William & Mary

Committee on Sustainability announces spring 2015 Green Fee projects

William & Mary’s Committee on Sustainability has announced its Spring 2015 Green Fee Awards, totaling $80,850.

Green Fees are a grassroots student initiative created in 2008 that has helped fund hundreds of sustainability projects on the William & Mary campus and is available to all students, faculty and staff. This semester had a record number of submissions and was extremely competitive with projects ranging from outreach to resource conservation.

Solar Charging Station/Café Table

$7,500 to Randy Chambers, Director, Keck Environmental Lab

A rendering of what the table may look likeThis small-scale, visible photovoltaic project is designed to help to garner more interest in the pursuit of more sustainable energy acquisition and use on campus. The charging station essentially is a picnic table made of recycled plastic with an umbrella awning onto which four solar panels have been placed.  Electrical outlets on the umbrella pole provide for two 110-V plugs and four USB connections for laptop use and handheld electronics recharging, respectively.  LED lights will allow for use of the table by students at night. The solar-powered table will potentially be installed with the other outdoor tables in front of Sadler Center.

One Tribe Place Exterior Lighting Improvements

$20,000 to Dan Patterson, Associate Director of Utilities for Facilities Management

To illuminate the exterior of One Tribe Place, a combination of incandescent, compact fluorescent, metal halide and high pressure sodium light sources are utilized. Except for two new LED fixtures near the front doors, no improvements have been made to the exterior lighting since the building was the Hospitality House. Not only are the current fixtures inefficient, lighting levels and quality are less than ideal. This project would convert the entire exterior to LED sources, increasing light levels while reducing energy consumption.

Installation of a Fix-it/ Personal Bike Repair Station at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science

$1,500 to graduate students Randy Jones '15 and Bruce Pfirrmann '17, and William Horacio, Director of Parking and Transportation Services

In order to support and encourage the increased utilization of bicycle commuting between W&M's Virginia Institute of Marine Science campus and the local community, the Committee on Sustainability will be funding the installation of a Fix-it Station. The station will provide bike specific tools, an air pump and a means to hang a bike while performing simple repair and maintenance tasks. It will be easy to use, weather resistant, located centrally on campus behind Chesapeake Bay Hall and accessible to all VIMS students, staff, faculty and visitors.

Industry Panel on the Future of Energy and Sustainability

$750 to the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy, and graduate research asistants Angel Aymond, Emily Jenkins and Kevin Rasmussen

The EPA's Clean Power Plan is scheduled to go into effect in June 2015 which requires each of the 50 states to develop plans to reduce their carbon emissions by 30 percent between the 2012 base year and 2030. Graduate students from public policy, the Marshall-Wythe School of Law and the Mason School of Business heard from senior executives from the electric utility industry, environmental protection for oil and natural gas and power consulting fields regarding the technical systems, environmental mitigations, regulatory and public policy challenges for the future which will impact energy businesses and consumers. Students were able to learn more and ask questions regarding wind and solar power systems, energy storage research, demand-response digital controls, microgrids and the legal and regulatory transformations which will be required over the next decade. W&M students had the opportunity to discuss the complexities for how "to bring a safer, smarter, and greener energy future" to local communities and across the USA.    

Green Corps at William & Mary Leadership and Activist Training

$50 to Anne Davis ‘16 and Lucy Copper ‘16 and advisor Brent Kaup, Professor of Sociology

Green Corps Activist Training workshops are held at participating universities across the country, with an aim to teach the skills necessary for effective leadership, especially in the field of environmental activism. Commitment and passion towards a cause is fundamental, but practical skills in organization and planning are integral for a successful movement. The workshop held in March provided short training sessions in planning, volunteer recruitment and retention, and how to create effective fundraising campaigns. Topics covered in the workshop should serve to strengthen the work already being done for the environment and for social justice causes at W&M, through providing the skills to inspire and propel a campaign towards success. The hope is that students will apply these invaluable tools both towards their time at William & Mary and throughout their lives as leaders and organizers. 

Distribution of Reusable Bags During Orientation to Display Graduate Program On-Campus Recycling Options

$2,954 to Emma Rodvien ‘15, Brooke Huffman ’15 and advisor Calandra Waters Lake

This student-led project’s goal is to promote education and understanding of on-campus recycling options for incoming graduate students. In recent years, various recycling programs have emerged on the William & Mary campus. Students are now able to recycle an extensive list of items from ink cartridges to light bulbs. In order to ensure that awareness of these programs also grows, COS is funding the purchase of custom reusable bags that depict a list of on-campus recycling options. This reusable bag program already exists for first year undergraduates and will be expanded to include the incoming graduate students during orientation as part of efforts to educate students on available recycling options and the overall sustainability goals of the William & Mary community.

