Archive for August, 2009

Sustainability in the Mason School of Business

On Friday, I attended the Mason School of Business’s staff & faculty lunch christening the new Miller Hall and the new semester. The main focus of the event was sustainability at Mason, and it was fantastic to see such dedication from the school’s administration not just to celebrate their new environmentally-friendly (and absolutely gorgeous!) work space, but to advocate for sustainability making its way into every member of the business school’s daily work and routine. Dean Larry Pulley pushed for each person in the room to pick one thing to make more sustainable in their daily lives; his own was deciding not to print the meeting’s agenda for everyone in the room!

Chris Adkins, the director of Mason’s undergraduate program, finished the event with the announcement that Adam Werbach, the CEO of global sustainability marketing firm Saatchi & Saatchi S, will be speaking at W&M in the coming weeks. He also laid out his plan for more fully incorporating sustainability into Mason’s curriculum, research, and everyday activities, including the adoption of Saatchi’s Do One Thing (D.O.T.) initiative for all undergraduate business majors.

Sounds like it’s going to be a great year for sustainability in Mason! I’ll keep you updated with their progress and the events they’ll be hosting over the coming months. In the meantime, I highly recommend Adam Werbach’s new book, Strategy for Sustainability. It’s a great overview of organizational/institutional long-term planning for sustainability, and an excellent primer to making sure that your business or group is heading along a sustainable path.

August 31st, 2009

The push for volunteers begins…

Today we’ve kicked off our new-semester call for volunteers. Anna Martin, Vice President of Administration, sent out the following email to all students:

The Committee on Sustainability (COS) is looking for student volunteers for the 2008-2009 year. With 10 working groups and over 130 student, faculty, and staff volunteers, COS is the largest committee at W&M. Find out more about the Committee, including prior accomplishments and a list of working groups,

If you have any questions about the Committee or serving as a volunteer, please contact W&M’s Sustainability Fellow Phil Zapfel at The application is attached, in Microsoft Word format. Please submit the completed form electronically via email to Phil Zapfel at

And Dennis Taylor (professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science & the Environmental Science and Policy Program, co-chair of the Committee on Sustainability, and my boss) sent this notice out on the WM faculty & staff Digest:

The Committee on Sustainability (COS) is seeking interested faculty and staff to serve as sustainability volunteers for the 2008-2009 academic year.  Find out more about the Committee, including prior accomplishments and a list of working groups,  To join this effort to build a sustainable future for W&M contact our Sustainability Fellow Phil Zapfel at and tell us which committee or working group you would be interested in.  We need your interest, passion and expertise!

The consistent message here? If you want to get involved, talk to me! I’ll answer your questions and get you plugged right in.

August 28th, 2009

W&M’s first Greenhouse Gas Inventory Shows Progress

We’ve just released our first official greenhouse gas inventory! W&M has cut our emissions 16 percent per square foot of building space since 2002, according to the inventory completed by Environmental Sciency & Policy program director John Swaddle, Lauren Edmonds ’11 and College energy manager Dan Patterson. What a great sign that sustainability has really taken hold here at the College! Read the full report here if you’re interested.

August 27th, 2009

Sustainability @ W&M site relaunched!

Hello again! Just thought I’d let you all know that we’ve redesigned and relaunched the Sustainability at W&M website. You’ll be seeing more news, events, and information on our progress and current initiatives as the days pass.

In other news:

  • 220 students volunteered for the Office of Community Engagement & Scholarship’s “Students Helping Out Williamsburg” (SHOW) day today, including some putting up sustainability signs and stickers purchased by the Committee on Sustainability. Thanks to Melody Porter from OCES and students Mallory Johnson and Amanda Potter for making that happen!
  • I’m so glad to see all of the students come back! For the third year in a row, every freshman and transfer student received a reusable mug (courtesy of the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) & Dining Services) and a compact fluorescent light bulb (courtesy of Residence Life). I helped SEAC distribute the bulbs and mugs this year, and I was amazed at how many new students said, “I’ve already got a mug and CFLs!” Great to see. Every year, there’s more and more students doing their part!
Until next time,

August 25th, 2009


Hello and welcome to Hark Upon the Green, the blog covering every aspect of sustainability at the College of William and Mary! My name is Phil Zapfel, and as the College’s Sustainability Fellow for 2009-2010, I’ll be your guide to all of the fantastic sustainability work happening right now at W&M.

