I enjoyed reading how Williams is trying to reduce its carbon footprint (“Sustainable Williams,” fall 2015). And I am gratified, though not surprised, to hear the extent of student involvement. I have another idea that might help the college. For years my wife and I have brought solar-powered lanterns/flashlights on medical mission trips that we run, first to Nicaragua and now to Malawi. Then we started using the lanterns at all times in the house when we might otherwise flip on a light switch. What if Williams provided these flashlights, which cost approximately $15 apiece, to students, faculty and staff, with the understanding that they would use them in place of indoor lighting as much as possible? The college could start a trend that other colleges would be likely to follow, and then we might have a measurable effect on global warming.
—Brian Lisse ’77, Hudson, Mass.
Williams never looked so green, and in the fall! The commitment of one little college to carbon emissions control is impressive. The green map of change was a cool detail. Speaking of change, I had to smile reading about the new Williams course about town and gown relations, taught by an anthropology professor and a journalist (“New
Course Explores Town and Gown,” fall 2015). This townie alumnus was steeped in anthropology when covering the Select Board and other town business for The North Adams Transcript in the early 1960s. Some lighthearted quotes I fondly remember from the Williamstown beat: “Why the hell is the college building so much?” “They’ve got too much money.” “How about the college paying some taxes? The town’s almost broke.” “Stop whining. Without the college we got no culture here.” “Thank God, Eph Williams made out a will in Albany before he got shot at Lake George.”
—Ernie Imhoff ’59, Baltimore, Md.
The current Williams Magazine (fall 2015) is the most interesting of this century. Nevertheless two issues come to mind. My late friend Marcus T. Reynolds ’50 loved Williams but was disturbed by two campus sites. As a member of Sigma Phi fraternity, he loved the quaint Van Rensselaer mansion that had been moved brick by brick from Albany and was remembered by a miniscule picture hanging upstairs in the old Sawyer Library. Now both are gone. Marc’s father was Kenneth Reynolds, Class of 1916, the architect who designed the Log, which had fallen into decrepitude and ill use, not to mention ecological ill repute. I hope that the do-over has soothed his posthumous sensibilities. Also, your town and gown story missed a beat and a couple of decades. There was indeed a Hotel Greylock at the corner of Main and North. A bit before WWII, the old clapboard hotel suffered a major fire and left only a wing fit for later use. I don’t know the real estate transaction by which the college acquired that stately edifice, but in the decade-plus after the war, Greylock Hall was a very desirable dorm, with private baths for each suite and inner-spring mattresses on each bed. In time, maintenance of an obsolete relic and the coming of a larger student body meant a more substantial and larger quarter was needed and so led to the demolition of that sad remnant. I miss it still.
—Dan Tritter ’54, New York, N.Y.