Most students looking for extra cash seek jobs on campus, working in the dining halls, the libraries and other venues. However, some adventurous Ephs find employment in the surrounding community, working in diverse capacities ranging from EMTs and firefighters to baristas and retail clerks. Although an on-campus job has its perks (location and scheduling, to name a couple), the merits of an off-campus job should not be discounted. The chance to venture outside of the College for a little bit, the opportunity to meet new people and the real-life job experience that comes with working in the larger community can make off-campus jobs appealing to students looking to explore Williamstown.
Village Ambulance/Fire Department:
Karlan Eberhardt ’13 works for the Village Ambulance and the Williamstown Fire Department. He started working at the fire department last October after inquiring in person about a job there. His work with the fire department inspired him to become an EMT, and last semester Eberhardt took an EMT-basic class and completed training to receive certification to work for the ambulance. “The only con to off-campus jobs is scheduling,” Eberhardt said. “To work normal shifts on the ambulance, I have to have at least eight hours free,” a time commitment that is often difficult. However, Eberhardt enjoys working off-campus and the unique interactions that the opportunity affords. “I definitely interact with a lot of the larger community in Williamstown, and I really appreciate that part of the job,” he said. Most of the calls Eberhardt receives are off-campus, which allows him to experience an aspect of Williamstown that many students do not.
Whether we were drawn in by the lure of delicious coffee or the scent of freshly-baked goods, most of us have stopped by Tunnel City at least once. If you have, perhaps you’ve run into Jeanelle Augustin ’15, who has managed to snag a job behind the Tunnel City counter, an experience she claims has been “a ton of fun.” According to Augustin, “eventually everyone comes to Tunnel City, so slowly you get to meet everyone on campus.” Augustin also appreciates the chance to meet people outside of the Williams community, since Tunnel City “is sort of on the precipice of Williams and real life, and you’d be surprised at all the different people who come in there.”
Working in retail also offers a break from campus life and the opportunity to mingle with locals. North Adams native Katy Carrigan ’14 has spent nearly two years working at Nature’s Closet, a Spring Street store that sells outdoor gear, including well-known brands such as Northface and Patagonia. According to Carrigan, off-campus jobs present a great way to meet people outside of the classroom. “I introduce myself to everyone who comes into the store. I meet a lot of alumni, students, and faculty. I also meet a lot of tourists, something I imagine you wouldn’t see as much of in on-campus jobs,” she said. Fortunately, Carrigan sees little conflict in coordinating her work schedule with classes. “My boss is very understanding. He gives me time off during midterms and finals,” she said.“It’s really flexible.”
Peace Valley Farm:
For the past three years, Lauren McDonald ’12 has worked with Bill Stinson at Peace Valley Farm. “A typical day … could include transplanting, seeding, harvesting, weeding, mulching, haying and delivering produce to the College and local restaurants,” McDonald said. “I learned … so much about agricultural management techniques that do not require pesticides or herbicides and [also] about how much work goes into growing food that many people just take for granted.” While Peace Valley Farm is not formally affiliated with the College, the farm sells most of its produce to Dining Services, with additional produce sold in the community. “By working at the farm, I got to see how intimately we at Williams are connected to the surrounding community and environment, even though we do not often focus on that,” McDonald said.