A bit of background on myself (also conveniently located, for future reference, on the “About” page above): Originally from Loudoun County, Virginia, I am a recent graduate of the College, class of 2009. My undergraduate time at W&M  was spent working on larger and larger sustainability projects with the Student Environmental Action Coalition, the Environmental Science & Policy Program (though I was actually an English major, believe it or not!), and the Committee on Sustainability. After graduating in May, I was lucky enough to be offered the first full-time position dedicated to sustainability in the College’s history, and as I’m sure you can tell, I graciously accepted.

My position of Sustainability Fellow is unique in that there is little to no precedent for the position at William and Mary. With the Committee on Sustainability only a year old, the College is still settling into its role as overseeing and supporting sustainability initiatives here on campus. As such, part of my job is to define my own role in the College’s administration. This task is, quite predictably, both empowering and intimidating.

There are a few tasks I know I’ll be handling: organizing and taking minutes for the Committee on Sustainability’s Steering Committee, preparing press releases on our numerous accomplishments, providing content for W&M’s sustainability website, keeping up a blog (!), and coordinating and supporting many of the amazing faculty, staff, and student initiatives popping up in every corner of campus. But there’s plenty of work to be done, and I’m looking to establish a project or two of my own over the next year. I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me when I’ve got a few ideas.

Enough about me. There’s been quite a bit going on with sustainability at W&M over the summer. Some highlights:

  • The Mason School of Business’s new building, Miller Hall, was completed earlier this month. The building is a candidate for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification, the second-highest possible certification available! The certification (whether it’s Gold or Silver, one step below) should be finalized around October.
  • W&M received a 90/99 on the Princeton Review Green Rating — up from an 84 last year!
  • Do you remember hearing about the Student Green Fee enacted in the spring of 2008? The fee, which raise over $200,000 a year for sustainability initiatives, allow for four student research grants every summer, and its first batch of researchers has just recently finished their work. Connor Horne studied local and organic food purchasing options for the College, Margaret Challand measured the quality of the campus’s storm water runoff, and Tyler Koontz and Judi Sclafani proposed efficient and money-saving changes to the College’s recycling and waste programs. You’ll be hearing more about them soon, from me, W&M news, and others!
  • W&M redesigned their sustainability website to be more helpful, comprehensive, and intuitive. Yours truly is providing content for the site, and Jennifer Sekula in the Law Library is serving as our webmaster. Check the site often for more in-depth coverage of the news, events, and projects I’ll be highlighting here.
So what’s on our plate this year? First of all, you can always find out for yourself by volunteering to serve on the Committee! All students, faculty, and staff are welcome to join. Please, email me if you have any questions!
In the next few weeks, the Committee on Sustainability be launching a new internship program, publishing sustainability audits of our academics and transportation, releasing our first official greenhouse gas inventory, and placing stickers & signs around campus to encourage sustainable personal practices. We’re quite busy, but we’ve always got room for new ideas and new people. I’m here as your personal contact into the world of sustainability at William and Mary, so don’t hold back: tell me what you think, and let me know if you’re looking to get involved in any way.
Until next time!

August 24th, 2009


Welcome to Hark Upon the Green! This blog is a shared space for members of the sustainability community at William & Mary to write about sustainability topics on and beyond.

If you would like to contribute to the blog, contact

Make sure to visit Sustainability at W&M for all of W&M's progress on sustainability efforts.

Catch up with William & Mary Sustainability on Twitter at WM_GreenisGold
and on Instagram @wm_sustainability

To learn what William & Mary's Environmental Law Society is up to, visit their blog at


RSS WM_GreenisGold