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

STARS v2.1

Williams College
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.00 / 4.00 Amy Johns
Director
Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
No

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

Williams College is currently going through the process of making one.


A copy of the strategic plan:
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The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
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Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
No

A copy of the sustainability plan:
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The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
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Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
No

A copy of the climate action plan:
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The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
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Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
No

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Williams has two main emission reduction goals. Through action on campus and in the immediate community, reduce emissions to 35% below 1990 levels by 2020.
Purchase sufficient carbon offsets to achieve carbon neutrality by the end of 2020.
There are only two real ways of reducing emissions: reduce energy use, and use energy from renewable, non-emitting sources. Williams is pursuing both strategies. Williams is committed to producing and/or procuring 100% renewable, non-emitting electricity by 2020, which will contribute significantly to reaching our emissions goals.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Williams has adopted a policy of LEED Gold certification for all new construction over $5 million as recommended by a set of Green Building Guidelines, approved by the Board of Trustees in 2011.

Green Building Guidelines:
Building programs should seek to reduce, or at least not increase, the College’s annual energy-related (heating, cooling, and electric) emissions through energy efficiency and, where feasible the adoption of renewable energy strategies. This might be achieved, for example, through incorporating passive solar energy approaches within the building project, providing energy for the building from an on-site or off-site renewable source, or taking other campus buildings or facilities out of service.
The planning and design of a building or renovation program will establish energy goals for the finished structure(s), use energy modeling to project performance, and, where appropriate, will identify additional sources of energy.
The energy use and emissions associated with construction should be monitored and minimized. This includes emissions associated with electricity, heating fuel, equipment fuel, and all other fuels consumed during construction and demolition. When practical, construction materials with low embodied energy and other environmental impacts will be selected based upon life-cycle analysis.
Projects should conform to high standards of sustainable practices. All projects should seek LEED certification (or a similar industry-accepted standard) at the level of Gold, or higher when feasible. The certification level sought should be established early in the planning process. Special circumstances may dictate that a lower level be established due to inapplicability of the LEED program to a specific building type.
The commissioning of new or renovated spaces should be conducted in ways that advance performance goals. New spaces should be evaluated regularly to ensure that performance does not deteriorate over time.
The College should seek to understand and, when practicable, develop standards, metrics and associated guidelines for additional sustainability strategies and related initiatives.
These guidelines and any associated standards and practices should be reviewed and revised, as necessary, at least every five years. These guidelines apply to building projects valued at $5 million (in 2011 dollars) or more and designed after the guidelines’ adoption.
To be best of the College’s ability, encourage Green Building Basics.
Williams has also developed a method for quantifying the impact of our green building policies called Green Gauges.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:

"Williams has two main emission reduction goals. Through action on campus and in the immediate community, reduce emissions to 35% below 1990 levels by 2020.
Purchase sufficient carbon offsets to achieve carbon neutrality by the end of 2020.
There are only two real ways of reducing emissions: reduce energy use, and use energy from renewable, non-emitting sources. Williams is pursuing both strategies. Williams is committed to producing and/or procuring 100% renewable, non-emitting electricity by 2020, which will contribute significantly to reaching our emissions goals. "


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Williams Dining is committed to achieving 20% sustainable food purchases by 2020, in accordance with Real Food criteria, though we have not signed on to the Real Food Challenge. We are currently sourcing 15% of our food as real food.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Williams meets 100% of demonstrated financial need, even for the neediest students. Williams has a zero loan policy for students from families with incomes below $75,000 which enables low-income students to graduate with little if any student loan debt. Though our maximum loan debt is $16,000 after four years, many students are eligible for a reduced loan expectation if their parent contribution is below $20,000. Further, students with parent contributions below $4,000 are eligible for a Health Insurance Grant to cover the cost of state mandated health insurance coverage and lower student summer savings expectations - and all students eligible for aid receive a book grant to cover the full cost of required texts and course reading packets thereby exempting them from any out-of-pocket costs for reading materials.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
Yes

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

The Williams College Mission Statement includes a sentence approved by the Board of Trustees saying: The natural beauty of the Berkshires makes us especially conscious of the urgent need to address—through our teaching and research, and through the daily operations of the College—the environmental problems that threaten an increasingly fragile planet.


The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):

Sustainability is meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of tomorrow -- or the needs of future generations. Definitions sometimes include the metaphorical three-legged chair to illustrate the three dimensions of sustainability that it takes to create a high quality of life - environmental, economic, and social/cultural. When one of those dimensions - or legs - is absent or weak, it is not sustainable and society is unstable.

We like to think about sustainability in broad and powerful terms. By focusing on sustainability we aim to contribute to positive environmental, economic and social impacts. This means we focus our energy on:
- human and ecological health and mitigate negative environmental impacts
- secure livelihoods, a sustainable economy, equalizing access to resources, and other stabilizing financial impacts
- social justice, equity, diversity, cooperation, democracy, transparency and other positive social impacts
These specific tenets are modified from the the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) STARS report (which is the basis for most green college rating systems).

When one thinks about sustainability through the lens of these terms, one can see that everyone is, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny" and can understand the importance of advocating and striving for sustainability.


Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter No
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment No
The Talloires Declaration (TD) No
UN Global Compact No
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) No

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

"Williams has two main emission reduction goals. Through action on campus and in the immediate community, reduce emissions to 35% below 1990 levels by 2020.
Purchase sufficient carbon offsets to achieve carbon neutrality by the end of 2020.
There are only two real ways of reducing emissions: reduce energy use, and use energy from renewable, non-emitting sources. Williams is pursuing both strategies. Williams is committed to producing and/or procuring 100% renewable, non-emitting electricity by 2020, which will contribute significantly to reaching our emissions goals. "


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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.