The Williams Record

Before and after a pandemic strikes: a photo series


April 22, 2020

While close to 100 students remain in dormitories at the College and some operations continue to run, quads, buildings and dining halls lack the energy and buzz that usually fill campus in the spring. In the weeks since the College’s move to remote learning as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified, life on both sides of Route 2 have lost the foot traffic and spirit that higher education offered to Williamstown. In this photo series, we explore the visual evidence of a campus that shut down as a pandemic struck.

Taken on April 15, 2020. Kevin Zhang Yang /The Williams Record Taken on Feb. 10, 2020. Jeongyoon Han/The Williams Record

20 students found seats in Baxter on Feb. 10 to sit in on a Three Pillars Plan town hall meeting, where representatives of the College Council Task Force answered questions regarding the new student governmental structure laid out by the Task Force. With laptops and course packets in hand, students posed their queries, as some finished project assignments but stayed around to absorb the latest in student governance. Now, couches remain intact, but College Facilities have removed tables and stackable chairs in order to keep best social distancing practices. Paresky’s hours are restricted and only service the approximately 100 students left on campus following the shutdown.
April 15, 2020. Kevin Zhang Yang /The Williams Record Taken on Nov. 10, 2019 Irene Loewenson/The Williams Record

Snacking on freshly baked homemade cookies, students gathered in Dodd Living Room to listen to Lucia Wiggers ’22 share their experience spending part of their childhood in Russia as that week’s Storytime storyteller. Storytime, a student group that hosts storytelling events on Sunday nights with the aim to build community on campus, has since moved to virtual storytelling platforms, such as Zoom Storytimes and podcasts.
Taken on April 15, 2020. Kevin Zhang Yang /The Williams Record Taken on Feb. 19, 2020. Jeongyoon Han/The Williams Record

Claudia Rodriguez ’21 (left) and Surabhi Iyer ’21 (right) studied in Lee Snack Bar on a busy afternoon, full of students and community members gathered for a midday meal. The once-coveted booths now remain unbothered as a strange silence fills a normally noisy Paresky.
Taken on April 15, 2020. Kevin Zhang Yang /The Williams Record Taken on Dec. 7, 2019. Irene Loewenson/The Williams Record

One event that always increases foot traffic in Sawyer and Paresky Quads is the annual Reindog Parade, a winter celebration typically held in December where Williamstown residents showcase the best “reindogs” of all types and sizes. As spring arrives in the Berkshires, campus facilities continue to tend to the College’s lawns, trees and other public spaces.
Taken on April 21, 2020. Kevin Zhang Yang/The Williams Record Taken on Sept. 7, 2019. Irene Loewenson/The Williams Record

Enthusiastic art connoisseurs were able to enjoy the warm September weather while camping outside the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) the night before the fall Williams Art Loan for Living Spaces (WALLS) selection. WCMA closed its doors on March 16, leaving art exhibitions such as “Landmarks” viewer-less indefinitely. In the meantime, however, WCMA Director Pamela Franks wrote to the Record, “During this temporary closure, we will work hard to find new and creative ways of fulfilling our mission and sustaining these vital connections among people and art.”

Photography: Jeongyoon Han, Irene Loewenson, Kevin Zhang Yang

Multimedia web editor: Aki Takigawa

Writing: Jeongyoon Han

Editor's note: A previous version of this article misgendered one of the depicted students. We sincerely apologize for the error.