While Williams College sometimes feels secluded, there’s a constant stream of people and things being moved to and from the campus. Students travel here in the fall and leave in the spring, and they drive around campus and the local community during the academic year. Athletic teams take buses and vans to practices, games and meets. Faculty and staff commute daily to campus, and often travel further afield for professional work and conferences. Many college departments have vehicles that are used around campus and nearby.
While Williams fairly closely tracks the amount of energy it uses in campus buildings, there are many kinds of transportation that are not closely tracked. Determining the environmental impact of these activities, and how to work on reducing those impacts has proved challenging and may remain so.
College Owned Vehicles
Williams owns and operates 80 vehicles, of which four are plug in electric and 6 are gasoline-electric hybrids. Some vehicles are dedicated to individual departments, while others are available for rental by any member of the campus community. Some of these vehicles are used primarily on campus, while others are driven much further afield.
In fiscal year 2010, over 37,000 gallons of gasoline were used in college owned vehicles.
Non-College Owned Vehicles
In addition to personal vehicles that faculty, staff and students use to travel to and from (and around) campus, members of the college community also frequently rent vehicles for college business. Fuel use from personal and rental vehicles is difficult to track or estimate.
High Efficiency Vehicle parking spaces
HEV parking spaces have made their way onto campus through the requirements of LEED building projects. The number of HEV parking spaces was calculated to achieve LEED certification points for these building projects.
The overall goal is to encourage people to think about fuel efficiency and emissions when they drive and purchase cars. The HEV parking spots reward people who choose HEV vehicles.
HEV parking spaces can be seen on the campus map.
In order to qualify for an HEV sticker on campus, a vehicle must meet the LEED Low Emitting and Fuel Efficient Vehicles requirements (a green score of 40 or greater). There is a wide range of fuel efficient, low-emitting cars on the list – more than 2700 qualifying cars from model years 1998-2016.
Here’s the map where you can find them on campus – plus the town-owned electric car re-charging station in the town lot at the end of Spring Street.
Here is a link to the Williams College policy for High Efficiency Vehicles, including information about how to apply for a permit if your car is on the list.
Bikes, bike racks, and bike lockers
Use your own or borrow one from the Purple Bike Coalition.
And as you cruise around campus, you’ll see that bike racks abound. Here’s a map of all bike racks on campus.
There are also sixteen bike lockers on campus – each compartment is divided into two – which are located between Sawyer Library, Sewall House, and the Class of ’66 Environmental Center. Installed specifically for people who commute by bike to campus, they are a secure and dry place to store your bike during the day between commutes.
Many students make environmentally-conscious choices when planning their trips away from the Williams College campus. Whether your destination is North Adams, Albany, Boston, or beyond, this database created by Eco Advisor Abby Rampone ’17 presents reasonably priced and sustainable transportation options for any trip.