In the News

Williams Science Camp Serves Youngsters, Collegians

Learning went both ways at Williams College’s Summer Science Lab this month.  “One of my interns said this morning, ‘The kids were my teachers this week as well,’ ” lab director Stephen Bechtel said last week.  Bechtel spoke as week one came to an end at the day camp for rising fifth- and sixth-grade students.  The program saw a bump in participation this summer, reaching its capacity of 36 children per week.  Those children explored scientific themes and did experiments under the direction of Williams professors Chip Lovett and David Richardson, who are assisted by 18 college interns from Williams and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

Williams College Summer Science Lab offers ‘wow’ factor

A science-based “wow” factor is very much in play at the 17th Williams College Summer Science Lab at the college’s Morley Scientific Laboratory.

Grant Helps College Students Bring Science to Kids

The college students are teaching the kids, but in the end, the kids end up teaching their teachers, too.  Entering the third year of a four-year grant, undergraduates from MCLA and Williams College have worked with both elementary teachers and college science professors to develop inquiry-based units of instruction based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in a program called “Teaching to Learn.” They then implemented their programs with students in Brayton, Colegrove and Greylock schools – and then made tweaks as they learned from the kindergarten through sixth-graders what works.

Mt. Greylock Students Win Fourth in First Envirothon Appearance

Williams College junior Jeffrey Rubel helped a team of Mount Greylock students take fourth place statewide in their first-ever appearance at Envirothon.

Envirothon 2016

On May 12, a group of local high school students will compete in a statewide environmental science competition called Envirothon. The event—which takes place at Hopkinton State Park in eastern Massachusetts—brings teams from across the state to an outdoor, hands-on competition. Winning teams from each state will compete in Ontario in July at the North American Envirothon.

Our hungry: Recognizing the needs of food-insecure students on campus

We can all agree that it takes a lot of energy to be a student at the College, but an alarmingly large minority of us also know how hard it is to do so on an empty stomach.

CS Majors Volunteer with Local Elementary Students

Matthew McNaughton ’16, Emily Roach ’16, and Leslie Chae ’16, participated in the Williams Elementary Outreach iTeam, a pilot program of CLiA. They worked with students at Brayton Elementary in North Adams for “The Hour of Code,” to introduce young students to what coding is and get them excited. The students had limited educational experiences with computers and computer science.

Cracking the Code: Learning the literacy of new media

Students aren’t just playing computer games, they’re learning to make them.

Williamstown School Committee Hears About College’s Involvement

Williams College may be known as a premiere liberal arts college, but it’s contribution to the sciences at Williamstown Elementary School are significant.  Representatives from the college’s Center for Learning in Action addressed the School Committee at its February meeting to talk about the relationship between Williams and the elementary school.

Williams College Pledges $5 Million for Capital Needs of Mt. Greylock Regional School District Outside Scope of the Building Project

Williams College announced today that it will form a $5 million fund to support the Mount Greylock Regional School District’s capital needs outside the scope of the building project that the district is pursuing with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).

Lanesborough fourth-graders learn to look at world through ‘BioEYES’

For the past week, the fourth-grade classrooms of Sean MacDonald and Jenn Szymanski at Lanesborough Elementary School have been transformed into satellite biology laboratories, where kids could study genetics, embryonic development and animal science from the comfort of their own desks and chairs. The Williams College Center for Learning in Action for six years has donated the staff and supplies to run the “BioEYES” program, developed at the University of Pennsylvania, in local schools. This is the first year the program has been extended to Lanesborough.

Students honor legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

The College celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18 with service trips, a LEGO bridge building, a screening of Selma and several other events. The Black Student Union (BSU) set up an additional presentation in Baxter Hall on Jan. 19, which displayed pictures of police brutality victims and posters with various statistics.

Williams College to Host Annual Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.

Williams College will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of events on Monday, January 18. All are welcome to attend these free, public events.

MathBlast draws 166 High School Students

This morning, 166 high school students from Mt. Greylock Regional High School, BArT, and Deerfield Academy experienced the joy of learning math at Williams College.  Started by Professor of Mathematics Olga R. Beaver, MathBlast is meant to expose high school students to exciting topics in math that are not seen in a typical high school curriculum.

Williams College to Deepen Partnership with Mount Greylock Regional School with Annual Operating Revenue

Williams College and Mount Greylock Regional School announced today a gift from Williams that will expand the college’s longstanding partnership with the school to include annual operating funds.

SWAG starts Buxton workshops

During Winter Study, Sexual Wellness Advocacy Group (SWAG), an organization composed of students at the College, will hold workshops to educate all students who attend the Buxton School, located in Williamstown, on consent and healthy relationships.

Brayton School Receives $35,000 in Donations Toward iPad Program

Brayton Elementary School has received a $35,000 boost in technology thanks to donations from BJ’s Wholesale and a former resident connected to the school system. Stephen Drotter, son of late Drury High School Principal Stephen J. Drotter, donated $25,000 as memorial to his wife, Lynn Whitney Dion Drotter. The two donations will afford about 50 iPads for Brayton as well as technical support and teacher training.

