As we bring to Williams the most promising students from all backgrounds and every part of the world, we know that they come with a variety of academic experiences. We aspire to help all of our students achieve their academic potential, and in this campaign we seek to build endowment for comprehensive student support, including one-on-one counseling, peer tutoring, disability support services, and our writing workshop and math/science resource center.
“The wider world is now with us for the duration, and we must move to meet it.” So said Williams President Jack Sawyer some 50 years ago. Today, that wider world is more connected and more complicated than ever, and deeply in need of leaders with global perspective and a sense of responsibility for advancing society. Williams students are eager to lead. We must invest now in the experiences, conditions, and opportunities our students need to be effective in the world, to both do well and do good.
Learning Outside the ClassroomWe must create the conditions and opportunities and provide the institutional support and mentors necessary to foster learning that occurs outside the classroom—in research and fieldwork guided by faculty members, in diverse learning opportunities on campus and off throughout the academic year and summer.
Arts programming is a vital part of the education of all students at a residential liberal arts college, and the quality, quantity, and breadth of such programming at Williams distinguishes us from our peers. To solidify and enhance our arts programming, we seek dedicated endowment to support performances, exhibitions, and acquisitions across the visual and performing arts.
Building on a rich tradition in the visual arts, the college is studying comprehensively the facilities that support the activities of both the art department and the Williams College Museum of Art. Needs and opportunities identified through this study, as well as through the department’s self-study and the museum’s strategic plan, may lead to a vision for an ambitious proposal for a new home for the visual arts at Williams, requiring of significant new investment.
About a third of Williams students complete a senior thesis, and even more pursue independent research of some kind, mentored by faculty. These experiences, no matter what the discipline, often require travel, equipment, and materials, with fieldwork necessary in the summer before senior year. An endowed fund to support these research activities outside the classroom would further enhance the quality of our capstone academic experiences. Financial support for such research could be direct or indirect, providing funding for research and living expenses or allowing students receiving financial aid to forgo summer earnings requirements in order to pursue research projects.
An endowed fund for Winter Study would enhance greatly both our on-campus opportunities and travel courses for students during this January term. We seek to bring a greater diversity of alumni and others who teach Winter Study and, in turn, to enhance our Winter Study curriculum. At the same time, we aim to meet the tremendous demand for Winter Study travel and independent study with greater financial assistance for students taking these courses.
Building CommunityIn myriad ways, we must foster the integrated intellectual, social, and physical development of our students. We seek to build endowment for a number of initiatives that represent a strategic investment in the student experience, seizing the opportunity to model in our community the values of the society our graduates will build.
Our students learn as much from experiences outside the classroom as from those inside it. The work to build and sustain the community that enables such critical learning is complex and demanding, requiring financial support as well as expert guidance. With a fund for such programming, we can marshal the resources to expand and deepen this work, providing support for Davis Center programming, Chaplain’s Office activities, First Days, spring break service trips, and a variety of campus events and activities.
A new residence hall to replace Harper and Mather houses on Stetson Court is under way. We seek in this campaign to support this critical project, which will provide about 60 student beds in an attractive residence hall near the center of campus, the first such new facility in more than 40 years. Students, faculty and staff collaborated in creating its innovative design, building on an extended campus-wide consideration of the objectives our residential program and the critical importance of modernizing our facilities to meet those goals.
Students come to Williams to work closely with and get to know our faculty, and alumni tell us those relationships are influential and long-lasting. In this campaign we seek to build dedicated support for opportunities to bring together students and faculty outside of the classroom, to encourage the development of meaningful guidance and mentorship.
Climate change is a complex, global problem that requires meaningful action and a deep commitment on the part of an entire society. At Williams, we seek to contribute to solutions through the education we provide, the example we set, and the investments we make toward a more sustainable future. In this campaign we aim to build endowed support to pursue ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving carbon neutrality through investment in sustainable energy, sustainable building practices and design, and a reduction in fossil-fuel consumption community-wide.
With the completion of the Weston Athletic Complex, the college now has an opportunity to further enhance the overall student experience by building endowed support for athletics. Such endowment would support the equipment and travel needs of varsity teams, as well as our club sports program, which has seen a steady increase in participation in recent years. Some 60 percent of our students now participate in some kind of organized athletic activity on campus.
Connecting with the WorldWe seek to build endowment for initiatives designed to connect students with the wider world. Such connections hold deep educational value for our students, and they contribute to meeting very real and considerable needs in our region and beyond.
Today’s Career Center emphasizes career discovery over mere job placement, encouraging students to engage early and often with the center in their time at Williams. We aim to build support to allow the center to undergo modest growth and support a host of new or enhanced initiatives that fulfill its mission, including alumni-led career discovery programs on campus, online access to libraries of job opportunities, and financial support for student travel and attire for fellowship and job interviews and for graduate school application fees.
Established in 2013, the Center for Learning in Action connects the curriculum and campus with the community. The center works with faculty to develop course-based experiential learning and enables students to join frontline problem-solving efforts in communities in the Berkshires and beyond. Not only does such work have deep educational value for our students, it also helps meet the very real and considerable needs in our region. We seek in this campaign to build support that would make it possible to both extend the center’s programs and broaden participation opportunities for students whose financial circumstances may otherwise limit them.
Summer internships provide critical firsthand experience for our students and allow them to connect their classroom learning to decisions about future academic and professional goals. In this campaign we seek to build significant support for internships, to meet growing demand and ensure opportunities are available broadly to students, including those receiving financial aid.
The health and quality of the Mt. Greylock Regional School is essential to the recruitment and retention of college faculty and staff. The Williams Center at Mt. Greylock, established in 2008, provides academic support for Mt. Greylock students and fosters academic collaborations between the college and the school, including programs in writing, math, science, and arts. We seek in this campaign to endow a program of professional development, technology investment, and curricular innovation at Mt. Greylock.