“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

America Recycles Day is this Sunday!

This Sunday, November 15th, is America Recycles Day! The Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC)’s Recycling Campaign is organizing a fantastic day of events, to be held from 2:00pm – 5:00pm in the Sunken Gardens (the rain plan is for Chesapeake B in the Sadler Center).

Leading up to the event, keep an eye out for the bale of compacted aluminum cans provided by our recycling vendor, Tidewater Fiber. You’ll see it, along with some interesting facts on recycling at W&M, in some of the most traveled areas of campus until Sunday.

Some of the highlights for Sunday’s event:

  • A Recycled Fashion Show will be held at 3:45! All students are welcome to attend in any sort of recycled outfit! Judging the show will be Modern Languages professor Regina Root, along with two students from Professor Root’s Ethical Fashion class. President Reveley will also make an appearance as a guest celebrity judge! The winner will receive a WaWa gift card!
  • Bring a recyclable item and enter a raffle to win another WaWa gift card.
  • Alpha Phi Omega will be giving away free recycled notebooks. Finally, a use for all of those Swem printer cover sheets…
  • Free cider will be provided — as long as you bring your own cup, of course!
  • Goodwill Industries, Trader Joe’s, and Harris Teeter will be giving away free reusable shopping bags.
  • There will be plenty of live music from campus bands.

So make sure to come out Sunday from 2-5 for America Recycles Day. Looks like it’ll be a great time!

November 12th, 2009

President Reveley’s State of the University

Earlier today, W&M President Taylor Reveley sent out his “State of the University” address to the College community. He makes a strong case for why, even in the current economic climate, W&M is still deserving of its high national standing, and in fact is poised to reach new peaks in the years to come.

Of course, I was reading with a more specific thought in mind: what does he think of our recent strides in sustainability? I wasn’t disappointed: President Reveley generously praised the sustainability efforts here at W&M in his “final thoughts.” He states that “The College’s “Green Grade” in the Princeton evaluation improved from 84 to 90,” and highlights a few notable initiatives that have taken place over the past year or two:

Last fall, we marshaled a Committee on Sustainability, to administer the “Green Fee” (the $30 annual levy that the students voted to impose on themselves – or their parents). The Green Fee raises more than $200,000 each year. Today, the committee includes more than 120 staff, faculty, students and administrators in three subcommittees and 10 working groups. Examples of their efforts to date include an audit of sustainability in the College’s curriculum, improved environmental procurement standards, the funding of HVAC upgrades in Washington and Tyler Halls, and undergraduate research in solar cell production. Last summer, two sustainability interns researched the College’s recycling program and identified over $40,000 in savings. And a recent report showed that W&M has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions size by almost 16 percent.

I want to thank President Reveley for his continued support of me, the Committee on Sustainability, and all of the great work happening here at W&M, sustainability-related and otherwise. We’re in very capable and supportive hands.

October 14th, 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.

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