College launches $650 million fundraising campaign

On Saturday, the College launched Teach It Forward, a fundraising campaign that aims to raise $650 million.

Curtin speaks on fighting food insecurity and poverty

Michael Curtin ’86 spoke last Friday in Paresky Auditorium, giving a talk entitled, “Fighting Food Insecurity and Poverty in America,” which addressed the history and mission of D.C. Central Kitchen (DCCK), a community kitchen founded by former nightclub owner Robert Egger.

Michael F. Curtin Jr. Talks Food Insecurity and Poverty Solutions in America

Michael F. Curtin, Jr. ’86, executive director of D.C. Central Kitchen and 2015 Bicentennial Medalist, will speak at Williams College on Friday, Sept. 18, about his experience in engineering path-breaking solutions to alleviate food insecurity, health disparities and poverty in America. The talk will begin at 2 p.m. in the Paresky Center Auditorium.

Williams College Summer Science Lab gets big reaction from students

There are plenty of creams, tablets and elixirs on the market that claim to cure health problems and ease ailments, but do they actually work?

During this month’s Williams College Summer Science Lab sessions, students were able to use professional tools to investigate household compounds, putting things like antacids to the test to see which ones really work.

Brayton Elementary third-graders stitch past and present together

Emily George had no idea that a dozen neighborhood schools once dotted the city where she lives.

But Emily and other Brayton Elementary School third-graders learned about a former school on Miner Street and even one-room schools, among others that existed circa-1896.

ScienceBlast 2015

Early on a recent spring morning, physics professor Tiku Majumder asked more than 70 Mount Greylock Regional High School students gathered in Wege Auditorium to consider a different view of science.

North Adams Teachers Show Off iPad Classroom Creativity

Learning the geography of New England. Creating illustrated books. Studying how to draw koi fish using Japanese techniques.

These are just a few of the innovate ways teachers at Greylock and Brayton elementary schools are using iPads in their classrooms — iPads given to the schools through their relationship with Williams College.

Students learn about poverty in Berkshire area with simulation

On Sunday, students from Professor of Economics Lara Shore-Sheppard’s tutorial on Poverty and Public Policy gathered with College students and members of the Berkshire community in Dodd Dining Hall to participate in a simulation organized by the Center for Learning in Action (CLiA) to demonstrate local experiences of poverty and current resources and initiatives.

Williams College Receives Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Distinction

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected Williams College to receive its Community Engagement Classification. Williams was one of 240 institutions to earn this distinction in 2015, 83 of them for the first time.

Hedrick Smith to Join March 3″Rules Change”Winter Study Project via Video Link

Via a live video link, Hedrick Smith ’55 will join the event “Rules Change and the American Dream: A Dialogue Across Generations” at Williams College on Tuesday, March 3, at 7 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, Bernhard Music Center. After summarizing findings from two years of nationwide speaking and listening, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and documentarian will join a dialogue with the audience—and with three Williams seniors who studied capitalism and government while working on the Rules Change Project during Winter Study.

Williams College Announces New Muslim Chaplain and Assistant Director of the Center for Learning in Action

Williams College has hired Sharif Rosen as the new Muslim chaplain and assistant director of the Center for Learning in Action.

Campus commemorates MLK Jr. Day with events

This Monday, the campus celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Center for Learning in Action (CLiA) commenced official celebrations at 11:30 a.m. in Paresky. As the inspiring words of King’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech” resounded through Baxter Hall, students wrote letters to prison inmates in the spirit of Dr. King’s missives written while detained in Birmingham Jail.

Williams College Joins White House Initiative on College Access

Williams College President Adam Falk will today join President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

College teams up with MCLA, local schools to rethink science education

The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant of $810,876 to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to work in conjunction with the College and the North Adams Public Schools for a program called Teaching to Learn: Improving Undergraduate Science Education Through Engagement in K-7 Science.

Goodbye Williams, with love

As I reflect on my three years at the College, I cannot help chasing the good thoughts with tears of joy and love. I cannot help but think about the 1000 students, led by the Minority Coalition, who signed a petition to administration to open a Muslim chaplain position. Despite senior administration at Williams having no clue of what that would mean or could mean to have a Muslim chaplain, they courageously listened to the student population and provided an open door. President Adam Falk was in his first year then, and this was exactly the type of daring change of diversity and institutional breadth he wished for Williams going forward. The limits of such daring change were pushed even further when the Muslim chaplain position was expanded to a full-time position that included an associate coordinating role with the Center for Community Engagement.

Muslim Chaplain Bilal Ansari Leaves, College looks for replacement

With the departure of former Muslim chaplain Bilal Ansari to the new Zaytuna College in California, the College is considering his legacy as they search for a new Muslim chaplain.

Williams Students Teach High School Chinese

Thanks to two Williams seniors and associate professor of Chinese Li Yu, local high school students can now take introductory Chinese.

