Environmental Studies and Sustainability

At Williams, students and faculty study environmental issues in ways that integrate the natural sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities.

The college simultaneously supports a number of initiatives intended to move our campus and community toward greater sustainability and a reduced climate impact.

Many of these efforts are coordinated by the Center for Environmental Studies and the Zilkha Center, respectively.

The Center for Environmental Studies (CES), founded in 1967, was one of the first environmental studies programs at any liberal arts college in America. CES supervises and supports courses throughout the Williams curriculum on environmental topics and offers 35 funded internships every summer. The Center is also the focus of a varied set of activities and resources, including the Log Lunch series; the Hopkins Memorial Forestthe Environmental Analysis Laboratory; and the Maritime Studies concentration, rooted in the course offerings of the Williams-Mystic Program.

The Zilkha Center pursues sustainability work at Williams in collaboration with departments and individuals on campus and beyond. Many of these efforts come together around four major themes: Energy and EmissionsFood and WaterWaste and Recycling; and Buildings and Transportation. The Center also tracks and publicizes the college’s progress toward goals for sustainability and emissions reduction and works to identify and overcome hurdles in those efforts

The CES and Zilkha Center are co-located in the Class of ’66 Environmental Center, which in 2017 was awarded Petal Certification by the Living Building Challenge. The Center includes a classroom, living room, study rooms, kitchen, CES and Zilkha offices, and outdoor spaces with student gardens and fruit trees.