62 Center: The location of most of the theaters (and therefore, performances) on campus. Also some dance studios and a pretty huge, rarely used, extremely clean bathroom that can be used for freezing walks between Greylock Quad and Paresky. Apparently the basement is good for finals cramming since approximately no one ever wants to hang out in the theater basement (except theater majors… study at your own risk).
82 Grill: Tiny Pizza/Sandwich/Nacho/Beer place in the basement of Paresky with virtually no cell phone service. They’re trying soo hard to make it a cool place to hang, but no matter how many large televisions and class banners they hang, the only people found there are those who are consuming their pizza as quickly as they can (the complete lack of any cell service doesn’t help). They serve lunch, too, and it’s located next to a pool table, ping pong table, and pinball machines. Be careful going down the stairs if your shoes are wet or if you’re drunk; they’re made of really hard stone and can be slippery as hell, as the frequent bruises on my ass prove.
A Cappella: Although almost everyone on campus has been to an a cappella concert, it seems that most people don’t ever want to actually go to the over-crowded shows unless they know someone in one of the seven groups on campus. However, once the singing starts almost everyone has a good time. Plus, the after-parties rock.
Adam Falk: Our President. Decidedly not Morty, but we love him anyway for his remarkably long emails about topics that could probably be covered in a paragraph or two.
Amherst College: Sucks. They stole half of our library to form their stupid school with an even worse mascot (Lord Jeffs? What the hell?) and lose to us regularly in pretty much everything. They, just like poop, are number two (or three). The oldest rivalry in sports, apparently. Although it’s hardly a rivalry when Williams consistently wins…
Beirut: The Williams College drinking game of choice. Not referred to as Beer Pong (that’s played with paddles), beirut consists of two opposing ‘racks’ of solo cups filled with cheap light beer. Each team tries to throw a ping pong ball into the opposing rack’s cups in order to force to other players to drink. This makes the game a win-win; either you win or you get drunk. The house rules are always the observed rules and should be clarified before each game, although, for the record, people who ‘bounce’ their shots are thought of as total wimps (by me). If someone on the other team tries to bounce a shot in, and you’re tipsy at all, the result is often an attempt to swat the ball away that ends up with a completely cleared rack and a floor covered in beer. Other popular drinking games include, but are not limited to: Civil War, flip cup, chandeliers, up the river/down the river/bus stop, and Beiripped (a hybrid of beirut and flip cup).
Binary System: Needless to say, there is an extremely high level of intelligence among the students at Williams College. This, however, has a direct effect on people’s self esteem and students end up just not giving a shit about what they look like and the result is… not the most beautiful people on campus [read: ugly chicks and dudes]. Instead of the widely recognized 1-10 scale that is normally used to rate coeds and peers, Williams operates on a more forgiving binary system of “would” or “wouldn’t.”
Clark Museum: A really, really nice world-renowned highly acclaimed museum of fine arts. Amazing place to visit on a rainy weekday, as it’s often empty and is free for students.
Combo Za: An improv comedy group on campus. Although they’re made up of pretty funny people, the shows can be really awful to sit through if the crowd isn’t energetic or if any of the members are having an “off” night. They’re much funnier if you’re under the influence, and I would strongly recommend against going to a Za show sober (even/especially if you’re performing in it).
CUPPS cups: Sweet travel mugs you (used to) get as a frosh. I don’t know if they’re still handing them out due to being total cheap assholes.
DHS: Apparently we have two student-run comedy groups on campus. Who knew? They are pretty much the same people in Za, but their skits are scripted which actually makes them way funnier and their shows way more enjoyable. Hopefully they’ll gain popularity, but even if they don’t, they’ll still be a funny-ass group of people who are good at what they do (despite being named after the Department of Homeland Security which is supposed to be a joke but quite frankly I just think is disrespectful and not funny since they actually do their job sometimes. FEMA would have been better).
Dirt Lot: FREE (illegal) PARKING! Behind Currier Quad. Although the school has threatened to tow cars parked in this lot, I think they have only towed 2 ever and this lot is often literally filled with cars. Even if your car is ticketed by the Williamstown Police, the tickets are only $15, compared with the $150 charge for a parking decal for Williams Parking and the $50 tickets doled out to any car with a Williams decal on it. If you park in the dirt lot and don’t have a Williams decal, you can also park anywhere on Williams campus (for at least a couple of hours) without getting ticketed.
