The housing options for Frances Perkins students reflect the philosophy that developing a campus life can be an important part of the undergraduate experience. Frances Perkins students, including some whose families live off campus, may live in a traditional residence hall. Dickinson Hall has recently been designated as both a new community space for all Frances Perkins students and the residence hall in which all Frances Perkins students who elect to reside on campus will be housed.
Dickinson House was built in 1916 as a faculty dormitory called Faculty House. It was renamed in 1931 in honor of Emma E. Dickinson, class of 1867. Dickinson House has served many purposes over the years, with more recent incarnations as the home of the Women's Studies Program and the Five College Women's Studies Research Center, and as housing for some Frances Perkins students. In the fall of 2001, Dickinson opened as housing for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. In 2014, the College announced that Dickinson Hall would serve as a center for both on and off campus Frances Perkins students.
Dickinson is unique in several ways. It is the only residence hall exclusive to Frances Perkins students and all residents will be assigned to a single room. The third floor of Dickinson Hall is designated as a quiet floor. Social gatherings for FP students to include an annual Holiday Party, Spring Barbeque and Senior Breakfast use both the interior spaces and in nice weather the generous lawn space the building offers. Dickinson is located across Route 116 on Faculty Lane, which makes it slightly further from center campus than other residence halls. It features a spacious kitchen, common space and computer rooms. Resident students have their meals across the street at Abbey, Buckland, and Rockefeller hall. Dickinson is located across Route 116 from Chapin Auditorium, where many campus events are held. It is also across the street from the Jeanette Marks house, the lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered cultural space on campus.
Some Frances Perkins students elect to stay on campus for one or more nights during the school week and they are able to reside on the first floor Dickinson Hall where the Program oversees the per diem rentals of guest rooms. Students who commute from a distance or who wish to stay late on campus to use the library or to study in quiet space find this option particularly appealing and affordable.
Many Frances Perkins students do live off campus, tapping into an informal FP housing network. Women with school age children who wish to relocate benefit from the advice of program staff and current students. The Pioneer Valley is gorgeous, with good schools, strong community, and artistic havens like Amherst and Northampton. Boston, New York, and Vermont's Green Mountains are easily accessible. The Valley is known nationwide for its cosmopolitan mix of shops, galleries, restaurants, coffee houses, concerts, and theaters. Just across the street from Mount Holyoke, students, faculty, and staff take advantage of the shops, restaurants, and theaters of the Village Commons.