image description
The tradition of First Days introduces first-year students to the college through meetings with academic advisers and opportunities to learn about academic departments and the campus.

Berkshires Beat: Williams Prepares to Welcome Class of 2022

Print Story | Email Story

Welcome to Williams

The 540 students who make up the Williams College Class of 2022 will arrive on campus on Monday, Aug. 27, for First Days, their official orientation to the college. The tradition of First Days introduces first-year students to the college through meetings with academic advisers and opportunities to learn about academic departments and the campus. Students will also take placement exams and the college's mandatory swimming test. In between scheduled events, students will settle into their dorms and get to know their classmates.

During the second half of the week, first-year students will participate in EphVentures, a program that enhances their orientation experience with opportunities to build lasting friendships and gain an appreciation for the campus community. Participants choose among several programs that will develop their leadership skills, knowledge of the Berkshires, awareness of arts and culture in the region, and understanding of the connections between environmental sustainability, identity and social justice.
By all standard measures of academic talent, including test scores and academic performance, the Class of 2022 is impressive, selected from among 9,560 applicants. SATs for the cohort averaged 730 on evidence-based reading and writing and 739 on math; the ACT average was 33. The class is also incredibly diverse. Thirty-seven percent of students in the incoming class are U.S. students of color, and another 8 percent are international students. Of the 540 incoming students, 254 identify as men, 265 as women. Three incoming students identify as trans or transgender, and one as another gender. The students come from 41 states and represent 53 foreign countries. Seventeen percent of incoming students are first-generation college students. Fifty percent of students will receive financial aid, with an average aid award of $60,055. Four students who are transferring to Williams from another college or university will arrive after the First Days program.


Finding fame

James Sommerville, William R. Hudgins, Mark Volpe, Gary Ingle, Jonathan Menkis  and Catherine French. (Photo by Hilary Scott)

The American Classical Music Hall of Fame has inducted its newest member, Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Hall of Fame President Gary L. Ingle presented Mark Volpe, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with a commemorative medallion at the Highwood Manor on Monday, Aug. 13.

In August 1934, a group of music-loving Berkshire summer residents arranged for members of the New York Philharmonic to perform three outdoor concerts at Interlochen, a successful venture that was repeated in 1935. The Festival Committee then invited Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra to take part the following year. In the winter of 1936, Mrs. Gorham Brooks and Miss Mary Aspinwall Tappan offered Tanglewood, the Tappan family estate, with its buildings and 210 acres of lawns and meadows, as a gift to Koussevitzky and the orchestra. The first BSO concerts at Tanglewood took place in summer 1937.

In 1940, the Berkshire Music Center (now the Tanglewood Music Center) began its operations. By 1941, the Theatre-Concert Hall, the Chamber Music Hall and several small studios were finished, and the festival was attracting nearly 100,000 visitors annually. Today, Tanglewood annually draws more than 350,000 visitors. Each season offers not only a vast quantity of music, but also a vast range of musical forms and styles, all of it presented with a regard for artistic excellence that makes the festival unique.


Exercise grant

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has received a $10,000 Age-Friendly Mini-Grant, from the AARP-Massachusetts Chapter, on behalf of the town of Dalton, to help create an outdoor exercise park. The project signifies Dalton's commitment to the goals contained in the Age Friendly Berkshires Action Plan, to promote healthy, active aging and to enhance the overall "livability" of the region. BRPC is providing design assistance to Dalton for the exercise park project and provides staff support to the Age Friendly Berkshires movement.

The AARP Mini-Grants are awarded competitively across the state for "shovel ready" projects that can be completed within months from the time of application. The rapid turn-around is to demonstrate and jump-start local age-friendly efforts. The Age Friendly Berkshires Action Plan was officially launched in April of this year. The exercise park project must be completed by Nov. 30.

The park will be located on the grounds adjacent to the Dalton Senior Center on Field Street Extension. It will feature five or six pieces of outdoor exercise equipment, at three "stations" along a walkway at the rear of the facility, directly adjacent to a community playing field. The Senior Center, exercise stations and playing field are all surrounded by a newly installed sidewalk, funded through the MassDOT Complete Streets program, that creates a paved walking loop around the neighborhood. Plans for expanding the park to include potential outdoor stretch and exercise programs, accessible equipment, seating areas, trees and other enhancements, will be undertaken in a subsequent phase.


For the babies

The Kiwanis Club of Pittsfield put together packets to be handed out to new moms at the Mother Baby Unit at Berkshire Health Systems. The effort was a service project put together by the Tufts Institute and also the KPTI (Kiwanis Pediatrics Trauma Institute) located in Tufts in Boston.

