Welcome to Williams!
Over a decade ago, the college decided it was important to provide a resource for new faculty and administrative staff relocating to Williamstown to help ensure a family’s transition was as smooth and successful as possible. As that resource, I will help you find what you need and answer any questions you may have to help make you feel at home here.
Who helps spouses/partners of new faculty and administrative staff?
I do! My name is Marybeth Mitts, as the spouse partner resource manager, I’m here to help you assimilate to Williams College, Williamstown and the Berkshires. The college is committed to supporting the new employee, their spouse/partner, and family with the following resources and services offered through my office. I will help you with transitional support as you find schools for your children, recreational opportunities, find a spiritual community and help with employment leads in the area.
I specialize in confidential individual consultation. This can be a trying time and it helps to talk to someone who understands the stress of moving to a new place. If you have questions on where to find something you need, or you aren’t sure where to turn to find something you want, I can help you and point you in the right direction to find a suitable answer.
How do I contact you?
Email is best, or call me at (413) 597-4587. I will help answer your question or point you to the correct resource for you to find additional assistance. Let’s set aside time to get together for coffee or tea and talk. Moving is stressful and difficult; I like to meet people as soon after they arrive in town as possible. That way, I may provide you with immediate answers to many questions you may have and also get to know you, and make additional connections for you.
The Office of Spouse Partner Resources
Can you help my spouse or partner find a job?
I help spouses and partners with resume writing, cover letters and LinkedIn profile building, among other career assessment tools. I can connect partners with employers, job opportunities, volunteer connections and assist with introductions to help grow your new community a little faster.
Would you like more in depth career coaching? There are area career coaches that may also help you more deeply explore a revision to your initial career path. Is your spouse returning to the workforce? My office also provides attention to relevant issues including job loss and returning to the workforce after an extended absence.
My spouse has a job, but they work from home. Is there office space locally?
Cloud85 is northern Berkshire County’s first co-working space. Your spouse pays for a membership, and Williams reimburses 50% of the cost of membership for the first year. This co-work space has free wifi, conference rooms/phones, white boards, dedicated office space, shared office space, business office equipment, and COFFEE. The space is ideal for independent professionals, freelancers and entrepreneurs. It’s a great place to get work done.
How do I get involved in the local community?
Williamstown is a vibrant New England town that welcomes fresh perspectives and has room for people who want to effect change on local town boards and committees. If you have a passion for literacy or enjoy fundraising for a particular cause, I can put you in touch with the local chapter or group of your choice with a personal introduction.
My spouse wants to start a new career, how can they do that?
Your spouse or partner may want to go back to school to get a different job. The College has a professional development fund for qualified individuals to assist with the cost of tuition for coursework toward a degree or certification. The College wants to assist qualified spouses and partners in becoming more highly employable in the region, in an effort to ensure the long term investment of faculty and administrative staff in the region.
My spouse sees training and development opportunities that look suitable, may they attend these workshops?
The Training and Development workshops provided by the College are intended for the faculty and staff of Williams College, however, from time to time, classroom slots are not completely filled and the Training and Development Manager, Kevin Thomas, will open slots to spouses and partners in order to fill the workshops. If a particular workshop appeals to your spouse, they should email Kevin Thomas to express their interest in attending.
How will I start to meet people?
Williams is vibrant community and each fall, several receptions are offered to connect new faculty and administrative staff at the college.
- Dean of the Faculty’s New Faculty Reception, late August. New faculty only.
- The President’s Reception occurs at the Faculty Club, early September. New faculty & administrative staff and a spouse partner are invited.
- Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity’s Faculty & Staff of Color Reception, mid-September at the Faculty Club. You and your family are invited.
- Manager of Spouse Partner Resources’ Welcome Coffee for New Faculty and Administrative Staff spouses and partners. Spouses & partners of new administrative faculty & staff are invited. September; intended solely for partners and spouses.
I host monthly coffees during the academic year (the first Wednesday of each month at a rotating campus location). Each month, evening Cafe Connect events provide regular times to drop in and chat at a campus event. You may join SPR listserves for regular job opportunity notifications or social event notifications. Also, check the Spouse Partner event calendar at HR Calendars.
A Campus potluck listserve subscribes you to a group that hosts a casual dinner each semester. Bring a dish to share, your family and enjoy casual conversation with other faculty and staff and their families for the evening.
Williams Switchboard is also a good place to ASK for advice about any concerns you have or advice you may be looking for regarding your relocation questions. Also, you may OFFER that set of water skiis you moved here and haven’t used in 10 years.
I can provide personal and virtual introductions to other professionals in your field in the region. I also cooperate with Talent Connect in the Albany region, to help connect you to employment options in the Capital District.
