Climate Action Goals

2007-2008 Climate Action Goals

Inspired by the Middlebury Conference

Building Activism on Campus: As members of an educational institution, we recognize that student involvement and awareness are critical factors in the direction and priorities of the college. Because of that, we must work to inspire a greater degree of activism at Williams--both global warming related and otherwise. We need to strengthen and expand the groups that are working on climate change and incorporate new groups into our movement by reaching out to them.

1. Thursday Night Group and Greensense should continue to be strengthened by reaching out to people with diverse backgrounds and interests. We need to engage people with things they want to do and use their talents in the best possible way. The group's current, project-oriented focus should be developed and strengthed so as to encourage leadership, involvement, and member empowerment. The best way to build a group identity is to engage people in projects, especially ones that have visible results. We can include people who don't come to meetings if we bring them projects that are simple but have observable results, thereby "opening the door" to slightly more in depth projects. While we should work to expand our numbers, we must focus on finding those students who have a passion & desire to get involved. New brains & old brains alike!

2. Hold periodic brainstorming sessions to include group members' ideas and input into the group's direction.

3. CEAC should use its unique status as a student/faculty/staff committee to focus on setting policy for the college. CEAC shouldn't focus on projects as much because there are so many other student groups that are motivated and capable of doing so. Similar to other oversight bodies at peer institutions, it would function much better as a policy setting body rather than a 'doing' body.

4.Incorporate other groups into our activism. We can set up dinner discussions with groups to talk about climate change as it relates to their issues. We need to let them engage the issue on their own terms. Just like at high schools, we should remember to maintain steady contacts with members in these other groups to keep them motivated, updated, & on track.

5.Encourage students to apply for and serve on important committees like CPR, CEP, CC, CSHR, etc. Emphasize the important work that can and should be done on these committees to further sustainability and climate goals.

6.High school students are also prime targets to impart knowledge about global warming on. We must recognize that our leadership footprint--the area of our impact--is larger than just our campus. The "Do it in the Dark" idea between high schools in the Berkshire area was a really great idea & would show these students firsthand how they can make a difference.

7.We should reach out not only to high school students but to the surrounding community at large. An important idea that came up at the Middlebury conference was the idea of service as a means of engagement.

On-Campus Education:

1.Use our opportunities when students are in the outdoors to bring up facts about climate change to inspire interest and investment. We should use the concert at the beginning of WOOLF to this effect. We could ask Scott Lewis for 20 minutes or so before the concert to discuss global warming, its effects on the Berkshires, and ways to get involved (Greensense and Thursday Night Group).

2.Create a student position to help events become more sustainable. This person could operate through the co-sponsorship fund and other party throwing groups to provide the extra hands necessary for green events. We could use funds to give money to groups to buy party supplies from more sustainable sources, fund parties if they comply with certain recycling standards, such as recycling signage for cups, bottles, cans, etc.

3.CEAC is working with Facilities to design Eco-Rep positions which would educate dorms about recycling and other issues and would seek to inspire a greater degree of action by individual students.

4.The Flick Me Off campaign. Have a pledge to turn off appliances. Post the list of pledgers in a very visible place online and on campus.

5.Adopt-a-Senator. Make a clothes-line at TNG to hang up holding letters that we've written to congressmen. This can be an ongoing project to make our actions very visible to ourselves and encourage more people to participate. We can focus on national issues, as well as campus based issues.

6.Continue the CFL exhange project, coordinating through Greensense and Thursday Night Group. Set a goal date for each house to eliminate their incandescent bulbs, and involve the cluster system and Eco-Reps. Is there a way we could organize a petition to have only CFL on campus? How costly/time-consuming would that be? The CFL issue is one that is relatively simple for the non-global-warming-educated activist to understand, & is a great way to make a difference in every building on campus.

7.Communicate with first-year students before they arrive on campus about buying Energy Star appliances and sharing appliances such as refrigerators. Include a flyer in the freshman packet and add purchasing tips to the Bell Book. Also we could suggest in the Bell Book that students talk to their entrymates before purchasing a fridge & all agree to have one in the common room. This would clearly save an exorbitant amount of energy that is wasted as many students have individual fridges in their rooms. Also reminding students to unplug their fridges over vacations!

8. Continue planning for Focus the Nation on January 31, 2008 including trying to get people involved with spreading the word to their secondary schools. Focus the Nation is such an exciting project for Williams to be involved in & so easy to recruit more schools. Just like how Middlebury assigned different states to different students, we here at Williams could have similar assignments to perhaps each recruit three schools to join Focus the Nation & maintain contact with students at these schools leading up to January 31, 2008.

9. Continue campus energy saving competitions such as "Do it in the Dark," which encourage even students not as interested in the environment to save electricity.

Institutional Buy In:

1.The Bright Card is a credit card which donates 1% of all purchases towards buying carbon credits. It will be available as a college purchase card and will function just like a credit card. If the college spends 4% of its operating budget through these cards it will account for 25% of the college's carbon footprint.

2.Green Fund (name should denote climate action): Create a fund as part of the endowment to invest in on-campus sustainability improvements, including infrastructure and academic changes. Examples include green building features, retrofitting buildings, transportation (purchasing hybrid security vehicles), funding curriculum development, etc. This fund could be created from a portion of the endowment, as a new fund for alumni to contribute to, as a class of 2008 gift. This part requires research into other school's programs, (Harvard, Middlebury, UNC).

3.Green Building Policy with real power. Green building certification on all new buildings with a requirement for energy-use guidelines within the certification. Williams should limit its own building policies in some way. It could set a maximum or average energy use per square foot. Questions for Steve and Stephanie: How can we get more involved in the building planning process? How can we influence the new athletic facilities? What power do we have? How do we find out at the very beginning of the process for a new building? Would it help to use outside sources of loans for efficient buildings (services such as ESCO?) What is the best forum to discuss these issues?

4.Curriculum Development: There are several ways to integrate climate change into the curriculum in a way that utilizes various discipline's unique perspectives on the issue and its solutions. Talk to Dave Dethier about using the LUCE grant for what it is intended for – curriculum development. Consider global warming in future professor's backgrounds. Upcoming hiring in environmental studies, humanities, economics, etc. Even if professors aren't focused on climate change they should still be asked 'how would you incorporate this into your class' during the interview process. Use Focus the Nation as a program for professors to add climate change to their existing classes and use our knowledge to give professors a resource for making it relevant to their subjects. (look for resources at UNC and other schools)

5.Involve the COOL committee in our planning for college action. They are a motivated group of community members who are doing lots of work on their own projects.