Class Secretary Guidelines

Class Notes deadlines for the 2016-17 publication year are:

Issue Deadline Pub Date
January 2017 Oct. 21 Jan. 2
May 2017 Feb. 17 May 2
September 2017 June 23 Sept. 2

Williams People and its online counterpart, Alumni News, keep readers connected to each other and to Williams. As class secretary, you are key to fulfilling this mission.

In print: Williams People is published by Williams College for the Society of Alumni three times per year and mailed free of charge to alumni. The publication includes class notes, photos of alumni gatherings and weddings, lists of marriages, births and adoptions, and obituaries. About 97 percent of readers report reading alumni news in print.

On the Web: Alumni News is the password-protected, web version of Williams People. Log in with a Williams user name and password to view fully searchable content. Select “Find My Class” for the most recent updates from classmates.

Writing class notes

The editors will edit your class notes according to the following guidelines, which will be enforced. Please:

Stay within your word limit. The average class notes word count is approximately 1,500. Keep in mind this is an average across all classes, which range from fewer than 50 members to more than 500. Notes of more than 2,500 words will be returned to you for editing.

Be brief and inclusive. Class notes are short updates about a wide range of classmates. Try to limit notes to no more than three sentences per classmate. Skip travelogues, details of non-alumni relatives’ lives and long lists.

Stick to your class. If you have news about alumni not in your class, kindly forward it to that class’s secretary using the contact information that appears in class notes. If classmates’ news includes alumni not in your class, be sure to identify graduation year (Jane Doe ’99).

Stick to the facts. Class notes shouldn’t promote personal, political, religious or social views. Please don’t editorialize or comment on classmates’ news.

Exercise tact and good taste. Jokes or anecdotes that might be appreciated by some classmates could offend others who read your notes. Avoid stories about drinking binges, romantic exploits, etc. Offensive, libelous or inappropriate material will be deleted.

When in doubt, leave it out. The temptation is strong to report a classmate’s upcoming wedding, birth, trip or job change. Unfortunately, these plans don’t always come to fruition. Please include such news only after the event has occurred.

Submitting Class Notes

The editors must receive class notes by email. Remember to always keep a copy of your notes.

Full names (first and last) and class years of alumni should be in bold each time they are mentioned, though class years should be in plain text (John Doe, Jane Doe ’99). See this guide to styling alumni names for details. The Office of Communications also maintains a college style guide for quick reference.

You are responsible for fact checking all information in class notes, as well as for spelling your classmates’ names correctly. You can access the alumni directory by logging in with a Williams user name and password. Indicate uncommon spellings that you know to be correct by inserting [CQ] after the reference. Indicate questions for the editors by inserting [?] after the reference.

Class notes must be received on or before the deadline to be included in the publication. Contact the editors is you foresee a problem in meeting the deadline.

Submitting other content

Please encourage your classmates to send photos and news of weddings, births and adoptions directly to Williams People. Guidelines are available at Submit News.

Help from the college

Secretary email addresses. The college provides you with an email forwarding address to help your classmates keep in touch with you. Your address is your four-digit class year followed by “secretary@williams.edu” (e.g., 1992secretary@williams.edu). Emails sent to this address will be forwarded to your preferred email address. To update your address, contact alumni.office@williams.edu.

Class list servers. Most classes have email list servers to facilitate communications among classmates. The list server address is “class” followed by the last two digits of your year and “-L@williams.edu” (e.g., class95-L@williams.edu). A message sent to the list server goes to all classmates who have subscribed.

Editorial style guide. Guidelines on grammar, spelling, punctuation and usage in materials produced by and for the college are available to view and print.

Deadline reminders. About four weeks before the class notes deadline, you will receive a reminder via email.

Class secretary list server. The editors maintain an email list server for secretaries to share practices, questions and ideas. A message sent to secretaries-L@alumnilists.williams.eduwill go to all class secretaries.