Attend 1Berkshire (1Berkshire is the name of the regional Chamber of Commerce) events from Chamber Nights hosted by the Berkshire Young Professionals network to quarterly SPARK! events and Entrepreneurial Meetups around the region. These can all be found at 1Berkshire Events.
Facebook Group – Spouse Partners of Williams College (open group) is a good place to check in for things going on locally.
Where may I get more information on what’s around here in Williamstown?
Destination Williamstown has information on events locally posted in calendar format. Williams College has a robust calendar of events open to all. I post to a Facebook page you should check out. I want to introduce you to others in the area and get you connected so your social life is as active here as it was in the last place you lived.
How can I get a big picture overview of what resources are available to me and my family here at the college?
Information is available on a wide variety of topics at the Williams website and through the Office of Spouse Partner Resources in the Office of Human Resources. As Manager of Spouse Partner Resources, I work within Human Resources and assist incoming faculty members in coordination with the Dean of Faculty.
Resources Williams College provides
We have children and don’t know sitters or nannies in the area, please help!
We all know that when you come to work each day, you don’t stop being a parent. Williams offers an array of resources to make that balancing act easier. The Williams College Children’s Center offers a range of programs that include infant, toddler, pre-school and after school programming, and school age summer programs. The college also has a babysitting coordinator who maintains a listserve of Williams academic year babysitters. Web resources for sitters and nannies are also listed at the Area Schools on the Williams College website.
Williamstown Youth Center has excellent seasonal sports and after-school programs for K-8 students, too.
How do I get access to the gym or library on campus?
Taconic Golf Club, at 19 Meacham Street in Williamstown, allows employees of the college to join without paying an initiation fee. If you are under 40 new membership opportunities are available. See the website for more information about membership categories, fees for spouses and partners (and other family members), and club dues (413) 458-3997.
Waubeeka Golf Club, located at 137 New Ashford Rd., Williamstown, MA 01267, offers a Williams College discount.
May I take Pilates, yoga or other fitness classes at the college?
Wellness at Williams has a full listing of wellness classes available to partners at reasonable cost. Please email the instructor prior to joining a class at the beginning of a semester or when you arrive if you would like to join at any time during the semester to ensure there is space in the class.
Discounts are available to me and my family?
Check out the discounts throughout the year on seasonal activities, like skiing at Jiminy Peak. The college also participates in Plum Benefits, which offers discounts on performing arts and entrance costs from Broadway to Las Vegas, among others.
Show your Williams College ID when you check out at any J.Crew store, J. Crew Factory Outlet store or Madewell store, you will receive a 15% college discount on full-priced items.
May my spouse take a class at Williams if they are not a student here?
Auditing classes (taking the class, but not receiving academic credit for taking the class) is an option here at Williams, for your partner. Your partner should email the instructor/professor of the class they are interested in auditing. The instructor must approve your partner auditing the course and he or she will decide the level of your participation in the course, e.g., whether or not you should take tests, etc. You may take this action without any interaction with the Registrar's Office. If you decide during the semester that you cannot continue auditing the course, it would be courteous to inform the instructor by email or by phone.
Dining with students
The college likes faculty and students to take meals together, as a collegial extension of the classroom experience. To that end, faculty may take meals in the college's dining halls without charge. Faculty should feel free to take the initiative to grab lunch and ask a student if they’d like to join you. It’s a good time to chat with students from class, counsel an advisee or just to strike up a conversation with a student!
This program is exclusively for the purpose of encouraging further intellectual engagement with students.
Additional information on funds to support events beyond the traditional classroom is available in the Faculty Handbook. Your Department Chair has discretionary funds for food for student/faculty events. The Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL) through the Dean of the College’s Office also has funds set aside for student/faculty gatherings.
May my spouse and children eat in the dining halls at no cost?
Sadly, there is no accommodation made for faculty or administrative staff spouses/partners or family members to dine with (or without) students in the dining halls without charge. Feel free to charge your meal or snack at the cashier’s station! Cash is also welcome at Driscoll, Whitman’s Marketplace or Mission Park; Lee Snack Bar; Eco Cafe, Lee After Dark, Whitman’s Late Night, or Grab ‘N Go in Paresky Hall.
May my family attend campus picnics?
Faculty, administrative staff, and their families are always welcome to attend all campus picnics as they occur on Mountain Day (one of the first three Fridays each October; it’s a surprise!), the last day of classes each academic year and the President’s Reception post-commencement each year.
May my family use Williams College's catering services?
Cakes and cookies--Need a birthday cake or some cookies for the soccer team dinner, but don’t have time to make them? Williams College Dining Services does! Very reasonably priced, available with 72 hours notice. You may even be able to order lasagne, salad and bread for the soccer team with 72 hours, as well.
How do I become a member of The Faculty Club?
All Faculty and their spouses/partners are members of the Faculty Club. (Faculty dues of the club are underwritten by the college. Read: you don’t have to pay to join!) The Faculty Club hosts the college’s very own candlepin bowling alley, monthly (Friendly Friday) happy hours, special dinners, brunches, and holiday meals are celebrated: Thanksgiving and Christmastime in mid-December. You and your partner may dine during the academic year according to the published schedule of the Faculty Club. Dining services takes care of daily dining charges upon entrance to the dining area, taking cash, checks or credit/debit cards. The Faculty Club even has a summer schedule.
Will Williams provide housing for me?
Williams College offers a range of real estate options to faculty and administrative staff. Full information is available at the Real Estate and Auxiliary Services webpages. Housing program eligibility in the faculty handbook has information on the mortgage benefit and the Pine Cobble Development at Williams College. The college’s real estate map shows where college owned properties are located.
Several realtors locally also offer properties for sale or rent. The college does not endorse any realtor or firm in the region. Please vet agent(s) to best represent your interests. There are some “binders full of real estate” for rent or sale in the real estate office; just ask Bobbi Senecal or Mimi Roy when you enter the office.
Williams College housing policies, procedures and forms for maintenance and repair of college owned properties can all be found here.
Things to do and places to go
Once you are here, you’ll want to go out and do things! Destination Williamstown is a web aggregator of all things Williamstown and north county. DW curates events and activities in north county daily, providing myriad activities from which to choose. To explore the wider county, try Berkshire Visitors Bureau, an excellent web presence listing seasonal cultural, recreational and specialty activities along with information on area lodging, dining options and area discounts.
Expanding your network
Williams’ Switchboard is like our local craigslist. Need a dogsitter? ASK for one here. Have a dining room set you wish to get rid of? OFFER it on Switchboard. The site is sponsored by Williams College for use by faculty, staff, students, alumni and spouse partners affiliated with Williams College. Post your used kayak for sale, ask for a pair of used left-handed kids’ golf clubs, offer a gently used wetsuit or advice on the best camps for your 7th grader. Get what you need or give it to someone else at Williams Switchboard.
1Berkshire, the home of business in the Berkshires, is the place to check out connections for Berkshire jobs, entrepreneurial meetups, Berkshire Young Professional networking events and monthly Chamber Nights. I attend many of the 1Berkshire events hosted throughout the county throughout the year. I will help you to connect with people by introducing you around at any of these events.
Cloud85 is a coworking space in North Adams that provides common work areas, dedicated office space, conference rooms and a full complement of business services (copy machine, video/group audio conference space, wifi, coffee service) for the independent professional, freelancer or entrepreneur. This space is ideal for professionals who want to connect with other area professionals, yet have access to quality office space and services. Social and networking programming is offered monthly by several organizations. The Franklin County Community Development Corporation and the Massachusetts Small Business Administration have professionals that work regularly in the space, providing another link to funding, technical assistance and collaboration to new professionals in the region. I regularly participate with Cloud85 in collaborative programming.
Want to meet more people in Williamstown? The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce also hosts regular events, from the July 4th parade on Spring Street to the Holiday Walk in December with other seasonal town-gown activities in between, every year!
I want to go to New York City, Boston, Albany
Get to NYC, Boston, Albany: Just need your big city fix? Go to Peoplesoft’s Self-Service menu and you can make reservations on Williams’ motorcoach transport, Williams Transport. This self-sufficient, student run program provides regular service during milestone travel times (October reading period, Thanksgiving, Christmas, end of first semester, etc.) during the academic year to Albany International Airport, New York City and Boston-Logan Airport.
There are also weekend motorcoach trips available to NYC and Boston during the academic year.
I want to get around Berkshire County, but I don’t have a car
BRTA (Berkshire Regional Transit Association) offers a free weekly shuttle for anyone with a Williams ID regionally Monday through Saturday on Routes 2 and 7 providing service to North Adams and Pittsfield.
Williams Zipcar, part of the national car sharing service, is available to join on campus at modest rates.
My family has some serious issues it is facing right now. I could use some guidance.
Employee Assistance Program (e4health)
As a core benefit to all college employees, the Employee Assistance Program (e4health) offers free, confidential help with personal, family and work-related issues. Faculty, staff and their household members can receive consultation and referrals for:
- anxiety or grief
- work performance
- legal questions
- financial questions
- marital relationships
- elder care
- birth and adoption
- domestic violence
- eating disorders
e4health has an excellent online portal that offers articles, webinars and contact information to resources to help answer questions or find assistance on the issues listed above. E4health (formerly Lifescope or the Wellness Corporation) can be reached by calling 1-800-828-6025, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dial this number and your affiliation with Williams College e4health will put you in touch with resources to help you search nationally for in-home or center-based regular and back up care for children, elders and other adults.
