Shutdown by the numbers: Capturing the campus closure in a few key figures

Rebecca Tauber

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads throughout the world, the past few weeks have been unprecedented for the College. President Maud S. Mandel’s email on March 11 announcing the closure of the campus and transition to remote learning set off a flurry of logistics and decisions; there were events to cancel, flights to book and emails to send. In an attempt to capture this moment in history, the Record has compiled figures that represent that final crazy week on campus.

150 hours: The amount of time between Mandel’s email and when students had to leave campus

Mandel sent her email just before 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Mar. 11. Students had until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 17, to move out of their dorms, unless senior staff approved their petition to stay on campus.

Approximately 100 students: The number of those currently remaining on campus

Of the approximately 350 students who submitted petitions to stay on campus, around 150 were approved and approximately 100 chose to stay.

$350,000: The amount of money that the College spent paying for student travel

The College reimbursed students on financial aid for travel costs home, from flights to gas to other related expenses.

7,000 boxes: The number of brown boxes bought for students to pack up their belongings

The College provided students with moving boxes and packing tape and offered students the option of leaving the boxes in their rooms for free storage until students return. While the College ordered 7,000 boxes, some were left over and will be saved for future use.

36 shuttles: The number of buses and vans that transported students to Albany, Boston and New York

The College rearranged its transportation schedule, added shuttles and provided free transportation for students during the final week on campus.

$5,261,140: The amount of money refunded to students for room and board fees

The College refunded students for room and board feeds based on their family contribution. The minimum refund was $1,850 and the maximum refund was $3,000, for an average refund of $2,693 to a total of 1,953 students.

687 comments: The number of comments submitted on the College’s COVID-19 response form

As of approximately 4 p.m. yesterday, the College had received almost 700 comments and questions on its COVID-19 website form.

190 competitions: The number of games, matches and tournaments cancelled for all men’s and women’s spring sports

This figure does not include the NCAA competitions cancelled for winter sports or NCAA games spring teams might have qualified for had they completed their seasons.

23 performances: The number of spring events cancelled on the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance’s calendar

This figure does not include all the Cap and Bells, a cappella, dance and other performances that would have also occurred throughout the rest of the spring semester.

767 emails: The number of correspondences saved in Mandel’s coronavirus folder

She started the folder on Mar. 2, so this does not include emails before then or emails that have since been deleted.

110 memes: The number of posts in the student meme Facebook page, “Williams Memes for sun-dappled tweens”

This figure was updated as of noon yesterday and includes posts on a wide range of topics from grading changes to reimbursements to searching for love in the final days on campus.

Provost David Love, who provided the financial figures for this article, summed up what many had to say when trying to capture the College’s closure through numbers: “I wish that we had a measure of how much we miss having all of the students on campus, but that’s tough to quantify!”