Local College Students to Weatherize Homes in the Area

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

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., November 3, 2017—On Saturday, Nov. 4, students from Williams College, Bennington College, and MCLA will participate in the 10th annual Winter Blitz, a day of service dedicated to weatherizing homes in Northern Berkshire County, as well as Pownal and Bennington, Vt.

A community-service event started by Williams College, the collaborative nature of Winter Blitz has grown stronger this year.  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 75 volunteers from the three colleges will weatherize more than 25 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 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.

Student volunteers head out in teams of three to five and prepare local homes for the upcoming winter. Each group has a team leader trained by experienced students and Pittsfield-based nonprofit Center for EcoTechnology. All materials are paid for by the Zilkha Center.

Divya Sampath ’18, Miranda Villanueva ’18, and Gabby Carmona ’18 have been involved with Winter Blitz since they arrived on campus in 2014 and have been serving as co-directors for the program the past three years. Sampath says that the best part of Winter Blitz has been receiving feedback from families and homeowners about how much they have appreciated having Williams students take an interest in the community. “I think it really highlights how closely environmental initiatives can align with social justice,” she says. “We’re entering a conversation about the local challenges we’re not always able to see from our campus, with a goal of finding sustainable low-cost solutions.”

This year the Williamstown Community Chest has also contributed buckets of sand for icy steps from their Sand for Seniors program that will go out with volunteer teams.

In 2015, Williams 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 on 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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williams.edu
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