In the late fall of 2005, President Schapiro received a petition signed by nearly 1500 faculty, staff and students asking Williams to set greenhouse gas emissions goals. In 2006, he created the Climate Action Committee and charged it “to recommend by the end of this calendar year a goal for the reduction of College greenhouse gas emissions and ways to attain it.” The CAC recommended setting a target of 10% below 1990-1991 levels by 2020, and recommended that Williams hire a director of sustainability responsible for developing and coordinating the implementation of a comprehensive strategic plan for emissions reductions and other issues related to sustainability.
In January of 2007, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt goal of reducing Williams’ emissions to 10% below 1990 by 2020, and to establish sustainability as an institutional priority.
In the fall of 2007, the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives was established with a generous donation from Selim Zilkha, Class of 1946.
The Zilkha family, whose donation helped establish the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives, owns a business in the biomass industry. This fact does not affect any Center initiatives or programming.