Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives Summer 2018 Internships (several positions)


Thanks for your interest in working with the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives! This summer, the following positions are available:

  • Communications
  • Video Production/Editing
  • Artist-in-Residence
  • Drawdown
  • Sustainability Specialist
  • Real Food
  • Gardening
  • Or, Submit Your Own Idea!


All positions are paid. See “Housing & Compensation” below for more details.


The Zilkha Center


The Zilkha Center pursues sustainability at Williams in collaboration with many other departments and individuals on campus and further afield.  We provide connections between those diverse groups; design and advocate for operational change; research, implement and share best practices.  We incorporate education, knowledge sharing and opportunities for action in all that we do.  We consider our work in the broader context – the world, our region, and our local communities.  We actively seek out collaborations with peer institutions and partners to magnify our impact.  And we continually review our efforts through internal reflection and collaborative partnerships, always seeking new methods and setting new goals that will keep us moving toward our vision.


We provide inspiration and support to other campus community members implementing sustainable projects and practices.  As experts, we inform the College’s efforts to set ambitious and achievable goals.  We monitor the College’s progress and report on its successes and failures.        


In order to do this successfully, we recognize we must understand and value the intersections of sustainability with social justice, environmental justice, equity and inclusion.  We strive to make our work accessible to a wide range of people: those who are committed environmentalists, those who have felt unwelcome in the mainstream sustainability movement, and everybody in between.     

Our Summer Internship Program:

Summer interns in the Zilkha Center have the opportunity to focus on sustainability projects that impact our campus community. The Zilkha Center is hiring interns with specific job descriptions, but interns are encouraged to also explore their own sustainability interests. Applicants are welcome to propose projects that augment or extend the job descriptions outlined below.

Interns should expect a mix of collaborative and independent work. Each week, interns will meet to discuss topics in sustainability and cook sustainable meals as a group. Additionally, interns are expected to engage the other interns with their project in some capacity over the course of the summer. Similarly, interns are expected to enthusiastically support the work of their fellow interns. In addition to the responsibilities outlined for each position below, interns should also expect to participate in team building activities throughout the summer.


In an effort to engage more directly with the mission of the Zilkha Center, interns will periodically contribute to the Zilkha Center’s social media efforts, work on updating website content and give tours of the Environmental Center. A spirit of sharing and collaboration makes the summer experience intellectually and socially rewarding.

Summer internships officially last 10 weeks, but not all students have that much time available due to family plans or other circumstances. For this reason, students have the opportunity to take take as much as two weeks off with approval prior to the start of the summer.

Position Descriptions:


Communications Intern


The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives is hiring a student to communicate sustainability efforts on campus. This includes a mix of written and graphic communications that showcase sustainability success stories or emphasize areas where we can improve.


Responsibilities for this role include:

  • Writing blog posts and develop web content pertaining to sustainability on Williams’ campus
  • Interviewing faculty, staff and/or students for content related to sustainability
  • Maintaining and increasing the Zilkha Center’s web presence using Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
  • Designing graphics and/or infographics to accompany blog posts and web content
  • Assisting with additional tasks related to communications and marketing as needed
  • Participating in collaborative projects and activities with the other summer interns


The ideal candidate for this position will have experience with – or be willing to learn – one or more of the following programs: Hootsuite, Canva, Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop, WordPress or other design programs. Please submit a writing sample and/or examples of your graphic design work.


Video Production/Editing Intern


The Zilkha Center is hiring a student intern to capture sustainability through videography. This intern will create videos the Zilkha Center’s programs including, but not limited to, our summer internship and Root. Projects may also include creating short PSA videos for our website and/or social media. This intern may also be asked to create a video updating viewers on the Class of 1966 Environmental Center and assist with other projects as requested. Additionally, all interns are expected to participate in collaborative projects and activities with the other summer interns.


The ideal candidate for this position will have some experience with, or be willing to learn, Final Cut Pro, iMovie or other video production/editing software. Some video production and editing training will be provided. Cameras and editing software are also available. Applicants should submit an example of their work in addition to their application.


Real Food Intern


The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives is hiring a student to advance sustainable food initiatives at Williams. The internship will include at least the following four projects: (1) researching two months of Williams Dining Services purchases to determine both our current “real food percentage” and the potential areas to make change in our food purchasing; (2) updating the Real Food on Roadtrips map and working to integrate it with fall teams; (3) facilitating site visits to local farms and food processors with members of Dining Services to tour their facilities and determine if we should purchase their products  (4) assisting Dining Services staff in the kitchen with a few hands-on food preservation projects.  More on each below.


    1. The Real Food Guide, created by the national organization Real Food Challenge (which was co-founded by a Williams alum), provides a method for the tracking of institutional purchases of food to assess them on four core categories: local/community-based, fair, ecological, and humane. This internship will use the Real Food Guide to dig in to Williams’ food purchases to determine which of our of purchases meet those criteria, and to identify product shifts with the potential for the highest and best sustainability impact.


