Environmental issues call upon citizens, organizations, and governments to grasp complex scientific concepts, address conflicting human values, and make difficult economic, political and ethical choices. The three curricular options in Environmental Studies—the major in Environmental Studies and the concentrations in Environmental and Maritime Studies—are designed to prepare students to effectively address 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 the 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, funding for student-organizations, and student initiated activities, and generous support for summer research and internships. The Class of 1966 Center, a Living Building and the Program’s home, includes a classroom, living room, study rooms, kitchen, as well as student gardens. The CES manages the Hopkins Memorial Forest, a 2600-acre natural area northwest of campus, in which there are field-study sites and a laboratory, and where passive-recreation opportunities may be found in all seasons. CES also operates the Environmental Analysis Laboratory in Morley Science Center. The Maritime Studies concentration builds on the course offerings of the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program at Mystic Seaport.