COS Summer Research Funding – Apply By Monday!

March 16, 2013

Each summer, the Committee on Sustainability provides funding for students to carry out projects that enhance sustainability efforts at the College. These research grants are open to all continuing students of the College: undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Four students will be funded up to $5,000 ($3,500 stipend and up to $1,500 in research support), and will be provided with on-campus summer housing, to conduct creative research projects that advance sustainability.

Last summer, Michael Curcio, a sophomore at William & Mary, was one recipient of the COS grant. He spent eight weeks over the summer working in the Campus Garden located behind the Caf.

“The majority of my work focused on maintenance of the gardens, which included watering, planting, weeding, and harvesting. I also spent some time mapping the gardens and created an electronic copy to track what and where we have planted.”

Curcio also coordinated with Campus Kitchens to donate extra produce that they grew, and worked on designing a gazebo to serve as a meeting and organizing place at the gardens. For Curcio, the COS grant gave him the means to stay in Williamsburg over the summer and work on his project, as well as providing money for gardening supplies. Says Curcio, working for COS was a wonderful experience. “I continue to manage the Campus Gardens today, and what I learned over the summer helps me to do that.”

Colleen Swingle spent her summer looking into the feasibility of a local foods and farming initiative on the William & Mary campus. She researched what other schools did in terms of producing or procuring local foods. She also visited schools to check out their local food initiatives, and to figure out how William & Mary might be able to incorporate such projects into their curriculum. The COS grant covered all of her travel expenses, and she was able to go to places she probably wouldn’t have been able to go to had she had to pay for it.

“It was fun to be here over the summer, and to have autonomy over a project,” Swingle said. She also enjoyed meeting a number of different faculty and staff members who she might not have had the opportunity to work with otherwise. She would definitely recommend it to other students looking for something to do over the summer, and will be applying for another grant this year to continue Curcio’s gardening project.

In conjunction with faculty in Environmental Science and Policy, COS has worked to identify some target areas for student research. This year, they are encouraging applicants to consider projects promoting energy efficiency, stormwater management, alternative energy, recycling, sustainable design, independent research and environmental education.

The deadline for applications is Monday, March 18th at 5:00 PM. Please visit for instructions on how to apply. If you have not already done so, please contact Patrick Foley at with any questions.

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