As the College prepares for an in-person fall semester, a large majority of Junior Advisors (JAs) is pressing the College administration to implement changes to the entry system for the 2020-21 academic year, including an affinity housing model for first-year students. Many JAs have raised their concerns with Dean of First Year Students Christopher Sewell ’05 and have asked for a commitment on affinity housing prior to July 10, the deadline for students to announce whether they will return to campus in the fall.
With the College’s decision to welcome students back for an in-person but socially distanced fall semester will inevitably come changes to first-year student traditions, including EphVentures, the entry system and the role of Junior Advisors (JAs). The College’s decision to make First Days fully virtual will affect first-year students’ transitions into college this coming fall, while JAs currently worry that their role is evolving in detrimental ways due to potential changes to the entry system.
While an in-person commencement for the class of 2020 has officially been pushed to an unknown future date, some seniors, including Ennis and his friends, are making their own plans to celebrate their graduation off-campus in the weeks to come.
Through all of her 28 years at the College, Professor of Political Science Cathy Johnson knows the ins and outs of the sabbatical. She, like many seasoned professors, has gone on more than she can count. But Johnson’s current sabbatical has proven to be different from the rest.
Since the campus closure, many student couples have had to trade dates at Images and Blue Mango for virtual Netflix parties and FaceTime baking. From first-years who have just begun dating, to seniors who are planning their post-college lives together, all Williams couples — even those in quarantine together — are adapting their relationships to find the best ways to be together while apart.
At this point in the school year, Junior Advisors (JAs) to the next year’s freshman class would typically be in the midst of JA excursions, or “dates,” with the goal of determining who they want to work with in a co-group next year. JA dates usually entail meeting up with a group of three to six JAs and doing an activity on campus together. However, due to most students being off campus as a result of COVID-19, these excursions look very different this year.
We randomly select unixes from a list of all current students at the College for our weekly One in Two Thousand. So long as the owner of a selected unix is willing to be interviewed and not a member of the Record board, that person becomes the subject of our interview. For this week, the computer (using a script in R) chose Will McCormick ’23, who is at home in Brookline, Mass.
With President of the College Maud S. Mandel’s March 11 decision to bring normal College operations to a halt, staff at the College faced one of the biggest tasks in their entire careers: shutting down an in-person college campus and moving 2,000 students off campus, all while keeping the College running. And it has been a task that the College had been planning far in advance of Mandel’s email.
Whether we realize it or not, we are all currently living through a potentially transformational historical event. While it is difficult to gauge the future significance of the COVID-19 pandemic, a few history professors at the College are already thinking about how it will change the course of history.
Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 4:21 p.m.: President of the College Maud S. Mandel sends an email to the entire campus community, titled, “Update: Williams prevention and preparedness measures for coronavirus.”
At that point, China had been the only country with confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the tone of the email is mostly precautionary, listing advice and resources available for members of the College community.