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Summer in Williamstown
See Summer 2009 for the scoop on this upcoming summer, including a list of student residents.
So you're thinking about summering in Williamstown? It seems that many scoff at the idea of spending any more time in this rural haven than is absolutely necessary, but summers in Williamstown can be quite enjoyable. The school itself offers a variety of lucrative employment positions and there is plenty to do in the surrounding area as well.
Jobs at Williams
A large percentage of the students who stay in williams for the summer are employed through various academic departments doing research for their theses, although working on campus doesn't exactly require such a project. Many departments will provide housing but no meal plan or perhaps the other way around, housing is generally around $35 per week and meals in packages of 5, 10, 14, and 21. Inquire to the department of your major for summer job opportunities; usually to get the job you must stay here for most of the summer. Another employer during the summer at Williams is the Conference Office. Information about the Summer Conference Office can be found on their website. Before spring break each year, the conference office jobs are posted on the website, daily messages and through campus mailings.
Research jobs include:
- SMALL math research program (students live in Garfield)
- physics research
- biology research
- chemistry research
- computer science research
Apart from research, there are plenty of other jobs on campus:
- The environmental studies department provides positions for Caretakers in Hopkins Forest, librarians in the CES library, and occasionally a gardner for the grounds around Kellogg House.
- Both Sawyer and Schow have student positions, although obviously fewer than during the school year. Library work is tedious, but pay is decent and it's all air conditioned.
- OIT conducts the summer Williams Instructional Technology (WIT) program
- Buildings and Grounds has some jobs, mostly what you would expect: Lots of hard work clearing brush or trash or whatever.
- The Admissions Office hires anywhere from 5-10 student representatives for the summer. It's one of the most sought-after positions on campus year round and the summer is pretty competitive as well, and unbelievably fun. The summer peaks in July and August where they really need people. Also, if you have other traveling plans, this is a great option for someone who wants to be in Williamstown for part of the summer instead of the entire time.
- The Theatre department holds the Summer Theatre Lab for six weeks June-August, in which students work with alumni and members of the Williamstown Theater Festival to workshop original material.
Mass MoCA, various non-profits in North Adams and Williamstown, Tanglewood, Peace Valley Farm, the Clark Art Institute, and Overland Adventures all provide summer employment or internships. For many of these you'll need a bus pass or a car, the bus is reasonable and quick for North Adams. This is by no means an exhaustive list, the OCC probably has much more information. Many people who work in the surrounding area get alumni sponsored grants.
- Many recently graduated Ephs (and also not too recent) work at Waterfront Media in North Adams' Mass Moca.
Summer on campus housing starts with a smaller scale room draw late in spring semester. Usually there will be only 2 or 3 dorms availiable. In past years, these have included Sage Hall, Morgan Hall, the Greylock dorms, Mission Park, and East. As mentioned earlier, past summers it's cost $35 per week, so if you want to stay away from home it's budget friendly.
Some departments (i.e., all of the sciences) will subsidize housing costs with purchase of a meal plan, or subsidize meal plans with purchase of housing. Other programs, like the SMALL summer Mathematics program, will take care of you entirely, paying for summer housing in a particular dorm.
Often students living in summer housing will have to purchase a meal plan; 5 is the smallest. Meal plans cost $5 per meal; i.e. the 5-meal plan is $50 per two week pay period (the cost is automatically deducted from your paycheck). Every summer there is some upset about the lack of kitchen facilities, as the school prioritizes summer conferences and allocates many of the dorms with the best resources to programs like Nike Tennis Camp.
Still, Williams students find a way to eke out their existence. People who want to cook for themselves can us the CES kitchen in Kellogg House, the kitchen in Rice, and, if open, the kitchen in whichever Greylock dorm is in student use.
One dining hall is open for student use over the summer, and Grab and Go provides their usual lunch options during the week. Dining halls are shared with Williamstown Theatre Festival staff as well as summer sports students. Dining Services has been known to try out new menu options over the summer.
See Summer 2008 for the scoop on this summer, including a list of student residents.
Anyone content to stay here will find that beside other college students there are plenty of other youths around, some from the Williamstown Theater Festival and some from various sports camps. You'll know the latter have shown up when you see loads of blinging mercs and lexuses cruising around piloted by trophy mothers.
There are also a number of incoming freshman participating in the Summer Humanities and Social Sciences program or the Summer Science Program.
Things To Do
Surprisingly, the Berkshire region offers a fair amount of things to do during the summer. The most popular activities include:
- Williamstown Theater Festival (Free tickets for ushering)
- Concerts at Tanglewood
- Steeple Cats games and other summer fun in North Adams
- Fourth of July! (the fireworks in North Adams are awesome)
- River kayaking or tubing (for example, at Zoar Outdoor on Route 2)
- Green River swimming, tons of green river swimming, at all times of day
- WUFO maintains a summer pick-up listserv (last year: vindiesel@wso)
- Eat every flavor of ice cream at Lickety Split at least once.
- Eat at Lickety Split for 16 straight days.
- Watch every movie that comes to Images
- Lots of good beer-drinking outdoors, during the most beautiful time of the year.
- Play the empty Taconic Golf Club every day at dusk until 9pm
- Karaoke in North Adams at Gringo's Restaurant on Friday nights
- Outdoor beirut! The rooftop stadium behind the Harrison Gallery is a perfect spot.