Winter Blitz

Winter Blitz is a community outreach weatherization program that gets students into nearby communities to help seal up houses to make them warmer and decrease winter energy costs for residents. The initiative aims to assist community members who cannot weatherize themselves.

Gabby, a Winter Blitz director, leads a training (Photo by Arjun Kakkar)

Trained volunteers install basic window kits, door sweeps, and energy-efficient light bulbs. They also seal up cracks around doors and windows in homes, that untreated would result in heat loss, which drives up energy costs and requires more energy use. Weatherizing homes saves money and energy for the residents and contributes to broader energy conservation efforts. It also helps foster connections between students and local residents.

Typically, Winter Blitz is a Zilkha Center-organized collaboration between Williams College students, MCLA students, and Bennington College students.

  • If you would like to volunteer to help out during Winter Blitz, please fill out the Winter Blitz Volunteer form. We encourage you to sign up with friends to make the experience as collaborative and fun as possible!

  • If you live in Northern Berkshire County or Pownal or Bennington, VT and would like to request that your house be weatherized next November, please fill out the Winter Blitz Home Weatherization Request form. Winter Blitz student leaders will get back to you soon.

  • The Winter Blitz toolkit is the product of ten years of student-led home weatherization work and documentation.  In the spring of 2018, long-time co-director Divya Sampath ’18 put together a manual for future Williams directors. Wyndom Chace ’21 took that information and all the previous documentation and turned it into a toolkit meant to be shared.

    Here’s the link to the Winter Blitz toolkit.

History of Winter Blitz

In the fall of 2008, the Williams College Center for Community Engagement (now CLiA) expressed an interest in expanding their current weatherization volunteer efforts. Madeline King and Jennifer Rowe, two student leaders in environmental work and community service, took on the task and envisioned “Winter Blitz.”

Jessica Chen ’19, designer of the 10th anniversary logo

They planned a one-day event with an emphasis on recruiting and involving many students outside and community groups. The first Winter Blitz, in 2008, was considered to be a great success, with over 120 volunteers who weatherized 40 homes in three local towns in the Northern Berkshires. Funding for the program was provided through the Zilkha Center and a grant from the Henry David Thoreau Foundation.

After receiving positive feedback from volunteers and homeowners, the Center for Community Engagement and involved student groups have been working to make Winter Blitz an annual event. Winter Blitz leaders moved forward by strengthening connections with the Williams College Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives and several community development organizations.

Williams now partners with Bennington College and MCLA to engage more student volunteers and increase the impact of the program.  2018 marks the 11th year of Winter Blitz!

(The goals and history are from an AASHE submission in 2010, written by Madeline King ’11 and Stephanie Boyd, former Director of Zilkha Center)

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