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Report Card 2011

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Williams College
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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A-
Williams College

School details:

Endowment: $1,400 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Williamstown, Massachusetts

 

Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)

 

Please note: Data was collected in summer 2010 and may no longer be current.

 

Data compiled from survey responses, when available, and from independent research, when needed. For more information on data collection and evaluation, please see the  Methodology section.

 
Overall grade  
A -
Sustainability is an institutional priority at Williams. The college has one environmental committee for campus operations, and another promotes sustainable food systems. 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 2009, the college reduced emissions to 26 percent below 2002 levels. A cogeneration plant supplies electricity and heat to the campus, and three residence halls utilize solar hot water systems. The college has reduced building energy consumption by 16 percent since 2005, and campus energy-saving technologies include lighting sensors and steam line insulation.
Dining services spends more than 9 percent of its food budget on local and organic products and occasionally sources food from the Williams College Sustainable Garden. Only fair trade coffee is served on campus. Almost all pre- and postconsumer food waste is composted, and the college manages a comprehensive recycling program.
A formal green building policy is pending approval of the college's board of trustees, and two buildings have acquired LEED Gold certification. The college has achieved a 20 percent reduction in per capita water use since 2005 and has installed water-saving technologies such as building water meters, high-efficiency laundry machines, and low-flow faucets and showerheads.
The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives employs six student interns and works closely with students on an energy-saving competition. In the most recent competition, the winning dorm reduced energy use by over 40 percent. The Thursday Night Group organized more than 100 student volunteers to install weatherization upgrades in the local community. New student orientation features sustainability-themed information sessions and field trips, as well as a zero-waste campus picnic.
Williams partners with a car-sharing program, and a campus shuttle offers service to a local mall and grocery store. A bike-sharing program offers 20 bikes and free repair services. The college's fleet includes four electric and five hybrid vehicles, and 45 percent of employees commute to campus via environmentally preferable means.
The college makes only asset allocation information available to the public. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level is accessible online to the public.
The college aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The college also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors, and donors can request that gifts be directed into sustainable and socially responsible investment options.
An advisory committee with two students, two faculty members, two alumni representatives, and two staff advises on votes regarding shareholder resolutions for companies in which the college is directly invested.
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