Williams organizes off campus events and programs into more than 70 Regional Associations around the county and abroad. The Associations include Alumni, Parents, and Honorary Members (widows/widowers) and are organized by geographic area. They provide a great way to connect alumni, students, parents, and friends worldwide especially when members of the Williams community find it difficult to return to campus. Enthusiastic local volunteers, along with the alumni relations staff, work together to plan and implement a full calendar of meaningful events and programming for each local association.
Depending on the size of the regional association, one or more of the following volunteer roles may be available:
- Regional President or Co-President
- Regional Vice President
- Regional Treasurer
- Regional Secretary
- Regional Executive Committee Member
- Regional Book Award Coordinator
- Regional Book Award Sponsor
If you are interested in serving as a leader or helping to organize an event, connect with your local Regional President to explore opportunities to get involved. All regional leader contact information can be found in the My Reports section of the Eph Network (login required).
Expectations by Region
Approximately half of all Williams alumni live in one of seven large metropolitan regional associations: Metropolitan New York City; Boston; Washington, DC; Chicago; San Francisco; and Los Angeles. These “Tier 1” Associations are often led by an executive committee of volunteers who help organize a diverse slate of local activities while spreading organizational responsibilities among their group. These teams are self-selected and ideally allow volunteers to collaborate and take on different organizational roles before cycling off.
There are approximately thirty “Tier 2” regions, which include local populations between 250 and 1,000 Ephs. Ideally, small teams of volunteers organize a handful of events and activities per year.
The thirty-five smaller “Tier 3” Regions, which include populations of less than 250 people, often provide an important opportunity for engagement for Ephs less likely to run across other members of the Williams community in their local areas. These associations endeavor to organize 2-4 activities per year.
Events and Activities
Almost every region jointly hosts (with Amherst) a local viewing party to watch the Williams-Amherst football telecast at a local restaurant or club. Williams also hosts numerous Send-Off Parties in regions to welcome the newest first-year students and their parents to the Williams community during the summer before they head off to Williams for the first time. A myriad of other concepts are used for organizing a diverse slate of programs, including: faculty or alumni speakers, local networking opportunities, young alumni events, community service projects, group outings to sporting events, cultural events at theaters, museums, or concerts, and hikes or other outdoor activities.
Book Award Program
The Williams Book Award program helps spread the word about Williams to prospective students and fosters connections between our regional associations and over 500 high schools. Books are awarded by regional volunteers to high school juniors who have demonstrated intellectual leadership and made significant contribution to the extracurricular life of their schools. The program runs from March to June of each year. Several award books, authored by Williams alumni or faculty, are chosen each year in addition to a Williams dictionary. Information about the current book selections can be found on the Water Street Books site.
The size and existence of the Book Award program varies widely between regional associations, depending on volunteer interest and available budget. Alumni sponsors develop relationships with local high schools and agree to pay for the books that are awarded there. Many high schools have asked to be included in the program but are without a sponsor. A Regional Book Award Coordinator oversees current book award sponsors and is responsible for finding new alumni willing to get involved. The coordinator also decides which high schools will receive awards, based on the number and location of alumni sponsors. For more information or to volunteer with the Book Awards program, contact Program Coordinator Joyce Cozzaglio.
Purple with Purpose Regional Recognition Program
Beginning in the fall of 2015, the Williams Alumni Relations Offices has enlisted the regional associations to promote a new initiative for recognizing members of the Williams community at the local level. The new recognition program will bring Williams communities together to celebrate the impact of fellow alumni while creating opportunities for programming and sharing information about recipients via social media and other channels. In turn, a spotlight will shine on the good work and impact a thriving Regional Association can have in creating a Williams community far from the confines of the Purple Valley. Read more here about the Purple with Purpose recognition program and how to nominate someone to receive an award.
The Alumni Relations Office is currently updating the online Regional Handbook, which provides additional information and resources for Regional Volunteer leaders. It will be posted here when available. For more information, contact Rob Swann ’90, Director of Off Campus Programs for the Office of Alumni Relations.