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What Differentiates Williams

eastreachingeastreaching 10 replies6 threads New Member
What is extraordinary about Williams besides all those top tier ranking?
13 replies
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Replies to: What Differentiates Williams

  • marvin100marvin100 8568 replies1249 threads Senior Member
    I'd add the unique and incredible tutorial program. It's remarkable.
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  • eastreachingeastreaching 10 replies6 threads New Member
    That seems really great. Then what about the social scene?
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  • jersey454jersey454 73 replies2 threads Junior Member
    The Williams social scene isn't really anything extraordinary I'd say - besides that fact that you're interacting with some pretty extraordinary people - but it's definitely a healthy social scene with niches and opportunities for people of every disposition and habit. On weekends there are parties, and people who like to go to parties, but there are also lots of people who don't love partying or drinking (like myself). Just like at any college, people drink, but it's by no means a dominant force of campus life (I have never felt even the slightest pressure to drink, and the JA's make sure we don't ask "do you drink?" but rather "are you drinking tonight?" so that you don't become labeled as a "drinker" or "nondrinker"). The parties tend to be either dance parties or hanging out with people parties, both of which are fun regardless of state of inebriation. However, if you don't enjoy parties at ALL, there are still lots of things to do on weekends, like baking (yes, there's a club for baking stuff on Friday nights), plays, dance performances, student bands, a cappella groups, and other assorted fun things. It's pretty much impossible to be bored, especially since most people return to the common room at some point in the night and entertaining discussions ensue. Because there are no frats or sororities at Williams, sports teams tend to throw parties, and the parties are always open to everyone, so there's no exclusivity or guest list or anything like that. In general, the Williams social culture is really open and very accepting.

    The extraordinary thing about the Williams social scene is the entry system, which is probably the best thing Williams does. It breaks down barriers that would otherwise exist between people and, in my opinion, makes the campus as non-cliquey as it is. I love my entry and my JA's, and I honestly think that without them my experience would have been nowhere near as good as it was.

    TL;DR Williams social scene is great, 10/10 would recommend.
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  • EphmanEphman 458 replies4 threads Member
    If you are comparing Williams to other top LACs like Amherst, Pomona, Midd, Swarthmore, Bowdoin, there are far more similarities than differences. But, Williams definitely has some unique attributes (as I'm sure all of those schools do) that make it stand out, in particular:

    (1) the entry system / Junior Advisors
    (2) Winter Study
    (3) tutorials
    (4) Mountain Day (and, more generally, the incredible natural setting)
    (5) simply incredible student life and library facilities -- between Paresky, Goodrich, Sawyer Library, the science library, the Log, and the theater, Williams blows the competition out of the water when it comes to a wide variety (some cozy and historic in feel, some dramatic and contemporary) of beautiful, useful, and versatile spaces for students to hang out / study / meet / socialize.
    (6) access and exposure to art: the WALLS student art loan program, the rich array of public art throughout campus, and the amazing proximity to world class art museums (the Clark and MassMOCA, plus the WCMA, a top-tier college museum) despite being in a fairly rural environment.
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  • okdaddyokdaddy 1 replies0 threads New Member
    edited May 2015
    As a parent of a student of color who may attend Williams, I am finding it hard to accept all the pro arguments on Williams after reading the latest article on Williams Record http://williamsrecord.com/2015/05/13/english-department-recieves-letter-critizing-teaching-practices/.
    edited May 2015
    Post edited by skieurope on
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  • fragbotfragbot 274 replies1 threads Junior Member
    RE: #6.

    Could you find a link to the actual letter (I looked briefly and couldn't)? As it stands, there's a news article with effectively no information beyond three students upset about, uhhh, something.
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  • jersey454jersey454 73 replies2 threads Junior Member
    This kind of thing has been relatively common this year, but most of the complaints come from a very small population of students. Most of the PoC friends I have have had no issues with race relations here at all, nor have they felt uncomfortable or discriminated against - trust me, I asked. There are lots of conversations about race here because it's a huge issue in the world abroad (e.g Ferguson, Freddie Grey, etc.), but every single one I've had has ended with, "Thank God I go to school in a place where that stuff doesn't happen". There are people, like the girl who wrote the article mentioned in some earlier race posts on this forum, who disagree, and they're absolutely entitled to their opinion. However, I am extremely confident that the VAST majority of minority students at Williams do not feel discriminated against in the slightest.