The bags were delived to the Mother Baby Unit at the hospital on Monday, Aug. 13.


Amplify this

Sheffield, Mass.-based Music in Common will officially launch its Amplify concert, featuring songs written by the organization’s participants from around the world since 2010, to be performed by highly talented youth musicians at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26. The Worldwide Debut of Amplify will take place at Zion Lutheran Church in PIttsfield, Mass., with an encore performance at the organization's first-ever Raise the MIC Gala Celebration, a fundraising event on Monday, Aug. 27, at 6 p.m. at Crissey Farm in Great Barrington, Mass. More information and tickets are available online.

The Amplify concert is the culmination of Music in Common's first audition-based program, celebrating the lives of all who have been impacted by the organization's work since its founding in 2005. Amplify brings together top music talent from across the country to connect their experiences with each other -- and with hundreds of youth who have collectively created more than 45 songs and videos over Music in Common's history. During this inaugural Amplify program taking place at Dewey Hall in Sheffield, from Aug. 6-24, six performers are learning 10 songs written in previous Music In Common programs, while also writing a new piece of their own that will premiere at the Amplify Concert and Gala events.

The Raise the MIC Gala Celebration on Aug. 27 will honor the organization's director of Outreach & Engagement, Lynnette Najimy, for her 10 years of service. The gala will include an open beer and wine bar, hors-d'oeuvres, a four-course dinner, silent auction, raffle, and guest speakers, including State Rep. Smitty Pignatelli of the 4th Berkshire District, as well as an encore performance of songs from the Amplify concert.

Amplify Concert tickets ($15 adults / $12 for students) may be purchased online. Tickets purchased at Zion Lutheran Church the day of the concert will be $20 for adults and $15 for students. Raise the MIC Gala Celebration tickets ($95) are now available and must be reserved no later than Tuesday, Aug. 21, online.

Both events are sponsored in part by Greylock Federal Credit Union, Dewey Hall, and the Cornwall Inn.


Energy work

Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 22, and continuing through the end of September, Eversource Energy will be performing work at the Oswald Substation located at 314 Barker Road. The project will be performed within the existing substation fence and on the existing foundation pads.The hours of work will be from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday with the potential for Sunday work for system restoration. There will be increased truck traffic to the substation intermittently for the delivery and removal of equipment, with the heaviest of those vehicles being the cement truck.

The work being performed includes replacing obsolete equipment, bus insulators, and replacing the pad of the existing bus terminal within the same footprint at the Oswald Substation.


Learn the legislature

State Sen. Adam G. Hinds  is now seeking nominees to participate in the 81st Citizens' Legislative Seminar to be held Oct. 23-24 at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. The CLS is a semi-annual educational seminar geared towards adults of all ages interested in learning more about state government and the legislative process.

Established in 1976 through a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Senate and the University of Massachusetts, Boston, the two-day seminar features engaging presentations by state senators and staff on aspects of the day-to-day experience of legislators in the commonwealth. Topics will include the history and process of the legislature, the state budget, the parliamentary role of the clerk of the Senate and the future of the legislature. The seminar will walk participants through the legislative process including how bills are introduced, debated, and passed.The Citizens’ Legislative Seminar is part of the Massachusetts Senate's ongoing effort to increase civic engagement and open up the democratic process.  It is an opportunity to gain an insider's perspective from elected officials and staff on how Beacon Hill really works.

Each Senator is able to nominate and sponsor one constituent and an alternate to attend the CLS.  Interested residents who live in Hinds' Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District are asked to email their resume to his chief of staff, Bethann Steiner, by noon on Thursday, Sept. 6. In order to be considered for nomination you must be able to attend both days of the seminar. Those attending are responsible for arranging their own travel and lodging plans.

0 Comments welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to

Mount Greylock Committee Member Pushes to Reopen Schools

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

Steven Miller participates in a recent meeting of the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee via Zoom.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The chair of the Mount Greylock School Committee's Education Subcommittee on Tuesday repeatedly pressed the district's interim superintendent to develop benchmarks that could be met in order to allow a return to full in-person instruction.
For now, school officials are planning to begin school in mid-September in a hybrid model that sees half the students in preK through ninth grade attending classes in person two days a week with the rest of their time on learning spent remotely; sophomores through seniors in high school would attend school one day a week under the current plan.
Several times during a more than two-hour virtual meeting, Steven Miller reiterated his contention that the Lanesborough-Williamstown district is uniquely situated to move to full, in-person instruction.
"We are in a wonderful situation where we are in a rural setting with people who are responsible, who are socially distancing and wearing masks," said Miller, who also referred to the county's low incidence of COVID-19 positive tests.
View Full Story

More Williamstown Stories