Posted Tuesday October 10 by Theresa M. LePicier



To: All Members of the Class of 2020

From: JA Selection Committee Representatives
Darla Torres and Brian Benitez, JA Advisory Board Co-Presidents

Date: October 4, 2017 (Page of 1 of 2)

We encourage and welcome all sophomores to consider applying to be a Junior Advisor. While the role of a Junior Advisor is not for everyone, it is also not specific to one type of person. It is especially important for first-year students that the JAs reflect the diversity within our student body. If you are not sure about applying, please come to one of the meetings so you can make a well-informed decision! If you have any questions or concerns regarding the application process, or if you cannot attend either meeting, please feel free to contact Darla (dmt1) or Brian (beb2) at any time.

Mandatory pre-application information sessions will take place:

8:30 pm on Thursday, October 5th -- Paresky Auditorium (downstairs L02) –or-

6:00 pm on Wednesday, October 11th -- Paresky Auditorium

Every potential applicant must attend one (not both) of these meetings, as access to applications will only be given to those who have attended one of the sessions. Be sure to sign in on the sheet provided.

The meeting should last about an hour. You will hear the various experiences and perspectives of a panel of current and former JAs, and you will be able to ask questions—which we encourage you to do! The application process will be explained in detail. We realize that these meetings fall during a crunch time, but the information is vital to any prospective applicant’s decision.

Consider your own entry experience. This is an opportunity for you to share your entry experience, good or not so good, and incorporate new ideas, which can be the foundation for an amazing entry. You will have the chance to create a better environment for incoming first-years based on what you know and what you will learn from former JAs during training.

Google applications will be available only to those students who attended one of the Information Sessions sometime after the meetings have taken place and must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, December 1st.

JA and Peer Recommendation google forms will be available after the meetings have taken place, and must be submitted by your recommenders by 5:00 pm on Friday, December 1st.

Thank you for considering this role on campus. We look forward to seeing you at a meeting!

Junior Advising at Williams College

Since their founding by President Garfield in 1925, the Williams Junior Advisors have been the proud point people for the diversity initiative at Williams College. As the official greeters of the first-year class, they are the first faces that arriving students meet and understand to be “Williams.” The Junior Advisors became—nearly instantly—the most important people in the lives of their frosh: welcoming them into their entries, then living with them, caring for them, inspiring them, mentoring them and surely sometimes even scolding them during the always exciting, and often wildly tumultuous first year of college life.
In establishing this system, Garfield reasoned that, “during this first year in college the ground should be kept fertile for the cultivation of the attitude of mind which (Williams) seek(s) to establish,” and that, “the guidance of selected juniors” would acquaint the entering class “not only...with the ideals of the college, but…with its highest ideals.” The charge to the JA’s today remains consistent with this theme, although the demands on their sensitivity, experience, and decision-making abilities have increased significantly. With a class size of well over five hundred representing every state in the union as well as more than twenty-five nations from around the world, the need to be broadminded, tolerant and common sense wise is requisite to the position.
In her overview of the JA system, former Williams JA, Jessica Katz ’03, captured the essence of the JA mission when she wrote:
As Williams has grown in size and diversity, so too has the role of the JA. Now, Junior Advisors must be able to make ties with both males and females, domestic and international students, and students of all religions and ethnicities. Mentoring and mediating have stood the test of time since the 1920s, and are still an active part of being a JA, but the role has broadened, grown, and evolved along with the college. Each Junior Advisor brings a different, valuable perspective on academic, social, and extracurricular aspects of life at Williams College.
Chosen in March of each year by a peer panel of eighteen sophomores, juniors, and seniors from a self-nominated pool of over one hundred rising sophomores, the final JA “corps,” fully representative of the diversity of their class, numbers fifty-two. Those selected then divide themselves into pairs during a remarkable process called JA “excursions,” a part of the spring training portion of their orientation, and draw themselves into entry assignments with their “co’s” for the year ahead.
Training continues in the fall, a good portion of which is overseen by the Dean’s Office. At this point, Junior Advisors are exposed to the institutional resources—academic, health and safety, and administrative—that are already in place to serve their entry constituents, concentrating on reviewing and understanding the specific protocols for emergency care, and discuss community building skills with former JA’s and the Residence Life staff to insure as smooth (and safe!) a transition as possible for their arriving frosh.
As might be expected, the school year unfolds with the full range of dramas and crises indigenous to undergraduate life—almost always manageable in nature— to test the JA’s, their charges and their entry communities. The fact that this system has survived happily, healthily and successfully intact into its eighty-eighth year speaks not only to the success of its mission but to the quality of the individuals that are its greatest resource.

Mission Statement

Code of Conduct
As an advisor, confidant, friend, and role model, a Junior Advisor is expected to maintain a high degree of personal integrity. JA’s need to be able to interact with and support people from backgrounds often different than their own (with regard to cultural, political, racial, religious, class, sexual orientations and personal identities) while adhering to high behavioral expectations themselves. Poor decisions with regard to gossip, hook-ups, use of alcohol, etc. can reflect negatively on the individual JA; poor choices undermine the reputation and effectiveness of the entire JA corps. Repeated or serious incidents of poor decision-making may call into question an individual’s status as a JA.
JA’s are trained to endure that which is unpredicted and often unfamiliar, including emergency situations requiring quick and sound judgment. A JA should be approachable, attentive, willing to listen and should strive to create a comfortable entry atmosphere for each one of its residents. The JA's fundamental responsibility, in fact, is to establish mutual respect as their entry's primary value.
Entry Goals
To establish their entry as a fun, supportive and productive community, striving to be:
· A safe, inclusive and trusting zone where First Years and JA’s learn to support and trust one another.
· A home base for personal exploration and growth—academically, socially and extracurricularly.
· An environment where open and honest discussion of any and all issues allows entrymates to challenge and resolve differing opinions respectfully.
· A motivating context to inspire and prepare First Years to become Williams community leaders.

· Abide by the rules of the College and its community standards.
· Make choices that positively impact the reputation of JAs and the entry system across campus.
· Maintain personal responsibilities, such as academics, extracurriculars, etc.
· Attend and participate in the entirety of JA Training both in May and August; this is mandatory.
· Get to know and check-in regularly with all the First Years in the entry.
· Support fellow JA’s and utilize the group’s collective strength in problem-solving and community building.
· Maintain confidentiality to the best of your ability.
· Be open to discussions on a range of issues related to residential, academic, and social life.
· Respond appropriately to situations where the well-being of a frosh is threatened, i.e. know when to call for help.
· Refer freshmen to appropriate campus and community services while helping them communicate with the administration with regard to academics, homesickness, illnesses and other stressors.
· Hold First Years accountable to Williams standards both in and out of the classroom.
· Promote First Days activities to ease the transition of newly arrived First Years into college.
· Organize and participate in weekly entry “snacks,” traditionally held on Sunday nights.
· Schedule a range of talks, workshops and social events throughout the year that is welcoming and appealing to every member of the entry.
If you become incapable of taking care of yourself, your entry, or maintaining a safe relationship between yourself and your frosh, or yourself and your co, your status as a JA may be in jeopardy.