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Report Card 2010

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Williams College
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Williams College

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Overall College Sustainability Leader

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $1,400 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Williamstown, Massachusetts

Enrollment: 1,964

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


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

Overall grade  
A -
Williams has ratified a set of sustainability principles and recently established a fund to support sustainability projects proposed by student groups and departments. In 2009, the college budgeted approximately $2 million for energy conservation and sustainability initiatives. The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives employs three full-time staff.
By 2020, Williams aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels; in 2008, the college reduced emissions by 28 percent from 2005 levels. Solar hot water systems have been installed in residence halls; a cogeneration plant supplies 20 percent of the campus's electrical load; and a new electricity and steam metering program allows for streamlined energy auditing. The college has also retrocommissioned HVAC systems and upgraded lighting on campus.
Dining services participates in a Farm to School program and spends more than 10 percent of the annual food budget on local and organic foods. Dining halls source sustainably harvested seafood and serve exclusively fair trade coffee. Composting programs are run in all dining locations for pre- and postconsumer food waste, and a trayless dining program is currently being expanded.
A green building policy requires all new building projects to meet LEED standards. There are two buildings that have achieved LEED Gold certification, and two other buildings in design that are expected to achieve LEED certification. Daylight sensors have been installed in 80 percent of applicable building space, and low-flow plumbing fixtures have been installed in all residence halls and locker rooms.
Sustainability-themed information sessions and programs at new-student orientation include trips to local farms and sustainability organizations. The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives hires student interns, works closely with the student-run Thursday Night Group on sustainability projects, and supports an annual energy-savings competition.
Williams partners with a car-sharing program, and a campus shuttle offers service to a local mall and grocery store. The college's fleet includes five electric and five hybrid vehicles. All students and nearly half of employees walk or bike to class and work.
The college does not make a list of endowment holdings public. Votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level are made available online to the public.
Williams aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy companies and a community development loan fund. The college asks its investment managers to consider a Sudan divestment policy. Donors have the choice to direct contributions to the Williams Social Choice Fund, a special fund that is invested in a socially responsible mutual fund and a community development loan fund.
An advisory committee with two administrators, two faculty, two students, and two alumni representatives makes proxy voting recommendations to the board of trustees.
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