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Report Card 2007

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Williams College
College Sustainability Report Card 2007

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Williams College

School details:

Endowment: $1,500 million as of June 30, 2006

Location: Williamstown, Massachusetts


Campus Survey: Yes

Endowment Survey: Yes


Data compiled from independent research. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methods section.

Overall grade  
A -
A College Campus Climate Initiative was created by Williams students with help from the Campus Environmental Advisory Committee. The Initiative urged the president and trustees to commit to reducing campus emissions by 10 percent by 2010 and to hire a Campus Sustainability Coordinator. The president made a public commitment to sustainability during Earth Week 2006, and committed the College to work with Williamstown's Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Committee is currently working to develop an emissions target and reduction plan.
Williams College has performed a carbon emissions inventory in partnership with Williamstown, which established that approximately 34,700 tons of carbon dioxide emissions are produced annually as a result of campus energy use. In order to lower that figure, the College switched to an energy supplier with lower emissions, bought enough renewable energy to power its Environmental Studies Center, and installed a 7.2 kilowatt solar array on its science center. Eight-hundred lightbulbs have been switched to compact-fluorescent, and the cogeneration plant, which was upgraded in 2002, is more efficient than conventional plants. A small, solar water-heater is to be installed on one residence hall, and a test tower has been installed to investigate the feasibility of a wind farm near campus.
Williams College spends an extra 20 cents per person per meal on local, organic foods, amounting to a 30 percent increase in local and organic foods in the dining halls over the past few years. This is one of the strongest efforts seen from any college or university dining service in the country. The dining halls collect 80 tons of food waste annually to provide compost to local farms, and the College’s efforts have allowed the local middle school to join the composting program.
Although Williams College does not seek LEED certification for any of its building projects, it does use LEED guidelines during construction and renovation projects. Green design efforts were undertaken later in the design process of the new '62 Center for Theatre and Dance. Sustainable design features, such as improved insulation daylighting, are being utilized for the new student center, and 98 percent of the construction materials for this project are being recycled. The new library, with construction planned to begin in the next few years, is being designed to meet LEED certification standards.
The College’s proxy voting record is available on a password protected website and at the investment office or the vice president’s office to members of the college community, such as faculty, staff, students, and alumni. A list of investment holdings is also available to the university community at the investment office or the vice president’s office.
The College prioritizes investing to maximize profit and is invested in community development financial institutions or loan funds. Additionally, the College is also exploring renewable energy investment funds or similar investment vehicles. The College also has a Social Choice Fund that allows individuals to direct donations to special endowment fund that screens investments based on environmental and social criteria.
The Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility at Williams deliberates on and makes recommendations or decisions on proxy votes. The committee is comprised of two members from the following groups: faculty, administrators, students, and alumni.
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