  • The “Real Food on Roadtrips” map was created two years ago by a summer intern.  This internship will update the map and will meet with some assistant coaches to figure out how better to integrate the map into their roadtrip and meal planning.


  1. Local Farm & Food Distributor/Food Hub Site Visits – In collaboration with Dining Services chefs, the real food intern will schedule a few site visits over the course of the summer in which they and members of Dining will tour farms and facilities to learn more about each entity’s product and operations in order to determine if we should continue or begin purchasing from that farm/company
  2. The hands-on cooking portion with Dining would include a few sessions in the kitchen making products such as tomato sauce, raspberry jam, and zucchini bread.


Drawdown Intern

Regional Solutions to Addressing Climate Change


The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives is hiring a student to work on a multi-college collaborative project to create and prioritize regional solutions to address climate change.  


In partnership with interns from Smith and Amherst colleges, this intern will investigate the global Drawdown methodology, compile regional climate data to determine the top priorities for the region, and conduct a gap analysis to determine where we have overlap with global drawdown and where regional strategies might differ. Interns will write a report and present to key stakeholders about their findings and the plan for next steps


So what is “Drawdown” itself?

As the book and website state: “The 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming, based on meticulous research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world.  Drawdown is that point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begins to decline on a year-to-year basis.”


Due to the collaborative nature of this internship, applicants must have the ability to travel to the Pioneer Valley for occasional meetings. (Students with a driver’s license can use a college vehicle for these trips. See “Eligibility to Drive a College Vehicle” on the Facilities website.)


Summer Garden Team (two positions)


The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives is hiring two Williams students to manage the Class of 1966 Environmental Center annual and perennial gardens and Parsons Garden. In addition, this team will assist in the upkeep of and with projects at the gardens at the Williams Children’s Center and Williamstown Elementary School.


This creative and socially engaging summer work involves the planning and implementation of garden planting and maintenance, harvesting and distributing produce, and preparing gardens for a successful fall season. The summer garden team will also improve the infrastructure of the campus gardens and enhance the community impact of the gardens by planning social events. This is a position for project-oriented and motivated leaders who like working with others.


The Summer Garden Team will be supervised by staff in the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives. Applicants involved in Williams Sustainable Growers will be given  preference.




The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives is hiring a student artist to interpret sustainability themes in original work. Visual and performing artists, poets, and writers of fiction are encouraged to apply. The artist will create a body of work over the summer and present selected pieces in a show or reading during the 2018 fall semester. Additionally, all interns are expected to participate in collaborative projects and activities with the other summer interns. Applicants should submit a portfolio representative of the range and scope of their work that includes at least three pieces.


Sustainability Specialist


The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives is hiring a student to work on a number of exciting sustainability-related projects.  This internship will include at least the following components: 1) Coordinating sustainability-focused tour efforts on campus, 2) collecting campus sustainability data for the STARS report, 3) analyzing dorm temperature data, 4) assisting the sustainability coordinator with team-building activities for summer interns, 5) implement key sustainability website updates.


  1. Tour responsibilities will include recruiting, creatively adapting, and leading tours of the Class of 1966 Environmental Center for various groups including students, faculty, and staff; summer camps; admission tours; and community members.  Additionally this intern will create a Sustainable Williams tour looking at sustainability successes, challenges, and opportunities across campus..
  2. The STARS report (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) “is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.”  This intern will begin collecting campus data for the STARS report, which we will submit in the fall.
  3. To help with campus climate adaptation planning, this intern will conduct research about temperature trends in student residences.
  4. While Zilkha Center interns work on individual projects, they also collaborate to provide various perspectives and offer feedback on one another’s work.  Because of the ZC’s collaborative approach to summer internships, we usually plan a couple of off-site excursions throughout the course of the summer.  This intern will help to plan and facilitate those.  
  5. A few website projects require some dedicated attention and updates in the summer.  No experience necessary.  We will provide training for everything wordpress-related that you need to know.   


Submit Your Own Internship Idea

The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives also welcomes an internship idea generated by the applicant themself. The idea must relate to sustainability at Williams. The applicant must provide a well-developed plan outlining the underlying issue and their method to approach the problem. They must also submit a detailed calendar scheduling out how their project will progress over the course of the summer. The applicant must also demonstrate their experience and skills that allow enable them to work on the project. The applicant should also describe why they find the project motivating. Projects ideally are replicable by other students and institutions; the project fundamentally changes something for the better; and it provides learning opportunities for other students, other institutions, and/or the broader community. If you are interested in pursuing this internship, we recommend that you meet with a staff member in the Zilkha Center before applying.


Program Dates, Housing and Compensation


Dates of internship

10 weeks: June 11–August 17

Hours per week

40 hours

Pay per period

Research assistant stipend: $440.00/week


Paid for by the college.

Meal plan

Paid for by student:

50-block plan for ≈$555.00

75-block plan for ≈$832.50


Access the application here. Apps are due Wednesday, February 28, at 11:59pm.


Please contact Elayne Elliott at [email protected] with questions.


For more information about sustainability at Williams

For more information about the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives