“Do One Thing” Column in the Flat Hat

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.

February 1st, 2010

Green Business Schools

I’ve mentioned quite a bit about the Mason School of Business’s sustainability initiatives this year, and apparently I’m not the only one noticing! After commenting on an article on sustainability in B-schools across the nation by BusinessWeek, W&M / Mason student Jennifer Lopdrup ’11 was highlighted as a “featured reader” on businessweek.com. Great job, Jennifer, and thanks to BusinessWeek for recognizing our efforts!

October 26th, 2009

Last Night’s Event with Adam Werbach

Last night, Adam Werbach of Saatchi & Saatchi S spoke at the new Miller Hall, courtesy of William & Mary’s Mason School of Business’ Undergraduate Program and the Undergraduate Net Impact chapter. A few thoughts:

  • I was lucky enough to have dinner with Adam and some of the Mason and sustainability faculty before the speech. I have to say — the meal and the executive dining room were both wonderful. I can’t say enough about both Mason and Miller Hall to this point; I’ve had nothing but fantastic experiences with both since I’ve been hired.
  • Adam was, as expected, bright, enthusiastic, and eager to learn what we were doing at William & Mary. We discussed higher education’s role in promoting a sustainable way forward for the next generation, and Adam had some interesting insights into the way sustainability would be perceived in the years to come.
  • Wow, what a turnout! Apparently the event sold out quite quickly, and the ballroom in Miller Hall was absolutely packed. So great to see so many people, from both within and outside of Mason, interested in sustainability in the business world.
  • For those of you who haven’t read Adam’s book Strategy for Sustainability, I highly recommend it; most of his speech highlighted the points he elaborates on in his book. The speech itself was entertaining, informative, and light-hearted, all of which I think are important in the general sense of educating people on sustainability.
  • The questions asked by the audience were fantastic, and, perhaps most importantly, were from a wide range of students — MBA, BBA, and non-business students. Perhaps most telling was Adam’s response to the question “So what do we do next?” Saatchi & Saatchi S’s “DOT” is to have 1 BILLION people pick a personal sustainability practice; but, as Adam elucidated, that’s where their role ends. They aren’t in charge of what we do after picking our practice; that’s our job! We get to decide what happens next. And I think, more than anything else, that’s what I took away from Adam’s speech: that here in higher education, and especially here at William & Mary, we have the opportunity to use these networking and marketing tools to build larger & more effective groups dedicated to one thing (sustainability) which, like ourselves, is so many different things at once.

I hope you all enjoyed the event as well. I’ll be meeting with Net Impact next week to discuss phase two of W&M’s “DOT” campaign. What will YOU do next?

September 25th, 2009

Weekend Update

From the past few days…

  • The Mason School of Business’s Undergraduate program’s Do One Thing (DOT) Campaign on Facebook has reached over 500 fans and over 200 DOTs posted, according to Undergraduate program director Chris Adkins. Add yours today!
  • COS launched the Eco-Ambassador program on Saturday with a marathon kickoff & training event, graciously hosted by Larry Smith in the Commons Cafeteria. 7 departments & offices across campus are hosting students working to create their own sustainability projects and implement them in each office. From Modern Languages to Landscape & Grounds, you’ll be seeing new ideas in daily sustainability practices popping up all over campus!
  • COS also has announced its request for proposals for the Fall 2009 Green Fee projects! Anyone on campus can submit a proposal for improving any aspect of campus sustainability, funded by the student green fee. Look over the requirements and start working on a proposal of your own!

September 21st, 2009

Choose your DOT!

The Mason School of Business asks, “What’s your DOT?”

DOT stands for Do One Thing, and it’s a program launched by the global sustainability agency Saatchi & Saatchi S. Saatchi has been working with companies like Wal-Mart to launch the DOT program among their employees — changing “sustainability” from a vague concept into a specific task relating to one’s own life. These “one things”, or Personal Sustainability Practices, can be anything relating to your own cultural, social, economic, or environmental impact. I, for example, am fixing my bicycle, so that I can ride it to work. In the process, I’ll get in better shape, (exercise fits under “social”), save money on gas (economic), and reduce my carbon emissions (environmental) by not driving!

Saatchi & Saatchi S is working with William & Mary’s Mason School of Business to launch the first university-level DOT campaign. Mason is looking for 100 new W&M community members a week to join the DOT campaign (join here on Facebook!). This campaign is in conjunction with an event happening next week at Miller Hall. The School of Business is bringing Adam Werbach, the global CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi S and former President of the Sierra Club (at age 23!), to campus on Thursday, September 22nd at 7:00 PM in the main hall of Miller. Invitations are required (more information here), but the event is free!

This is a great launch to what will be a fantastic year for sustainability in Mason. Join the DOT campaign, spread the word, attend the event next week, and keep checking in for more!

September 15th, 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


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