Eco Cafe: The place for breakfast in Schow Atrium. If you plan on going before your morning class, make sure you arrive like 20 minutes early because the lines are longer than Rasputin’s you-know-what.
Entries: The housing system that freshmen are sorted into. Groups of twenty some-odd frosh who live together with two JA’s. They study together (sometimes), play together, and inevitably either end up hating each other or becoming the closest of friends. Or hating each other.
Estrogym: The more feminine facility for working out (Get it?!? Estro… gym? Like estrogen! And gym! Wicked). Super clean and new and packed with machines and gizmos and who knows what. Lacking a juice bar or any male eye-candy (they’re all downstairs in the scary dungeon-like weight room). People who are found in the estrogym are either workout fanatics who spend 4 hours a day on the elliptical, or people like me who got the munchies the night before and ate three pizzas and feel guilty so they end up sitting on a bike for 20 minutes pedaling half-heartedly and leave to get a sub from Subway.
First Fridays: The first Friday of each month, there is a huge party in Goodrich. Generally, the only good First Friday is the first First Friday. Otherwise it’s a total frosh-fest. Cougars’ and cradle robbers’ paradise.
Frosh Quad: One of the two options for Frosh housing. Made of two buildings (Sage and Williams) with six entries per building (A through F). Location of many tent parties, mysterious beer-related happenings in the basement, and tiny but rambunctious common room parties, Frosh Quad has mostly small but nice rooms (although about half are doubles) and a killer location right next to Paresky.
Frosh Revue: Definitely with a bit of a reputation, they are a mysterious and selective improv comedy group consisting of (usually) 10 frosh and four FR-alum directors that ‘explore’ life at Williams. Want to know more? Tough. The #1 rule of Frosh Revue is that there are no questions.
Goodrich: Student-run coffee/breakfast place with ample seating, pretty quick service, and an actual assortment of good(ish) coffee. Lines are wacky and follow no understandable pattern; sometimes you can stroll right in 3 minutes before class, while other times you have to wait a good half an hour to get your bagel (did I mention how f*$%ing good the cream cheese selection is? Really f*$%ing good). Also a common venue for multiple on-campus events (like the infamous Gunther concert that resulted in a totally broken floor… Epic).
Greylock Quad: Dorms consisting of Bryant, Mark Hopkins, Carter, and Gladden (from left to right, in that order). A popular mnemonic for the order of these literally identical buildings is “Big Hairy Crew Girls,” and although I’m not sure how much the crew team likes that, it is a really easy way to find your way around on a drunken Friday night. I have been at Williams for four years now, and I still get lost inside of these dorms. Also, much to the disdain of the students, the Greylock dining hall has recently been ‘re-purposed’ as a room that does not serve food and is rarely open. Used to be the location of the popular Purple Valley party hosted by WUFO until they trashed the place and were banned.
Hoxsey: Could refer to any of the co-ops on Hoxsey St. These are often the location of keg parties so packed tight that any movement is next to impossible. But, hey, free beer.
JAs: Junior Advisors. Two in charge of each entry. I cannot believe this is an unpaid and actually desirably position, but hoards of sophomores apply and are part of an arduous process to become glorified babysitters with no compensation and no way to even get their devilish little frosh in trouble. However, it definitely makes adjusting to college life much easier for the frosh, and that way they get to pretend to have upperclassmen friends (although, be warned, frosh: your JAs don’t want to make every alcohol run for you and are not a taxi service).
MCLA: We have another college that’s close to us? Weird. Chances you’ll find a Williams student at a MCLA function? Zero. Other way around? I don’t know, I’m not a mathematician. Maybe like 2.5% or something.
Meadow: Where innocence goes to die. Refers to one of two party houses on Meadow St. (right off of Water St. and behind Currier Quad through the Dirt Lot). Often filled with kegs, sweaty male athletes, and confused female frosh, I wouldn’t recommend showing up at this place sober or before midnight. If you’re headed to a party there in the winter, be prepared to wear something very warm for the hike over, with something very skimpy underneath for the sure-to-be sweaty kegger slash dance party slash throw-up-on-the-rug-fest.
Mission: One of the two options for Frosh housing. Made up of four ‘buildings’ (Pratt, Armstrong, Dennett, and Mills), Mission is weird looking with bizarre room shapes (no right angles) but is very lovable. There is (arguably) the best dining hall located in the basement and some people have been known to never leave Mission for all of Winter Study, although that is not recommended.