Installation of Elkay Water Bottle Refilling Station in James Blair Hall

$2,202 awarded to Brendan Thomas, student member of Take Back the Tap, and advisor Laurie Koloski, Associate Professor of History

Currently there is no water bottle refilling station in Blair Hall. Blair is the home of both the history and philosophy departments. As such, there are many classes held in Blair and many students pass through every day. A new water bottle refilling station will allow students easier access to water and will cut down on use of disposable water bottles. This will decrease William & Mary's waste output and make the campus more sustainable as a whole.

Post-Landfill Action Network Workshop

$876 to Jaya Uppal ‘18, Audrey Kriva ‘17 and advisor Sandra Prior, Director of Environmental Health & Safety

In order to give student leaders in sustainability access to more knowledge related to zero-waste initiatives on campus, COS will provide funding for the leaders of the Post-Landfill Network, Alex Freid and Faye Christoforo, to provide a workshop for interested students. This workshop will serve as a way for students to have a dialogue with Alex and Faye to see what zero-waste initiatives have been successful on other college campuses, and get the tools necessary to implement similar programs at William & Mary.

Crim Dell Restoration

$1,285 awarded to Nick Newberry ‘17, Jesse Smyth ’18 and advisor Linda Morse, Director of Introductory Laboratories & Outreach Programs

The Crim DellThe area around the Crim Dell is currently overgrown with invasive plant species like bamboo and English ivy that are choking out native plants and decreasing the health of the ecosystem. COS will fund an effort to remove these species and foster the growth of existing native species as well as eventually adding more native plants to the area. This will increase the health of the Crim Dell ecosystem, and will make the area more conducive to healthy use by students.

Installation of Elkay Water Bottle Filling Stations in the Integrated Science Center

$3,394 to Rose Mayo ‘16 and advisor Doug Young, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

In a continual effort to reduce the use of disposable water bottles, the COS will fund the installation of water bottle filling stations in the Integrated Science Center. This will provide students and faculty of the chemistry, biology and psychology departments better access to means to utilize reusable water bottles. Successful installations of similar stations can be seen in Miller Hall, Ewell Hall, the Sadler Center and the Office of Undergraduate Admission, among others.  

LED Lights Outfitting, Law School Parking Lot

$7,669 awarded to Jimmy Hewitt ‘15 and advisor Randolph Chambers, Professor of Biology

LED lighting is a new technology that cuts energy usage by up to 80 percent. The implementation of this technology in the parking lot of the W&M Law School will reduce the carbon footprint to the effect of planting three acres of tree forest. With this grant, William & Mary will be taking yet another step towards using new technology to achieve sustainability goals. These new lights will save the university roughly $2,200 each year in energy costs.

Law School Detention Pond Stabilization

$5,800 to John McFarlane, Associate Director of Gardens and Grounds for Facilities Management

Facilities Management currently spends maintenance reserve money to remove sediment and restore campus detention ponds to original specifications per requirement from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. The sides of the pond have no herbaceous material growing on them because of the amount of trees on the north slope that shade the pond during the spring – fall growing season. As soon as the accumulated silt is removed from the bottom of the Law School pond, because of the shade, the pond fills back up with silt. The project money will be used to remove selective trees on the north side of the pond to provide sunlight to the base of the pond. The pond will then be seeded and plugged with native grasses and herbaceous plants to stabilize the banks. Providing sunlight and stabilizing the pond with native plant material will help to lengthen the time period between very expensive pond restorations.    

Law School Detention Pond Upgrade

$1,369 to Emily Gabor , Vice President of Student Environmental and Animal Law Society (SEALS), and advisor Lynda Butler, Professor of Law

The detention pond at the law school currently requires cleaning and restoration every five years and costs the university around $50,000 each time. The detention pond floods quickly because of the significant amount of impervious surfaces covering the land and because little sunlight reaches the ravine where the pond sits. This funding provides for the installation of 16 rain barrels at the law school, the Gradplex, and the Cottage, for a maximum total of 880 gallons reserved per rainfall. These rain barrels will slow the flow of water into the pond, allowing seeds planted in a sister project to take root, and therefore contributing to the stabilization of the pond.

