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!