Monkey Carrels: Bunk-beds but actually instead of beds they’re tiny desks with uncomfortable foam benches. Located in the basement of Sawyer, these oppressive study cages are covered in the graffiti of the desperate crammers who came before. They are really dumb, for real. Only go there if you have a paper you haven’t started that’s due in less than 10 hours, or if you love migraines.
Moocho Macho Moocow Military Marching Band: I always thought that a random group of people dressed in ridiculous and mismatched clothing met and played awful music at our football games, but I just discovered (while doing research for the ‘Cactionary) that this is an actual official band that rehearses. I guess you learn something new every day. Despite their awful name, mediocre music, and super weird costumes, the marching band can stimulate some rowdy cries of school spirit from the fans (as long as the fans are drunk or deaf. Or both, although that seems dangerous).
Morley Circle: Right behind Schow, Morley Circle is often passed through by most of the campus, although many (myself included) are pretty clueless of the happenings of these houses. According to the banners outside, it seems like they either serve as base for some kind of LGBTQ and minority groups, or perhaps they are houses for people who really like rainbows.
North Adams: Even though it’s the town right next to our fair Williamstown, North Adams may as well be a foreign country to most Ephs. I have no idea what happens there. I know there is a court house, a McDonalds, and a bunch of pregnant teenagers. This is not just a stereotype, North Adams really has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the US. And incest. Seriously, look it up.
Odd Quad: Otherwise known as Currier Quad, the five buildings (Fayerweather, Currier, Fitch, East, and Prospect) in this quad make up Currier Neighborhood. Although they are the dormy-est of dorms, they are very popular due to the low number of security incidents [read: parties don’t get broken up] and their close proximity to Driscoll. Come warmer weather, you can often find hookahs and frisbees in the quad, and plenty of “funny cigarettes” on the roof of the old observatory.
Paresky: The incredibly poorly designed student center right in the middle of campus. Even though it’s fairly new, the massive fireplace is virtually unusable due to a design flaw, and despite being one of the three options for dining, has a ridiculously small area for it. Some people study and nap here, however, I avoid it like the plague until it’s warm out and I can sit on the steps.
Purple Pub: The fancy pub on Spring Street. Food is alright, drinks are fine, but it’s definitely a different atmosphere than the Herring…
Queer Bash: Despite the name, this is actually a queer-friendly [read: extremely queer-friendly] dance party held in the fall. There is a spring version of it, also, but it sucks compared to the fall dance. With different themes each year, I have never seen people so undressed in a public area. Girls wear bras and panties while boys wear… bras and panties. Hookups are abundant and if you stay past 12 (which most people do) chances are you’ll catch some racy x-rated material [read: full-blown hardcore close-up tranny porn] being projected on one of the walls. Not for the faint of heart.
Red Herring: The more ‘authentic’ of the two available bars on Spring Street. And by authentic, I mean classless, dirty, and packed full of wasted coeds many nights per week. With only a few well-known bartenders and a bribe-able owner, free/reduced cost drinks are common among the women-folk. Used to be easy to get into as a miner, but all of the mines in the county closed. Also, underage students jump the fence in the back if there is no bouncer to sneak in. Apparently, they serve food, but having been a frequent visitor to the kitchen, I wouldn’t recommend eating anything that comes out of it.
Sawyer: The older (and much, much uglier) of the two libraries on campus. Home of the infamous Monkey Carrels and the birthplace of misery during midterms and finals period. Lit horribly, decorated by a mentally-ill prisoner, and often ten degrees hotter or colder than it needs to be, Sawyer is the most hated (although often it is also the most visited) place on campus.
Schow: The newer library on campus, this is a beautiful space with high ceilings and plenty of windows. The carrels are cheerier, and the “fishbowl” quiet rooms kick ass (if you can score one). Also there are biology books here, since it is the ‘science’ library, and you can totally look up diagrams of penises and stuff.
Security: Is a joke. Obviously, they deal with real-life threats pretty well (or I’m sure our parents would have their asses on a platter), but if you’re throwing a party and they walk through, they will RARELY confiscate any beer and I have never heard of anyone getting in trouble for providing beer at a party. Keep hard stuff hidden away. Also, stash your weed/bongs/whatever over the major breaks because they DO do room sweeps and will call the Williamstown Police if they find any marijuana paraphernalia.