Do you have an elderly parent that may need care if you are away on vacation or if you are too overwhelmed to care for them yourself? Many of the assisted living facilities in our region offer an introductory “sleepover”. Most assisted living or retirement communities will offer “sleepovers” as a way to test whether a parent or elderly relative might like a facility. It’s a good way to test respite service for you and your loved one for an evening/weekend. Try Sweetwood Senior Living in Williamstown, MA; Brookdale Fillmore Pond in Bennington, VT or Kimball Farms in Lenox, MA.
Great Information Available Through e4health:
Must-dos with the Family -- In the Summer!
Sand Springs Pool is a great place to swim with family, make new friends and take swimming lessons in the summer. They have recreation center with exercise machines, sauna, and enough room for croquet, horseshoes, basketball and volleyball. There’s room enough to host a child’s birthday party, too!
Each summer, it’s great to attend Film Night at Tanglewood with the Boston Pops. Film score composer, John Williams, conducts the Pops attended by film from his popular films, from Harry Potter to Indiana Jones and ET. A perfect time for an evening picnic, don’t forget the frisbee (there’s usually plenty of room on the rear lawn). Check it out!
Shakespeare & Company’s Rose Footprint show is always a family favorite. (Ticket costs are very reasonable!) Actors whizzing through the aisles, speaking to the audience, imploring the audience’s favor--all while you sit on lawn chairs under the tent in Lenox! Again, bring a picnic!
Jacob’s Pillow -- Inside/Out! Free performances Wednesday through Saturday nights at 6:15pm at the Pillow’s outdoor stage throughout the summer season--bring the whole family. In case of rain, the performance will be shifted indoors! A great way to see fantastic dance in all its forms for FREE! Bring a picnic, a juice box or two and enjoy!
Jiminy Peak’s Adventure Park and Ramblewild are great outdoor experiences for the whole family. Check each site for pricing and times! If your kids like adventure, they will love these two spots! Catamount Adventure Park has zip-lining and great hiking trails in the summer and it’s a great place to ski once the snow flies.
If there’s a rainy day you are trying to fill, try Berkshire Museum, Animagic Museum of Animation & Special Effects, Norman Rockwell Museum, MASS MoCA’s Kidspace, or a trip to the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA.
Must-dos with the Family -- In the Fall!
In the fall, there’s more great fun to be had! The college’s own Milham Planetarium at the Hopkins Observatory is a great show. It’s located on the south side of Route 2 between East College and Currier Dormitory.
Ride your bike on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail as the leaves change. If you are an outdoor enthusiast/competitor, you don’t want to miss this Berkshire Classic, the Josh Billings Runaground. Find a biker, canoeist and a runner to enter or, heck, find your inner Ironman and do the whole thing on your own!!
It’s apple picking time, and Lenox Apple Squeeze has everything from cider and pies to donuts and dolls--check it out! Berkshire Botanical Garden has an excellent fall festival close to Columbus Day weekend. Check the Berkshire Visitors Bureau for the correct weekend.
Mount Greylock State Reservation is the perfect place to see the leaves change and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of J.K. Rowlings’ Ilvermorny’s North American School of Magic. You can camp on Mount Greylock, too!
Facing a rainy Saturday in October? See the Western Gateway Heritage State Park, in North Adams, is a great place to see the longest railroad tunnel in North America east of the Rocky Mountains. There’s a history of how the Hoosac Tunnel, reportedly haunted, was built over 24 years. Fascinating!
Must-dos with the Family -- In the Winter!
During the winter months, the college offers discount ski lift tickets at Jiminy Peak. Excellent cross country ski trails can be found at Prospect Mountain in Bennington VT and at Notchview in Cummington, MA. Hiking and snow shoe trails can be found in fall and winter at Field Farm in South Williamstown. Don’t forget to check out Sweet Brook Farm’s sleigh rides and soft alpacas and llamas at the farm.
Several other alpine ski locations are available close-by in southern Vermont. Bromley Mountain, Okemo Mountain and Killington are among the closest locations. These alpine resorts also have robust summer activities offered from zip-lining to golf.
Must-dos with the Family -- In the Spring!
When spring has sprung, don’t miss Hancock Shaker Village’s Baby Animals with your youngsters. Usually held in mid-April to mid-May, you’ll enjoy it as much as they will.
Starting to think about what you’ll plant in your vegetable garden? Head to Stockbridge to the Berkshire Botanical Garden to find heirloom tomato plants and get a jump start on planting just after Memorial Day passes.