Williams College Leads Initiative with Bennington College and MCLA to Weatherize Local Homes

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., November 8, 2018—On Saturday, Nov. 10, students from Williams College, Bennington College, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will participate in the 11th annual Winter Blitz. Winter Blitz is a day-long service project dedicated to weatherizing homes in Northern Berkshire County, as well as Pownal and Bennington, Vt.

Originally started as a community service event by Williams College, Winter Blitz is now a collaboration between Williams College, Bennington College, and MCLA. The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives at Williams, the Office of Student Engagement at Bennington, and the Center for Service and Citizenship at MCLA have been working with student leaders to prepare for the one-day event.

This year, approximately 185 volunteers from the three colleges will perform basic weatherization on 45 homes, installing window kits, door sweeps, hot water pipe insulation, energy-efficient light bulbs, and more. Cracks around doors and windows in homes result in heat loss, which increases 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.

“There’s something really valuable about connecting students not only with our peers at nearby colleges, but also with community members because it creates connections that aren’t possible on a college campus,” says Charlotte Jones one of the Winter Blitz co-directors from Williams. The community outreach part—creating connections to local residents—is most impactful for me.”

Student volunteers head out in teams of four to eight and prepare local homes for the upcoming winter. Each group has a team leader trained by experienced students and staff and they use a training video created by the Pittsfield-based nonprofit Center for EcoTechnology. All materials are paid for by the Zilkha Center.

In 2015, Williams College announced an ambitious set of goals aimed at addressing climate change by reducing the college’s greenhouse gas emissions, achieving carbon neutrality, and investing in sustainability projects on campus and off. The Winter Blitz project supports these goals and reflects the college’s commitment to direct, meaningful action in the fight against climate change.

For more information about Winter Blitz, visit the Williams College sustainability website at https://sustainability.williams.edu/winterblitz.

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Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.

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