Installation of Elkay Water Bottle Filling Station for Tucker Hall

$2,291 to Trace Hernandez '18, and advisor Loïc Bourdeau, Visiting Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies

To promote the growth of reusable water bottles on campus and promote the sustainable use of water, COS will provide funding for a new Elkay Water Bottle Filling Station in Tucker Hall. The purpose of this Water Bottle filling station is to make water fountains more user friendly for people with reusable water bottles who often experience problems of flow height with regular water fountains. It also should allay concerns of tap water taste by introducing an option for filtered water for the students and faculty who rely on Tucker for their water consumption. It will help reduce plastic bottle consumption and introduce a more user friendly option for hydration.

Installation of Elkay Refilling Stations to Improve the Sustainability of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science

$4,671 to Jaclyn Beck, Marine Education Specialist at CBNERR, and graduate student Randy Jones '15

The installation of two bottle refilling stations on W&M's Virginia Institute of Marine Science campus will promote resource conservation and waste reduction, and increase awareness of sustainable issues and initiatives for staff, faculty, students, and visitors to VIMS. This grant will fund the installation of one station in Waterman’s Hall to serve its large visitor traffic, and another in Andrews Hall to accommodate its large volume of students. The stations will promote the highly sustainable and environmentally friendly practice of drinking locally-available, clean tap water and the use of reusable water bottles. Over the longer term, a bottle filling station will be expected to result in a substantial conservation of resources and materials associated with the production of plastic bottles and packaging, the bottling process, transporting bottles, and recycling or disposing of plastic bottles.

Investigating juvenile sea turtle mortality in the Chesapeake Bay

$8,500 to graduate student Bianca Santos and advisor David Kaplan, Assistant Professor at VIMS

The annual number of sea turtle stranding events in Virginia waters has increased substantially over the past ten years, yet relatively little is known about the causes of these mortality events in the region. This funding will assist in a study aimed at investigating stranding events in the Chesapeake Bay through the use of field experiments and modeling of surface drift patterns. This information is essential to identify potential causes of sea turtle mortality and highlight areas of focus for local conservation and sustainability efforts. This project will add to a culture of sustainability at William & Mary through the contribution of results to regional turtle conservation, the inclusion of an undergraduate intern in project activities, and a variety of William & Mary outreach activities.

Replacing Incandescent Desk Lamp Bulbs With LEDs

$3,000 to Rachel Merriman-Goldring ‘17, member of Committee on Sustainability’s Carbon Offset Working Group, and advisor Dan Patterson, Director of Operations and Maintenance

As part of ongoing efforts to phase out incandescent bulbs, and as part of an effort to revitalize the Carbon Offset Working Group, COS will fund the replacement of over 300 incandescent bulbs in desk lamps in offices across campus. This project will increase awareness of sustainability among faculty and administrators and will provide the working group with proof-of-concept as it begins to conduct projects to offset carbon emissions at W&M.

Bringing Environmental Art to Campus

$800 to Rachel Merriman-Goldring ’17, and Professor Alan Braddock, Art History & American Studies

This project will enable W&M to arrange for Sue Coe, an artist famous for her work on the dangers of factory farming, to visit the campus in the fall of 2015. Her visit will potentially be coordinated with the annual sustainability Summit, a course on Realism & Animality in Art and ongoing research on visualizing the effects of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Her voice will add another facet to discussions of sustainability, ethics and food policy.

Exterior Recycling Bins

$4,540 to John Dutro, Facilities Management Service Support Coordinator

William & Mary has made a firm commitment to increased access to recycling on campus. As part of a new single-stream recycling program across campus, COS will provide an additional six exterior recycling bins across high-traffic areas of campus. Many of the additional recycling containers will be located alongside trashcans. Placement of these cans alongside each other will give members of the university and visitors to the campus the ability to recycle goods which would have previously gone into one of the trash receptacles.

Take Back the Tap Campaign Seed Funds

$2,114 to Natalie Steinberg, Mary Ellen Garrett, and advisor Brent Kaup, Professor of Sociology

Take Back the Tap is a campaign outlined by the Food and Water Watch – a non-profit in Washington, D.C. – that aims to reduce the use of disposable plastic water bottles on campuses across the country. This year, the Student Environmental Action Coalition is taking up the campaign and aims to educate campus on the issues of plastic bottles and, hopefully, reduce or eliminate their use on campus. These funds will be the seed money necessary to begin that campaign at William & Mary.