research-measurementsThe 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.

A Living Laboratory

This fall, CES is moving to a new home designed to achieve Living Building Challenge status—the most rigorous performance standard for sustainable design. Our new building, which will also house the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives, will have wonderful indoor and outdoor gathering spaces for students, faculty and staff as well as many student environmental groups. We are already making plans to use the building as a laboratory for improving our understanding of energy and water conservation.

After Williams

Graduates of our environmental studies program have gone on to do great things. One of our alumni is the president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy. Another leads a major environmental group protecting the Hudson River. Another took time off from doctoral studies in oceanography to work on marine sanctuaries and ocean policy in Congress. Our graduates are perennially represented in the Peace Corps. Several have served as environmental secretaries at the state level. And still others are advancing environmental responsibility in business, industry, and non-governmental organizations. Most students eventually go on to professional or graduate training. And our active alumni network has excellent advice for seniors contemplating their varied options.

Department News

Stephen Polasky ’79 on “Conserving while Developing: Natural Capital in South Africa”

Stephen Polasky ’79 is an Ecological/Environmental Economics Professor at the University of Minnesota. Additionally, he is on the Board of Directors and Science Council of The Nature Conservancy as well as the Director of the Natural Capital Project. Polasky spoke...

Paul de Konkoly Thege ’14 on “Ocean-Climate Dynamics: Using Carbon-14 to Reconstruct Past Ocean Circulation in the Bering Sea”

Paul de Konkoly Thege '14

Environmental Science major, Paul de Konkoly Thege ’14 presented his senior thesis research at log lunch on April 25, 2014. His research was focused on studying ocean circulation to learn more about rapid climate change.

De Konkoly Thege first explained...

2014 Earth Week


Carbon Emissions Awareness

For Earth Week, a group of students made an art display in Paresky to show the volume of carbon emitted by a member of the Williams College community per day.

Michael Klare on “The Carbon Curse: Resisting...

Matt Silver ’01 on “Cambrian Innovation: Biology for a Cleaner Planet”

Matt Silver '01

Matt Silver ’01 is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cambrian Innovation. Cambrian Innovation was founded in 2006, while Silver was attending MIT, as a solution-oriented technology company that works with corporate, government, and agricultural clients. While at Williams,...

Jen Lazar ’04 and Annie Moore ’04 on “The Field Academy: Starting a School that Makes Life and Learning Indistinguishable”

Annie Moore '01 (left) and Jen Lazar '01 (right)

Jen Lazar ’04 is a co-founder, program consultant, and facilitator of the Field Academy, an educational program that seeks “to connect, engage, empower, and educate young people from across the United States in order to inspire enduring learning and create...

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