From the Director| May 15, 2009
I must admit to writing this year's letter with mixed feelings. We've had another great year and the program has gone from strength to strength. We have launched a new GIS initiative (the Center for Geospatial Analysis) and have started a ground-breaking postdoc (junior faculty) program which supports new research opportunities and classes for our students every year. These initiatives are highlighted in this edition of Downstream. However, we are also losing two of our own. Timmons Roberts is leaving us to become the director of environmental studies at Brown University. As many of you know, Timmons was the first ENSP director and was instrumental in getting us to where we are today. We are also losing Tonya Insani, our fantastic financial/office/everything assistant, who is moving away from Virginia. Tonya does all the hard work to keep the program running, laboring furiously and incredibly effectively behind the scenes. They will be sorely missed but hopefully will stay in touch.
On a brighter note we have welcomed some wonderful new colleagues into our program. Jim Kaste is a new tenure-track geology hire who specializes in the fate of heavy metal contaminants. Stu Hamilton is our new director of the Center for Geospatial Analysis and is amazing everyone with his energy and passion for GIS, which is equaled only by his obsession with Liverpool FC. We also hired our first Mellon Environmental Postdoctoral Scholar—Yeuhan Lu. All three are featured in this issue of Downstream.
Perhaps the most significant environmental event on campus this year, although there have been many, was the formation of the College's Committee on Sustainability (CoS). This came about through several years of work by many students, staff, and faculty on campus, with ENSP and SEAC (Student Environmental Action Coalition) playing major roles in mobilizing student efforts (e.g., to vote for self-levied “green fees”) and coordinating the initial documents and plans that shaped the formation of this important and influential committee.
CoS reports directly to the president of the College and has already made major steps in improving the environmental performance of William and Mary, with many projects described at www.wm.edu/sustainability. In conjunction with CoS, we want to help the W&M community support the growing investment in our sustainable future, so please share your opinions/thoughts by email and on Facebook at our new group—William and Mary Friends of the Environment. But keep the Facebook poking to a minimum please!
JOHN SWADDLE, director and associate professor of biology