A bit more about rankings. The Forbes results recently came out, with W&M as the fourth highest among public universities and the only non-military public in the top 50. We were one of only five universities to make the Forbes top 50 list in both quality and value. William & Mary also did well in the Princeton Review rankings, which are based on surveys of undergraduates, with Swem Library seventh in the country, faculty eighth, and undergraduate happiness 14th. The College's "Green Grade" in the Princeton evaluation improved from 84 to 90 (on a scale of 60-99). And in the most recent Washington Monthly rating - a listing that looks at the university's ability to prepare students to make a difference in society - W&M finished eighth. That's the highest of any school in Virginia.
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.
The university launched a vastly improved website on July 31, 2008. Wm.edu has become our face to the world. It has received much acclaim with three recent national awards, including one for best redesign and one for photography. Since December 1, 2008, we've had nearly 16 million hits to www.wm.edu, including nearly 1.5 million unique visitors. Blogging came with the revamped website. Since December 1, 2008, the W&M blogs have had about 380,000 hits and 49,000 unique visitors. Currently, 25 students and 14 faculty and staff blog on the site.
And, finally, the quest for a new mascot! While "The Tribe" will remain the prime rallying cry for William & Mary people, we need a mascot to replace our proscribed feathers. Thanks to an effort that pursued mascot suggestions via blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, the mascot committee received a striking response, 839 nominations (over 300 of them unique). The committee will shortly put on the web several finalists, and after time for comment on them, the committee will make its recommendation to me and the Board of Visitors. Surely, we will have a new mascot in uniform and trained before the leaves return to the trees next spring. Sooner I hope.
William & Mary has been doing a lot right for a long time. Despite the financial challenges of the moment, I have steely confidence that this is going to be a century of profound progress for the College.