Smoke Detectors: In dorm rooms, these are set off by perfume, febreeze, hair driers, straighteners, hairspray… basically anything but smoke. It’s pretty remarkable, actually.
SnackBar/Late Night: I am so confused by the new dining system. I think that if you are on a 21 meal/week plan or the 14 m/w one, and you don’t have either lunch or dinner from a dining hall, you can go to Whitman’s in Paresky for incredibly unhealthy late-night snacks/meals. Super crowded. Would recommend the mozzarella sticks. Watch out on Friday/Saturday nights for the drunchies crowd (drunk-munchies). They (we) are relentless and often make absolutely zero sense besides their (our) pleas for fried string beans (oh my god, please).
Spring Street: Pretty much the only street worth while in Williamstown. Home of the school store, Goff’s, sandwich places (Pappa Charlie’s and Subway), plus overpriced galleries, Tunnel City, an ice cream place, the bars, the movie theater, expensive clothing stores, and restaurants. For a complete list of Spring Street businesses, check this out. Be warned: since Williamstown is so small, most of these businesses have a monopoly and overprice their goods like crazy. Online shopping is encouraged as an alternative.
Steam Tunnels: Connect all of the major buildings on campus, and although are meant to just transfer heat to the buildings during colder months, have a legacy of being secret passages between buildings utilized by only the sneakiest students on campus, as most of the entrances are unknown to the masses.
Stetson: Refers to any number of things. Once was the location of the Chapin rare book library and numerous offices, but recently has begun to refer to the Stetson-Sawyer Library project which was supposed to be finished this year, but actually hasn’t started due to budget issues. Ideally, will get rid of Sawyer and expand the beautiful building that is Stetson into one of the main libraries, but realistically, has only served as an eyesore and noisy construction site that will never be finished.
SU: The number on your mailbox, used in your on-campus address. Do not make the mistake I made for my entire freshman year and confuse SU and Unix. They are not interchangeable.
Tunnel City: The wildly expensive coffee shop at the end of Spring Street. However, they serve the only acceptable cup of joe in a ten mile radius, plus is a key place to study (unless it’s too crowded, in which case the management will turn off the power in the outlets so you can’t charge your laptop). I would recommend the double soy chai latte. Or recommend that you buy me one.
Uncle Eph: Williams has an endowment that would blow even the richest students’ minds, and so often if you fill out the right paperwork and talk to the right faculty, you can get almost anything funded by dear old “Uncle Eph.”
Unix: The shortened version of your Williams email address, normally consisting of a couple of letters (initials) and a number. Give out your unix sparingly or else you’ll end up on every email list serve the school has to offer, and they are hella annoying and very difficult to unsubscribe to.
Water Street: The hipster version of Spring Street. Further away, less stuff, and more expensive.
WCMA: Williams College Museum of Art. Actually pretty fantastic and free for students, however you’re likely to only hear ‘WCMA’ when referring to the loop driveway in front of it (WCMA Circle) since it’s a great place to pick up/drop off friends/alcohol. Home of the famous “eyes,” a bunch of glowing sculptures of eyes that stare with judging beams of light whenever you walk past them at night. Super creepy.
Willipedia: An online source for most terms related to Williams College. Definitely not as good (or truthful) as my definitions listed above, but can be used to fill in any gaps (although I doubt I left any) or if you’re in the mood to bore yourself to death.
Winter Study: Three weeks in January to take just one P/F course that often only meets 2-3 times PER WEEK. Needless to say, most people have very hazy memories of Winter Study. Arguably the most fun you will have on campus until Senior Week.
WSO: Don’t even get me started. If you want a collection of entitled, whiney, overly-sensitive trolls posting forums about everything that no one cares about, go to the Williams Student Organization online. Some helpful stuff (like FacTrack; reviews of professors, and a facebook to stalk your most recent hookup), but mostly mindless blubbering stupid bullshit that makes you want to peel your face off. WSO offers irrefutable evidence that some people just shouldn’t be allowed to state their opinions online. Or anywhere.
WUFO: The Williams Ultimate Frisbee Organization (WUFA for the girls’ team). They don’t have the best reputation on campus [read: cult-ish weirdo borderline alcoholics], but they have absolutely out-of-control parties with seemingly endless supplies of both legal and less-than-legal substances. They appear to have fun and actually have pretty good frisbee players, too, plus their spring break trips are legendary.