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Mount Greylock High

In our last edition, Dinny Taylor wrote about the various fates of older “trickle” computers- one of which is donation to local schools. In this edition, we’re briefly following up on one of those schools- Mt. Greylock Regional High. Many people are unaware of the depth of the relationship that the College has with this school. While children of Williams faculty and staff attend other schools in the region, Mt. Greylock is the primary public high school for Williamstown, and roughly 90 students at the school have a parent affiliated with Williams. As such, Williams has a vested interest in the quality of education provided, and has created the Williams Center at Mt. Greylock “to maximize the academic value the College can provide the school.” more...

I met with Kaatje White, the Coordinator of the Center, who told me about a variety of projects that Williams is involved with to achieve this goal. One is a year-long writing intensive English class taken by all 9th graders. Williams provides a trained student Writing Fellow for each section of the class, who critiques drafts and supports the class in various ways. Williams also has provided support for curriculum development and new texts for this class. This has allowed Mt. Greylock to focus its resources on keeping class sizes small.

The Center arranges and provides transportation for Williams students to tutor Greylock students, and brings Williams professors and special performances to the high school. Recently James McAllister spoke about Presidential Elections, and Ken Kuttner addressed an assembly on the economic crisis. Two dance workshops with the Jose Limon Dance Company were held in collaboration with the ’62 Center. In addition, Greylock students are invited to our campus for classes, science labs, library access, speakers, life drawing, and other opportunities which are rare to find in public high schools.

Williams also provides infrastructural support where it can. In addition to providing computers that the school could not otherwise afford, furniture left in Stetson and in other buildings has been donated to the school over the years.

For more information about the Williams Center at Mt. Greylock, visit and select ‘Williams Center’ from the navigation on the left. To get involved, contact Kaatje White at

Where Have All the PCs Gone?

Gone to Good Causes Every One

Ever wonder what happens to the computers we remove from faculty and staff desks after 3 years? The all-campus Information Technology Committee worked with OIT to determine a hierarchy for reallocating them.

“Trickle” computers are first used for a variety of purposes on campus. In general, trickle requests for the following summer/fall should be made in January along with the other budget related requests. Highest priority is given to: more...

  • Extra stations in administrative offices or academic 1. departments for temps or student workers
  • Extra uses in Faculty research labs 2.
  • Conference Office summer use3.
  • Emeritus faculty offices on campus4.
  • Official student organizations 5.

Any computers left after on-campus needs have been filled are donated to local schools and other charities. We will fill as many requests as possible, but we may not be able to satisfy every request. We collect requests all year. Donations occur at times of year when we have inventory and when OIT staff have time to prepare the computers and coordinate with the recipients. Priority to external donations is given to:

  • Public schools in surrounding towns6.
  • Other public schools in Berkshire County or 7. southern Vermont
  • College related education programs elsewhere8.
  • Local organizations9.
  • Other organizations that are not local 10.

The computers must be used by the schools or organizations. In no circumstances do we give computers to individuals, even through organizations.

Requests for donations go through Cheryl Brewer in OIT.
Edition:Fall 2008 Department:C.T.O. Tags:

Computer Donations to Malawi

For the past two years Williams has been able to donate 2-3 used laptops to schools or local governments in Malawi, Africa. Dean Stephen Sneed makes regular trips to Malawi and he hand carries them to make sure they get to the people who truly need them. As the OIT point person, I typically receive the thanks and gratitude of the recipients even though it is the College and others within OIT who are really providing the machines. Stephen has given the laptops to the Deans of two colleges where almost no one has a computer. One was given to a village for the children to use in their schoolwork. more...

Their notes are always touching as we realize how these contributions mean more to them than we could possibly have imagined. I ‘d like to share with you the letter we received from Dingiswago Chagomelana in the village of Ndirande Village, Malawi. Remember that in this letter, “Dinny” really means Williams College.

My Dearest Dinny Taylor (Ms.),
I hope you have never known the author of this letter before. My name is Dingiswago Chagomelana, fondly known as “Dingi.” I work for Malaŵi Posts Corporation at Limbe, Blantyne. The main aim for writing you is to send many, many heartfelt thanks for the very kind and useful donation of a computer for use by school children in my village. I live the city of Blantyne, the largest commercial and industrial hub of Malaŵi, in the biggest village of Malaŵi, called Ndirande. Ndirande is a very poor urban township village located to the northwest of Blantyre city about 5 kilometers away from the Blantyre City Centre. It is divided into many smaller sections of villages. It provides habitation to “indigenous” as well as “new comers” who hew living out of petty jobs, businesses, peasantry. We number around 500,000, ¾ of which are children. 2/3 of children attend school. People here live in dire poverty, many subsisting on 10 to 20 US dollars a month! A very small segment earn 50 US dollars a month! This implies that technological advancement is far from reach. Few people could hear about a computer but knew not how it could be operated.
Now, when my beloved brother, Dr. Stephen D. Sneed delivered the Dell Laptop package to our community through me and of course from you, I was dumbfounded and I do not remember to have thanked. It was on 19th January, 2008 morning hours in very bright sunshine. He honestly delivered everything intact including a manual and he showed me how to go about it. Often times, good number of children throng my small living room to see the marvel. I show them how to do it. Many children are going to benefit from the presence of, and proximity to, this wonder-performing machine. Currently, up to 25 children have laid down their hands on it. It is my hope that by the end of this year, at least 500 children will have benefitted from this Dinny Initiative and I hope numbers will turn into thousands, not only from the northeastern corner of Ndirande where I live, but also from other corners.

So, in a nutshell, you can see how beneficial this machine is going to be, the whole world of knowledge technological advancement and development at the doorstep of the world poor! Even though I know we cannot thank you enough, please accept on behalf of the community and on my own behalf, our sincere and heartfelt thanks for your kind gesture! I am also partly able to work from somewhere out of my office. You have improved our community’s poor lot. We can therefore see development coming our way in the pipeline. I am sending an email to you through the machine. LONG LIVE DINNY!!!

Yours truly grateful,
Dingiswago Chagomelana
On behalf of Ndirande Village.

Hand written letter from Dingiswago Chagomelana


Dean Steven Sneed handing computer to Dingiswago Chagomelana

Dean Sneed & Dingi

Enelious Overtone Kuntendere (village head man) shows children how to operate a laptop donated by Williams to Milonde Village, Malawi.

Enelious & Villagers

Jacqueline Chazema, the first woman Dean of Education in Malawi, attributes her current position to the computer given to her by Williams.


Emmanuel Muntali, Director of Computing Services, Chancellor College, University of Malawi, received his first personal computer from Williams College.


Edition:Fall 2008 Department:C.T.O. Tags: