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Dominion grant to enable William & Mary students to assess EcoVillage site

  • Ecofunded
    Ecofunded
    (From left) Visiting Assistant Professor Doug DeBerry, Professor Emeritus Dennis Taylor, Sustainability Fellow Patrick Foley, Charlotte Dobry '14, External Affairs Manager Melanie R. Beale, Professor Jim Perry; Executive Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Annie Davis, Bernadette Aylward '14, Chancellor Professor Lynda Butler, Professor Greg Hancock, Professor and Dean of Undergraduate Studies John Griffin, and Associate Professor Andrew Fisher.
    Photo by Stephen Salpukas

Dominion Virginia Power and The Dominion Foundation have awarded the College of William & Mary a $45,000 grant for students to investigate land use impacts, integrated landscape design, planning and management for the future site of the College’s EcoVillage project. The Honorable Melanie Rapp Beale, a former Virginia delegate and current external affairs manager for Dominion Virginia Power’s Eastern Region, presented a check to the College Sept. 19.

The grant will enable more than 80 students to work with faculty to produce an environmental assessment and a management plan for the project that will guide the College’s development of the EcoVillage site. Upon completion of the project, spearheaded by William & Mary’s Committee on Sustainability, the 65-year-old Lodges currently at the EcoVillage site will be replaced with state-of-the-art sustainable structures designed to achieve net zero impacts.

“Energy, environment and education are among the most critical concerns for the future of our country,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Dominion Resources. “Dominion will continue to support schools, teachers and students who are working to find solutions that will improve life for generations to come. Our support begins in the classrooms.”

“Dominion has shown itself to be a loyal partner in education, sustainability and innovation,” said John Griffin, dean of undergraduate studies and associate professor of biology.  In recent years, Dominion Virginia Power has provided grants to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Mason School of Business at William & Mary. 

Griffin praised the leadership of Dennis Taylor, principal investigator and emeritus professor of marine science, who has led the Committee on Sustainability’s efforts to design the EcoVillage project in ways that maximize learning opportunities for students and faculty.

“Dominion’s grant will help us realize that educational vision,” Taylor said. 

Students will be trained to use tools and techniques of geospatial analysis, environmental assessment and environmental footprinting to determine how best to integrate the new buildings into the natural habitat with minimal environmental impact.

The project builds on faculty expertise in William & Mary’s Environmental Science and Policy Program (ENSP), the Center for Geospatial Analysis, biology, economics, geology, chemistry and other disciplines engaged in ongoing study of the environment. A new Land Use and Landscape Management course will anchor the project.

In addition to student training in state-of-the-art techniques and increased awareness of sustainability, the project has the potential to advance the growth of interdisciplinary research and teaching at the College and add more depth and breadth to the areas of environment and sustainability in the undergraduate curriculum. It will also allow the College to expand its resources available for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and training for K-12 students in the Williamsburg area.

Dominion Resources is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 28,000 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation’s largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. The Dominion Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, of which Dominion Virginia Power is a subsidiary.