    Now, it's totally possible that there are some teachers here who are not entirely appropriate in their racial discourse or that the curricula do not adequately cover the scope of the modern world. However, this actually demonstrates something great about Williams: three students can change the school. They found an issue and are challenging the status quo at Williams, and the college is listening. I'm not sure if that's true at other schools or not, but at Williams, student suggestions and complaints are taken very seriously. I'm not an English major, nor am I a person of color, so I can't speak to the validity of these claims (plus, where is this supposedly open letter? I'd love to read it), but I do hope and expect that the issues raised therein are changed as quickly as possible. Discrimination is absolutely not tolerated at Williams, and when people do slip up - again, as referenced in multiple articles on the Williams Alternative - there is generally campus-wide uproar and discussion on how to not have the incident happen again. I assume that the same course of action will occur in this case.
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  • marvin100marvin100 8568 replies1249 threads Senior Member
    It also seems to me that the College's response is admirable:
    “The English department takes the letter from the three students seriously,” Chair and John J. Gibson Professor of English John Limon said. “A few colleagues and I are meeting with two of them to discuss it, and soon we are meeting as a department to address the large issues it raises. Some of their aspirations for the department are actually our own, and some we have already acted on; we are hopeful that something productive will result from this new occasion for thinking through our values and practices.”

    Not sure what more you'd like? Surely students will have criticisms--of varying degrees of validity beyond their individual needs, of course--but I don't see how a school can respond better than Prof. Limon does in the above quote.
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  • BLUEPHBLUEPH 107 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @okdaddy stated:
    As a parent of a student of color who may attend Williams, I am finding it hard to accept all the pro arguments on Williams after reading the latest article on Williams Record
    @Ephman and @jersey454 made some excellent points about the pro arguments of Williams College but you deemed these statements hard to accept. But what I find a bit puzzling is how readily you accepted this article, without giving the English department the opportunity to adequately respond to the writers’ concerns.

    I read this article yesterday morning and thought the English department did a good job thus far in its response, and hope to read more about how these concerns would be addressed. I, also, would like to read the actual letter from these three students as oppose to getting excerpts.

    I am a parent of a daughter of color attending Williams and fortunately, she has not personally experienced any racism on campus or from the professors whose departments, not English, she frequents.
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  • EphmanEphman 458 replies4 threads Member
    Yeah, I'd very much like to see the letter itself, but based on the tone of what is reported, and these kind of vague type of complaints: "power structures in effect create an environment that could endanger students’ well-being, as well as hinder their ability to learn," we are talking about the sort of vague "microaggression" complaints that have become fashionable and incredibly widespread throughout academia now. I can all but guarantee there has not been a single example of any overt sexism or racism on the part of the Williams English department -- as a group, the Williams faculty are incredibly sensitized to these sorts of issues. And I note that the department itself is majority women, and has plenty of representation from a variety of different ethnic groups: http://english.williams.edu/faculty-staff/. I also note that there are WIDE range of courses devoted to non-white-male writers, far more classes than are devoted to the traditional canon. Is Williams immune from subtle differences in how students of color, or women, are perceived and treated? Like any place in our society, of course not. But I can guarantee that Williams -- an incredibly politically correct institution, with a huge institutional commitment to diversity -- and the Williams faculty in particular, is far more cognizant of and attuned to these issues than almost anywhere.
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  • EphmanEphman 458 replies4 threads Member
    Also, re: okdaddy, folks should be skeptical of anyone on this forum with only a single post, especially where that post is used to raise an incendiary critique. I'd be willing to give 100:1 odds that "okdaddy," is not, in fact, the parent of a student of color at Williams.
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  • marvin100marvin100 8568 replies1249 threads Senior Member
    I'd be willing to give 100:1 odds that "okdaddy," is not, in fact, the parent of a student of color at Williams.

    I'm not a betting man, but I do agree with you. Seen it too many times before in various parts of CC.
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