The concept of Neighborhood/Cluster/Anchor identity is doomed. Smart observers have always known that it is doomed, known that a small rural college with architecture like Williams would never produce neighborhood identity. Students can identify with Williams, they can identify with their friends, their teams, their fellow enthusiasts in writing/acting/hiking/whatever, even their classmates. They will never ever ever identify with the Wood Neighborhood.

The Record provides sad updates here and here.

Amidst last weekend’s wind and flurries, only a few students blew into the neighborhood showcase and other kickoff events for the Williams House System. Both the showcase on Friday and the parties on Saturday were marked by poor attendance and unenthusiastic student commentary on the system’s potential. Although the Committee on Undergraduate Life has tried to rouse support and interest in cluster housing, it appears that students have yet to be sold on the idea.

Say it ain’t so! Students will never be sold on the idea because the idea is a stupid one with not a single (successful) analogue in the country. But there is some good news:

Unlike in previous years where the room draw was partially “blind” – meaning students could not see who had picked into rooms until it was their turn to choose a room – in this year’s draw “students will be able to see who has chosen into the cluster ahead of them,” said Aaron Gordon, assistant director of campus life.

Good for CUL. Whatever your opinions of the Williams House System (WHS?), we are stuck with it for the next few years. There is no doubt that, given the system, students are better off knowing who has already picked where.

Side note: Two former Record executives, from separate decades at Williams, that I communicated with were concerned that the this years Record — with its lack of an editor-in-chief and 8 (!) students in the executive and managing editor roles — would be a disaster. Yet all seems OK to me. As long as the Record focuses on Williams-specific material, especially in its op-ed pages, all will be well. So far, so good.

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