The Center for Environmental Studies

Environmental issues call upon citizens, organizations, and other agencies to grasp complex science concepts, address conflicting human values, and make difficult economic, political and ethical choices. The three curricular options in Environmental Studies—the majors in Environmental Policy and Environmental Science and the concentration in Environmental Studies—are designed to prepare students to deal effectively with these issues by integrating perspectives and methodologies from the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the arts and humanities.

The program is administered by the Center for Environmental Studies (CES), located in Class of 1966 Environmental Center. Founded in 1967, CES was one of the first environmental studies programs at a liberal arts college. In addition to the academic program described below, CES is the focus of a varied set of activities in which students lead and participate, often with other members of the Williams community. CES offers extensive resources including databases, GIS facilities, and funding for student–initiated activities, summer research and internships. The Center administers the Hopkins Memorial Forest, a 2600–acre natural area northwest of campus, where field–study sites, a laboratory, and passive–recreation opportunities may be found in all seasons. CES also operates the Environmental Analysis Laboratory in Morley Science Center.


Log Lunch





The Center for Environmental Studies (CES) is one of the oldest environmental programs at a liberal arts college and now encompasses two majors—one in environmental policy and the other in environmental science—and a concentration in environmental studies. The program is interdisciplinary and includes hands-on learning as well as theoretical research.

Graduates of the environmental studies program have diverse careers from nonprofits and policy to science research and advocacy. CES provides career and summer internship advice to students as well as connections to our active environmental studies alumni network. Additionally, CES offers summer grant funding for students.

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Department News

Elizabeth Kolbert’s Baccalaureate Address at Williams College June 4, 2016

Blogging about Environmental Justice

For their final assignment, each student in Environmental Justice explored a place-based instance of environmental injustice, i.e. a situation in which an already under-resourced or marginalized community has suffered the disproportionate effects of mad-made environmental hazards.  In a series of...

Last Log Lunch of Spring 2016

Sadly, Friday, May 6th, marked the last Log Lunch of the year. There was no speaker this week because the final Log Lunch is dedicated to the graduating CES Seniors. As a parting gift all CES Seniors received a book, The Sixth...

Caroline Atwood on “Playing in Ponds: An Attempt to Constrain the Hydrology of the ’66 Environmental Center”

On April 29th, Caroline Atwood ‘16 wrapped up the 2015-2016 Log Lunch year with a presentation of her senior thesis. Caroline spent the past year studying the water balance and hydrology of the brand-new Class of 1966 Environmental Center.

Georgette Yakman & Michael Hickey on “The Story of PFOA in Hoosick Falls, NY”

On Friday, April 22nd Michael Hickey and Georgette Yakman visited Log Lunch to give a very important and relevant Earth Day talk. Both Michael and Georgette are from Hoosick Falls and have been personally affected by the PFOA water crisis plaguing...
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