or stolen, the storage is typically locked with the exception of the beginning and end of year. Even so, you might want to check to see if you have any coverage through your homeowner’s policy and if you store something valuable, you may want to purchase some renter’s insurance.

Storage of items on campus over the summer will be allowed only for international students and other financial aid students with need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid.

Can you tell me about the housing situation over vacations?  May I stay in my room?

It depends on the break period.

Thanksgiving Break – all residence halls remain open.

Winter Break – all residence halls close on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 @ 12noon. The halls re-open at 8 am on Sunday, January 1, 2017. Exceptions are made only for international students who meet specific criteria & application deadlines (which will be communicated during the fall semester); students granted an exception will be temporarily consolidated into one building (typically Fayerweather) during most of the break.

Spring Break – all residence halls close on Saturday, March 18, 2017 @ 12noon.  The halls will re-open at 8 am on Saturday, April 1, 2017. Exceptions are made only for students who meet specific criteria & application deadlines (which will be communicated during the early spring semester); typically, students granted an exception are allowed to remain in their spring semester rooms; however, some could be consolidated into a smaller number of buildings during most of the break.

Summer – residence halls close for the end of the academic year on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at noon.

May I have a car during my first year?

No. Lack of parking makes it impossible to allow first-year students to have cars. If you have questions about this policy, you should contact Campus Safety and Security at 413-597-4444.

How do I get around if I can’t have a car my first year?

The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority has a regular schedule Mondays through Saturdays with pick-ups & drop-offs at the Paresky Center. The College offers a free weekly shuttle on Sundays. Williams also has Zipcars available for students who sign up.

How about bike storage?

There is a decent amount of bike storage around campus. Mission has A LOT of indoor bike storage, and the Frosh Quad isn’t half bad either.

What about cell phones?

Check with Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T – most of these providers have fairly good service throughout campus and much of the Berkshires. Just remember to SILENCE YOUR PHONE when you’re in class!

Can I have a land-line phone in my room? How does voice mail work?

Although most students prefer to use cell phones for more convenient communication with friends and family, one can bring a landline phone to use in one’s room. The service is for local and incoming calls only and you must sign up with a private carrier for a long distance calling card if you want long distance service. To use the landline phone you must request that your landline phone jack be activated. To activate the phone jack in your room, you need to log into PeopleSoft self-service and go to Self Service > Campus Life > Dorm Phone Activation. You will need to bring your own phone to plug into the jack in your room after you activate it. Without a long distance calling card, you can only use a land-line phone to call locally, including 4-digit campus numbers and 1-800 numbers. When you pick up the receiver of your land-line phone and you hear a stutter dial tone it means you have a voice mail message. You will receive voice mail instructions when you pick up your personal access card after you arrive.

What’s my mailing address?

All mail must be addressed to your S.U. Box number. The full mailing address is:

  • (Your Name)
  • (39 Chapin Hall Drive should be added here for packages)
  • (your S.U. Box #) Paresky
  • Williams College
  • Williamstown, MA 01267

What banks do students use?

Williamstown has several banks that will have information for you at the Resource Fair on move-in day regarding their services, and the prizes (water bottles, clipboards and the like) that will result if you get an account through them.

Are there kitchens in the residence halls?

For those of you Rachael Ray or Bobby Flay wanna-be’s, Mission Park has a kitchen available on the first-floor for student use. Some nearby upperclass houses contain kitchens, and most entry common rooms have a refrigerator.

Do I need a refrigerator?

No, not really. And mini refrigerators are also the number one consumer of electricity in student dorms, so as part of Williams’ committment to lower greenhouse gas emissions we ask you to consider sharing your entry’s common refrigerator, rather than bringing your own mini-fridge.

Just bring a sharpie to write your name on items you don’t want to unintentionally share. All first year students are required to be on the twenty-one meal plan, and with so many food options available both on campus and on Spring Street many frosh who bring refrigerators find that they don’t often use them.

If you absolutely have to bring one, we recommend the Refrigerator Leasing Company.

I have been a heavy coffee drinker for a while and was planning to bring my coffee maker. What if I decide to ignore the advice about appliances?

Ignore our advice?? Bite your tongue! We’ve have already gone into a slew of options, which can save you some money, time, and will support the local businesses. But, if you choose to ignore the advice, as mentioned before, the Fire Safety Inspector or someone from the Campus Safety and Security Office will fine you and treat themselves to a night on the town (OK we made that last part up – but the fine is real).

When are Family Days?

This year they are scheduled for October 28-30, 2016 – always a weekend filled with events and top-notch food. Visit this page for more information.

Off-CampusWhere do students go to eat when our parents come to visit, or when we want something different from the options on campus?

Williamstown is small, but it’s big on food.  Students point out the following on a regular basis within easy walking distance of campus:

  • The Log – pizza, duck-fat fries, mac & cheese to die for, virtual salad bar, excellent burgers, artisan milkshakes, and other top-notch cuisine. Show your Williams student ID and you get 30% off of your dinner to boot!
  • The Purple Pub – burgers, sandwiches, pizza, in a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Hot Tomatoes, Domino’s, & Papa John’s all deliver delicious pizzas.
  • Chopsticks & Blue Mango provide solid offerings of Asian cuisine.
  • Pera offers food with a Mediterranean flair.
  • Tunnel City has great coffee and baked goods – amazing muffins, older ones are reduced price on that side ledge.
  • Hops & Vines has a wings challenge, light up non-alcoholic(?) beer pong table, other specials during the week.
  • Spice Root – cheap & fast Indian food lunch buffet.
  • Tony’s Sombrero offers Mexican cuisine.
  • Water Street Grille & Hobson’s Choice on Water Street offer sit-down-ish, pub-ish atmosphere & fare just around the corner from Weston Field, so the short walk will help burn off the dinner calories.

Other popular places within a slightly-longer walking distance or a close drive: Chef’s Hat, Desperados, Moonlight Diner, Olympic, Ye Olde Forge, Oh Crepe!, Public, ‘6 House, Mezze, Gramercy Bistro, Blue Benn, Brew-HaHa, A-Frame Bakery, the Hub, Coyote Flaco.

Any other helpful tips about life at Williams?

  • The New Campus Bookstore on Spring Street (scheduled to open August 2017) is the place in town to get your books.
  • With a $10 membership fee, you can rent outdoor equipment from the Williams Outing Club (WOC) in Paresky.
  • You can invite your favorite professor, Dean, Campus Safety officer, coach, custodian, etc., to a meal or snack at an on-campus dining venue and get the professor’s food paid for by the Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL) – they love getting to spend time getting to know you (and they enjoy the food too)!
  • For lunch during the week, Paresky is really busy and lines for food can be a bit long, so explore options to see what will work best for you.
  • Check out summer travel fellowships, summer research opportunities with faculty, summer campus employment, & alumni sponsored internships for good options for summer involvement on campus or affiliated with Williams.
  • There are change machines in Paresky & Mission, though most vending machines on campus will accept bills.
  • You can check out movies/cd’s/video games from Sawyer.
  • You can check out headphones, nice computers, chargers at the libraries instead of lugging over your own.
  • The Jessica Park Mailroom & Information Center in Paresky lets you borrow things for free, including board games, card games, and even 2-wheel dollies to bring that stack of packages from Amazon back to your room.
  • You can get a locker at the library to store your books – different from a carrel – so you don’t have to lug your stuff.