The Williams Endowment Initiative

williams_science.jpgThis is a personal story. The alumni organizing this initiative have been thinking through our individual roles in mitigating climate change and its associated disasters. We're thinking through changing the way we commute, weatherizing our homes, and so many other steps to reduce our carbon emissions. These changes are all necessary, but when we look at the numbers, it's clear that we can't do enough on our own. The activities of businesses, schools, and other institutions make up a significant chunk of the problem. So, in addition to making personal changes, we need to work through the institutions and communities that we're a part of to initiate larger-scale changes. That's why we started this movement to help Williams become a leader in responding to climate change.

We're proud that Williams is already taking steps to reduce energy use and operate more sustainably. Years of hard work by students, staff, and faculty have resulted in programs that will save the college money, reduce energy consumption, and educate the community about conservation opportunities.

We need to do more. Imagine the endowment both providing for an exceptional education and supporting initiatives that are in line with Williams' sustainability commitments; initiatives that reduce climate disrupting emissions rather than recklessly increase them.

This is doable. It's doable without compromising the health of the endowment. We will demonstrate to the Trustees that there is alumni support for this work (sign the petition to show your support). We seek to collaborate with the Trustees and the Williams Investment Office to divest the endowment of fossil fuel extraction companies and reinvest in companies providing solutions for a more stable climate. 

Many large cities, like Seattle, and small colleges, like Hampshire, have committed to divestment. Williams has the opportunity to lead the way for our peer institutions, demonstrating that we can plan long term and do the work required to ensure that Williams will continue to provide a quality education for students and a viable world for alumni.

Reinvestment is possible, it's responsible, and it makes sense. With enough support from alumni and current students, we can make this happen. Join us

Select Sources for Additional Information:

Go Fossil Free campaign resources

Resilient Portfolios and Fossil Free Pensions 

Aperio Group: Do the investment math [returns and risks of fossil-free portfolios]

MSCI report on fossil-free investment

Impax report showing fossil-free portfoloios outperforming

Top 200 companies by estimated oil and coal reserves

Williams students kick-off divestment campaign with College Council resolution

Williams Record editorial on divestment