Chapter 4: What NOT to Bring

Firstly, a list of Please-Don’ts…

Though we’re not going to fine you for having these, in most cases there really just isn’t a need for you to bring them, OR you can find out once you get here if you really need them and then get them, OR you can get them cheaply at the ABC Sale (a great opportunity for you to Reuse something that someone else has Recycled).

Microwaves, Dorm-size Fridges, & Micro-Fridges

Mission Park has entry kitchenettes with microwaves & small fridges, and has a central kitchen as well. Frosh Quad JA’s are known to bring microwaves & small fridges for their entries to share. There’s just really no need to bring your own – they take up a lot of space in your room, and they suck up a lot of electricity.


There are TV’s in most common rooms, and you can always catch up on your favorite shows through Netflix or Hulu on your laptop or iPad (just don’t do it during class…).

Certain Wireless Devices

For bandwidth and sustainability reasons, certain wireless devices (such as routers, hotspots, wireless printers) are on the list of things not to bring. Click here for more details.


The campus is small, and most people walk. The Purple Bike Coalition has bikes that they loan out (for free) as long-term rentals, so you do not need to have a bike if you want to test our biking around campus first. The Outing Club has some bikes that you can rent out for free too.

Cleaning supplies

Your custodians will have pretty much everything you need to borrow (vacuum, cleaners, paper towels, etc.), so you don’t need to stock your own. A deodorizing spray of a scent of your own preference might not hurt, but be cognizant of your entrymates’ allergies.

Kitchen/cooking items

Best to just bring a reusable mug. Most Williams students do not do a lot of cooking, but there are a couple of equipped kitchens on campus where you can cook if you think you’re a Rachael Ray or Gordon Ramsay in the making. You’ll be eating most/all meals in one of the College’s several dining venues, and they have the dishes covered.

Plastic risers for the bed

Do you like sleeping very far off the ground on a lifted bed? If no, then don’t bother. Your quality of sleep is more important than those extra couple of inches gained with risers.


Room lamps often end up unused, so hold off on this & see if you turn out to be a Williams student who spends a lot of time in your room, and then buy a lamp from someone who was not as wise as to wait & see what their Williams lifestyle is truly like.

Light Bulbs

Facilities will replace lights that come with the room when they burn out. If you bring your own lamp and want to bring extra bulbs, bring energy-efficient CFL or LED bulbs, which last longer.


Use a computer calendar – you will get a Williams Google account, and it’s great. Williams also sends out more free calendars than you will be able to use in a year.


The power almost never goes out; use your cell phone and if you are going on WOOLF you may have already brought a headlamp anyhow.

Bottled Water

You will be given a reusable Williams water bottle; Williamstown tap water is delicious and healthy, and there are bubblers around campus as well.


We recommend visiting the ABC sale, they always have a ton for sale.

Next, a list of Have/Do-And-Be-Fined(-or-Worse)’s…

Williams grants students many freedoms and treats them with a great deal of respect. However, there are rules and regulations, and students are pretty good about following them. Each rule has its reasons and we don’t find them too extraneous, but in true Williams spirit, you should always feel free to ask “why” such rules are in place – there is always an answer.

The rules include a few things that the college strictly forbids. It will save you some grief, your item being confiscated, a not-insignificant $$ fine, and possible College disciplinary action if you take note of & heed the following list of may-not-have’s. If you have any questions regarding the acceptability of a particular appliance or item not listed, call the Office of Environmental Safety & Compliance at 413-597-2406.


Even if you have any unlit (the theory is they could eventually be lit … who knows?), they are not allowed. They have a habit of causing college-ruled paper fires and we can not have that. After your on-campus residency comes to pass, feel free to burn all the candles you like, in your own non-Williams home, within the terms of your own lease. But for your time at Williams, leave them at home & keep the College’s Fire Safety Inspector at bay. (Students who need to burn candles for religious purposes may call the Chaplains’ Office at 413-597-2483).

Air Conditioners

You are going to school in Williamstown, Massachusetts, not Death Valley. Bring a fan if you are really set on a chilled environment; an AC unit will only eat space, energy, and money. (Students who require an air conditioner for health reasons must submit a Special Housing Consideration request; submission of a SHoC request does not guarantee approval.)


Other than fish in a small tank (less than 5 gallons), no student–owned pets are permitted in College housing. Sorry – Fluffy & Fido need to stay at home. (Students who require a Service or Assistance Animal, click here for important information.)

Appliances with Heating Units or Coils, including:

  • Coffee Makers (big taboo). You can get it at breakfast. Or the Goodrich Coffee Bar. Or the Paresky Snack Bar. Or the Eco-Cafe in Schow. Or the vending machine in Sawyer. Or the Log. Or pick some up in the quality Tunnel City Coffee Shop on Spring Street. Or work off a Coolatta from Dunkin’s by walking there & back. Or go to Cumby’s. Or heat up a cup of water in your building’s microwave & use instant coffee. Lots of options (we in the Berkshires love our coffee, obviously.) The cost of the fine will pay for a year’s worth of java.
  • Toasters/Toaster Ovens. Why bring them in the first place? Bagels go bad in a day. Bread will get moldy. It really is more of an aesthetic than functional appliance when it comes down to it. Save space and money – leave it home!
  • Hamburger and Sandwich Makers. Who ever came up with this nifty little invention? Probably a Williams graduate who was deprived of such things. Is George Foreman an Eph?
  • Hot plates (good for little brother pranks, but not for your good standing).
  • Crock Pots (no more stews, sorry).
  • Broilers (mind you we do have dining halls).
  • Bread Makers.
  • Electric Space Heaters (get another blanket/sweater).
  • Electric Wok (even those purchased on TV for $19.95, stick-free or not).
  • Electric Fry Pans (seriously?? who are you, Martha Stewart?).
  • Electric or Gas Stoves (leave the Coleman with Dad for his camping trips).
  • Deep Fryers (again, we have dining halls if you really need to punish your arteries).
  • Beer Coolers (don’t go there) and kegolators (nor there).
  • Hot Pots.
  • Any other appliance with a heating unit or coil.

Cinder/Cement Blocks

Past students used them to raise their beds for additional storage. While carrying them up three flights of stairs might sound like a good beginning-of-year workout to you, many cinder blocks have been left behind in the past, making for an unnecessary end-of-year workout for the custodial crews. Save the workout for Lasell Gym for both you & your custodians, and if you absolutely need to raise your bed, bring the plastic risers instead.


Smoking is not allowed in any college building, nor within 25 feet of the buildings (who wants to be puffing during a snowstorm anyhow?).

For more housing policies, click here.  For more information about general rules, regulations, & College policies, check out the Dean’s Office website’s Policies page.