Ephs break out in service learning trips

There are a few things about New Orleans that are hard to forget, like the warm sunshine, great food and beckoning streets brought to life by the splendid variety of surrounding houses, each vying to outshine the others with unique architecture and brightly painted facades. And then there’s the occasional relic of a not-so-distant past: the haunting, ramshackle frame of an abandoned home, a ravaged, lifeless plot of land that had once been someone’s backyard or a stretch of battered fence that still stands as a souvenir of the levee that failed to hold back “the perfect storm,” a constant reminder of human failure.

Center for Learning in Action plans local spring break service trips

This year, the Center for Learning in Action is expanding the popular off-campus alternative spring break projects that have been successful for years. However, due to the popularity of the off-campus projects, students are often not accepted to their first-choice programs. Also, the price of the programs is sometimes high, making it difficult to afford for students with budget constraints. In response, the Center for Learning in Action wanted to provide these students with more options. Similar to the off-campus projects, the goal of the new on-campus spring break programs is to provide group service and learning opportunities.

Mass. historical figure Elizabeth Freeman to be honored at State House

One of the Berkshires’ most notable historical figures, Elizabeth Freeman, will be honored at the State House on Feb. 25. State Representatives William Pigantelli, Byron Rushing and Russell Holmes are cooperating with the Black and Latin Legislative Caucus to host the event from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the House Chamber.

Test scores rise at local high school

Students at Mount Greylock Regional School are achieving and surpassing statewide standards on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), six years after the community decided to take action to improve falling and stagnant standardized test scores.

It takes a Village Beautiful

Over the past six years, standardized test scores have risen dramatically at Mount Greylock Regional School in all areas of study. A decade ago, the school’s falling standards were a point of concern for many community members. The rise in test scores certainly correlates with the increased community and College involvement in Mount Greylock, namely the 2008 creation of the Williams Center at Mount Greylock Regional School and the 2011-12 establishment of the Williams College Fund for Mount Greylock.

Greylock High School scheduled to undergo feasibility study

The Mt. Greylock High School Building Committee recently formed a Community Outreach Task Force in an effort to persuade citizens to support the funding of a study to examine the feasibility of renovating the school’s deteriorating facilities. Residents will be asked to vote to approve the study in late spring.

BRTA re-introduces Rt. 7 bus service for use by students, community

As of late August, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) revitalized bus service on the Route 7 corridor after a period, some estimate to be around 10 years, of discontinuation due to lack of ridership. The Route 7 bus service aims to stimulate economic development and bring local college students into the community. This service will continue until the end of the school year, at which point BRTA will assess the possibility of continuation.

Great Day of Service 2013

Ten dozen donuts and bagels, 100 granola bars, 5 boxes of coffee, 150 bag lunches, and 150 T-shirts.

That’s what it took to fuel 150 Williams students who fanned out across 14 nearby schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations for this year’s Great Day of Service in April.

Spring Break: Broadening Horizons

During spring break, Williams students scatter to the four winds. Some train with their teams or tour with performance groups. Others pursue academic research. But for a large number of students, spring break is a time to learn about and serve in communities as diverse as New Orleans, Nicaragua, and even a Navajo reservation.

Center for Learning in Action sharpens focus on outreach

Last Thursday, President Falk and Vice President for Campus Life Steve Klass announced the formation of the Center for Learning in Action in an all-campus e-mail. The Center will oversee interactive outreach programs currently housed in the Office of Experiential Education and the Center for Community Engagement. Staff to be associated with the Center will remain in their current offices while a space for the department is designated. Paula Consolini, who has served as the coordinator of experiential education at the College since 2002, will direct the new center.

Williams Students Help Develop, Teach Fourth-Grade Science Curriculum

Fourth-grade students and teachers at Williamstown, Brayton, and Greylock Elementary Schools have engaged this fall in a newly developed science curriculum created in collaboration with Williams College. The curriculum focuses on the subject of “Energy” and was written last summer by Sarah Gottesman ’14 and Mpaza Kapembwa ’15 under the guidance of Williams Elementary Outreach Coordinator Jennifer Swoap, Experiential Education Coordinator Paula Consolini, and fourth-grade teachers from the three elementary schools.

Stop. Go. Listen.

The warm-up game for 93 8th graders is simple.  Pick one of three words: “stop,” “go,” or “listen.”  When it’s your turn, stand up and face your peers, then speak your word loudly and clearly.  Sit down, and it’s on to the next student.  The game’s coach and referee is Kairav Sinha, a first-year Williams student who’s reshaping the public speaking curriculum at Williamstown’s Mt. Greylock Regional School.

A Muslim for All Williams Seasons

Bilal Ansari wastes no time.

Williams’ first Muslim chaplain and associate coordinator of community engagement arrived on campus on August 28, 2011. By August 31 he was hosting a feast for Muslim students to celebrate the end of Ramadan and helping lead Williamstown efforts to support residents flooded out of The Spruces mobile home park by Hurricane Irene.