Sustainability requirements: An Eco Advisor project

As part of her Eco Advisor project, Bless Reece ’22 put together a research paper evaluating the benefits and disadvantages of implementing a campus-wide sustainability requirement for students.

“Williams College prides itself on providing the “finest” liberal arts education possible. Yet, the college has yet to place sustainability at the forefront of education as other peer institutions are attempting to do. We are a teaching institution that should place emphasis on these values, especially as the strategic planning committees continue to make changes to the curriculum and our community as a whole. These issues need to be discussed by Williams College faculty, staff, and students, not only due to the current political climate, but also to prepare them for the near future. I propose that the college takes action in educating its students by creating a sustainability requirement. In one year as a Zilkha Center intern, I was able to create multiple options for a sustainability requirement, emphasizing how flexible this potential curricular addition is. Of course the options listed below are not the only ones available, there are many pre-existing opportunities in which we can meaningfully integrate sustainability by looking at specific courses, classes, and opportunities such as Zilkha Center internships or sustainability focused events. The college’s current requirements show what they deem essential for their students’ success, this includes diversity, power, equity, writing, quantitative and formal reasoning, as well as taking courses in different disciplines. The college even has a physical education requirement for its students to stress the importance of health and the range of physical activities students can partake in. I recommend that Williams College, implement a sustainability requirement similar to the current Difference, Power, and Equity (DPE) requirement, in order to further our students’ and staff’s knowledge of sustainability, as well as continue to move forward as one of the finest liberal arts institutions. ”

The full paper can be found here.