Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.03
Liaison Caroline Bruno
Submission Date May 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Williams College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Caroline Bruno
Sustainability Coordinator
Zilkha Center
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Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

Many student organizations are sustainability-centered with goals such as reducing food waste, carbon emissions, or choosing environmentally friendly investments. These groups often pursue these goals by hosting events, educating via social media pages, posting signage around campus, and recruiting members to join their initiatives across campus. These groups often times partner closely with the administration of Dining Services, Center for Environmental Studies, Zilkha Center, or Facilities. Some groups are as follows: Williams Environmental Council (WEC) addresses operational change and student behavior change through planning initiatives, events, starting conversations and sometimes advocating for policy change as it relates to Environmental themes. The Purple Bike Coalition (PBC) is a free bike service organization, that runs a bike shop staffed by students: PBC offers free bike repair, lessons on how to repair your own bike, and rental services to students, faculty and staff during the school year and summer. Moo-mami is a student cooking club that was started as a way for students to gain more skills in preparing plant-based meals and incorporating sustainability into their cooking.


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The Williams Sustainable growers maintains two organic gardens on campus. The group also aims to promote awareness of and access to sustainable food and agriculture. The student organization hosts work parties and harvests for group meals, dining halls, and other student events around campus. The Parsons and Kellogg gardens grow seasonal produce that is available for student consumption. We also have the Zilkha center which participates in the living building challenge, so Thirty-five percent of the building’s site is devoted to food production. On site, organic agriculture is practiced to grow annual and perennial vegetables, high- and low-bush berries, herbs, and fruit trees


The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
No

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:
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The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
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Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
No

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
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The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
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Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

Each week, a vegetarian lunch prepared by Williams students is served, followed by a talk on an environmental topic. Speakers are drawn from both the student body and faculty of Williams, as well as from local, national, and international organizations. The most recent sustainability talks, in Fall 2018, were a lecture series on “Afro-diasporic Environmentalism: Explorations of environmental racism and justice” which was composed of six different talks. There were also symposiums on the Role of Religion, Creativity and Environmental Ethics in the Afro-Atlantic Diaspora.


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

Object lab: Williams College Museum of Art connects different classes to art. The program connected to an environmental mastering GIS class that uses GIS to look at the changing landscapes. GIS displays data related to positions on Earth’s surface to help solve environmental problems. An art collection was created using GIS as an inspiration to combine the two separate ideas of art and environmental issues.

Each summer the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives has one internship position for a writer or artist in residence who focuses on sustainability. In the summer or the fall, these artists showcase their work to the campus community.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The Williams Outing Club, founded in 1915, is the largest student organization at Williams with over 800 student, faculty and staff members. Our mission is to support outdoor activities at Williams and to make the outdoors accessible to everyone, regardless of level of experience.

WOC offers a wide variety of events, trips, and activities throughout the year, including regular sunrise hikes, polar bear swims, campouts, indoor climbing, and PE classes as well as many longer trips and other activities. Special events every year include Mountain Day, Winter Carnival, and the WOOLF outdoor orientation program for first-years.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Williams Reads aims to foster new connections among students, staff, faculty, and community members by exploring diversity through a common reading experience. A book is chosen annually for all incoming first years to read and discuss in small groups at the beginning of the year. Often programs related to themes from that book are incorporated throughout the reast of the academic year. During 2016-2017 the book chosen was The Sixth Extinction and was accompanied by a year of inquiry related to Confronting Climate Change. This campus-wide theme was supported by reading that book, but also through frequent programming and events related to climate change. While not every year has a theme like this, the impetus for the 2016-2017 year of inquiry was part of the announcement of the college's commitments to carbon neutrality and emissions reduction.


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

A workshop on forming sustainable food habits was the first part of a series of workshops and newsletters to encourage Williams students to practice sustainable habits both during their time here and after graduation. The workshop took people to the local farmers market and back to a kitchen to cook a vegetarian meal. Throughout the entire process the Carbon footprint of their meal was tracked. This interactive activity taught students the impact buying locally and cooking vegetarian has on saving energy and lowering their personal emissions. Other workshops have focused on reusing paper creatively for holiday decorations and gifts and a discussion about how personal wastefulness connects to the harm done by landfills and incinerators.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives hires over 20 interns throughout the academic year and 7-10 over the summer. Each intern has the opportunity to focus on sustainability projects that impact our campus community in a collaborative and self-directed way.

Some examples of positions available include:
Biophilic Design- A student who assembles contextual information about Williams and the surrounding area for a biophilic design workshop provided by the International Living Future Institute.
Give it Up intern- Student intern who leads the college's move-out donations and waste reduction campaign. The goal is to lessen the waste going to the incinerator at the end of the academic year. The intern takes charge in assessing the solutions collected, proposing creative alternatives, and implementing those that will make the biggest impact on improving our collection of donations and decreasing the usable goods that get trashed.

Other internships are available such as: a Communications intern (focused on sustainability initiatives), STARS intern, Zero Waste intern, Eco-advisers, an Environmental Justice intern, a Drawdown intern, a Green Offices Intern, a Healthy Building Materials Intern, a Mapping Sustainability Intern, an Environmental Center Landscape Intern, and a Real Food intern


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledges:
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The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
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Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
Yes

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

The Purple Bike Coalition (PBC) is Williams College’s free bike service organization. Run and staffed by students, the program offers free bike repair and rental services to students, faculty and staff during the school year and summer. It is also a place to learn how to repair your own bike and build new skills.

Williams Recovery of All Perishable Surplus (WRAPS) packages leftover dining hall food into individual meals. The meals are delivered to food-insecure community partners in North Adams each week in order to combat food insecurity and food waste at the same time.


The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
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Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.