“Do One Thing” Column in the Flat Hat

February 1, 2010

Last week, President Reveley sent an email to the College community announcing the launch of (and his endorsement of) the Do One Thing campaign campus-wide. You may remember this campaign from earlier posts of mine —  the Mason School of Business, led by the undergraduate Net Impact chapter and program director Chris Adkins, launched the first university DOT program in tandem with Saatchi & Saatchi S in September.

In support of Reveley’s announcement and the DOT program, I wrote an opinion article for the Flat Hat, published this past Friday (1/29). The edited column left something to be desired; I’ll post my draft here.

You’ve got a lot on your mind. Classes, work, sports, clubs, family, money, health – everyone’s busy, and global issues often get lost in the shuffle. William & Mary’s recent commitments to and improvements in sustainability can feel pretty disconnected from our day-to-day activities. Most of us are aware that the planet’s seen better days, but it’s hard to make something like sustainability, even here on campus, a top priority when bills need to be paid and essays need to be written. And what does “sustainability” really mean, anyway? It’s hard to relate such a large, multifaceted term to your everyday life.

The larger definition of sustainability can be summed up as using resources responsibly so that later generations can use them as well. But on a very real, individual level, sustainability is simply the ability to sustain yourself. Personal sustainability is the act of keeping yourself going – physically, emotionally, culturally, and environmentally. It’s about living a healthy, happy, fulfilling life.

This individualization of sustainability was the basis for the creation of the Do One Thing (DOT) campaign launched in September in the Mason School of Business. The program, which originated from sustainability strategy firm Saatchi & Saatchi S, has a goal of one billion people across the planet adopting a personal sustainability practice, or “DOT,” that helps them improve their lives and the lives of those around them. Due to the hard work of Mason’s undergraduate Net Impact chapter and undergraduate program director Chris Adkins, Saatchi S CEO Adam Werbach spoke on DOT at the  School of Business this past September in conjunction with Mason launching its DOT program – the first at any business school in the nation. The School of Business’s DOT Facebook page amassed over 1,000 DOTs from students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and community members in only a month.

In light of the wonderful success of DOT in Mason, we’re set to become the first DOT university: this past Monday, President Taylor Reveley announced that the DOT program is launching campus-wide. A team of Committee on Sustainability volunteers, led by Law professor Erin Ryan and Caroline Cress ’10, have worked diligently for months to roll out the DOT program in each of the schools and units across the College, beginning in Business and Law this week, and culminating in a campus DOT celebration around Earth Day in April.

So what can you do to become part of DOT? All we’d like is for you to Do One Thing! Think about your daily routine – the little acts that make up your day. Pick just one of these acts, one thing that you can change to conserve resources, improve your health or the health of others, or build community or economic stability. This change is your personal sustainability practice – your DOT. It can be something as small as printing on recycled paper, reconnecting with old friends and family, or beginning an exercise routine, or as large as switching to a more fuel-efficient vehicle. The choice is yours! We have a great role model in President Reveley himself, who has chosen to use reusable coffee mugs and print double-sided whenever he can.

The support and encouragement of our friends and peers is vital to helping these changes take hold in our lives, so it’s important to share your DOT with the rest of campus, and to see all of the wonderful DOTs your fellow College community members have chosen. Log on to www.facebook.com/wmdot, become a fan, and post your DOT on the wall. Look out for DOT drop-boxes in places like Swem Library and the Business and Law schools – we’ll be collecting all of the paper DOTs for an installation the Art Department will be building in March to showcase your DOTs!

William and Mary has made some fantastic strides in sustainability over the past few years. The Committee on Sustainability has over one hundred devoted volunteers, working on everything from  composting the dining halls’ food waste to outlining our greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The student green fee has paid for energy-saving building improvements and inspiring student research alike. President Reveley has emphasized the College’s commitment to sustainability in the past, and now he’s asking you to help.
We’re not asking you to save the world. We’re asking you to find a small way to improve your life, the lives of those around you, and the state of the world’s resources. We’re asking you to show the world what this College community of 10,000 can accomplish when we each make one small choice. We’re simply asking you to Do One Thing.

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About:

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 Madeleine Boel, Committee on Sustainability Web Assistant, at mgboel@email.wm.edu.
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
To learn what William & Mary's Environmental Law Society is up to, visit their blog at http://envirols.blogs.wm.edu/.

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