Committee on Sustainability Announces Fall 2011 Green Fees Awards

The College of William & Mary’s Committee on Sustainability announces the funding of 12 proposals totaling $64,380 for Fall 2011 Green Fees projects. The Committee received 18 proposals requesting a total of $134,593 from faculty, staff, and students in all areas of the College.

The Committee also invested $40,000 of this year’s Green Fees revenue in the green endowment. This year’s projects reflect a strong interest in student gardens, energy efficiency, and various outreach projects.

water refill station1.  Water Bottle Refill Stations at the Law School - $4,870 to Liz Jackson, Associate Dean for Administration
The Law School will install two Elkay brand water bottle refill stations, which are becoming increasingly popular on campus. Currently there is one in the Recreation Center, one in Admissions, and one in the Sadler Center. The Elkay refill station filters the water, eliminating the taste issues that some people have with regular drinking fountain water. The Elkay stations also count the number of plastic water bottles saved over time by filling reusable bottles instead, providing instantaneous positive feedback to fountain users.

2.  Water Saving Fixtures in James Blair Hall - $12,000 to Dan Patterson, Associate Director of Utilities for Facilities Managementwater-saving faucet
The current restroom fixtures in James Blair Hall are outdated and inefficient, but this grant will allow them to be updated with new, water-saving fixtures. The current toilets consume 3.5 gallons of water per flush, the urinals 2.3 gallons per flush, and the faucets 4 gallons per minute. The new water-saving toilets will consume only 1.6 gallons per flush, the urinals 0.5 gallons per flush and the faucets 2.5 gallons per minute. Dan Patterson estimates that the new fixtures will save 750,000 gallons of water and $6,000 per year.

3.  EcoHouse Garden Tools and Infrastructure - $400 to John Kirn ’12, Ellen Martin ’14 and advisor Professor Randy Chambers
The EcoHouse Garden, located behind the Integrated Science Center, started with a COS Green Fees grant. This proposal seeks to improve the state of the garden by purchasing additional tools, row covers for season extension, and gravel to mulch the paths and define the plant beds and prevent soil erosion. The EcoHouse students maintain the garden throughout the growing season, using some of the produce themselves and donating some to local organizations that provide food to needy families in Williamsburg.

4.  VIMS Community Garden - $2,400 to Jenna Luek, MS ‘17 , Brandon Conroy, MS ‘17 and advisor VIMS Professor John Graves
VIMS Gardeners, a new student organization, will establish a community garden on the VIMS campus, with plots available to VIMS faculty, students, and staff. The garden will tie in with several goals in the VIMS master plan by improving aesthetics, decreasing storm-water runoff and reducing the need for lawn mowing. The VIMS Gardeners also intend to install rain barrels on some campus buildings to provide water for the garden and to start a composting program to provide soil nutrition for the garden. The garden will initially consists of twenty 8’ by 8’ raised bed plots, which will be rented on a yearly basis for $15 to $30 a plot. 

5.  Campus Garden Tools and Infrastructure - $2,700 to Will Ozbun ’13, Dylan Reilly ’12, Katie Gehron ’12 and advisor Sarah Hanke, Sustainability Fellow
The Campus Garden, located behind the Commons Cafeteria, was enhanced a few years ago with money from a COS Summer Research Grant, and this proposal will further improve the visual appeal and practicality of the garden.  About half of the funds will be spent constructing a deer fence for the back section of the garden, which abuts the College Woods, making the garden an easy target for deer.  The remaining funds will purchase seeds for the spring and summer growing season, more tools for volunteers to use in the garden, row covers for season extension, and another small storage shed. The produce from the garden goes to garden volunteers and to Campus Kitchens, which makes meals for needy families in Williamsburg.

6.  Earth Week 2012 - $5,000 to Wesley Meyer ’15 and advisor Jes Therkelsen, Environmental Film-Maker in Residence
Last year, a group of students from Committee On Sustainabilitty and the Student Environmental Action Coalition expanded the traditional one day celebration into a full week of sustainability-related events called Earth Week.  This year, the students plan to make Earth Week even better by reaching out to as many groups on campus as possible.  The team is currently planning a variety of speakers, movies, service events, competitions and other fun events that will appeal to a wide audience.  Earth Week is scheduled for April 16-22.

7.  Flow Movie Screening - $260 to Huan Song ’13 and advisor Professor Deborah Hewitt
Huan Song, a Fall 2011 EcoAmbassador, will use this grant to purchase and screen the documentary “Flow: How did a handful of corporations steal our water?” by Irena Salina, which deals with water privatization and bottled water issues.  The screening will be followed by a faculty panel of experts who will discuss water issues in their own teaching and research.Flow: How Did a Handful of Corporations Steal Our Water?

To advertise the screening, Huan is partnering with fellow business student Corbett Drummey, who created the TAP Campaign to encourage students to drink tap water instead of bottled water. Huan hopes that screening “Flow” and partnering with the TAP Campaign will make students more aware of the water choices they make each day and the water shortages faced by people worldwide.

8.  No Impact Man Speaker  - $2,000 to Julia Casciotti ’12 and advisor Carolyn Davis, Director of Auxiliary Services
This grant, along with funds from Alma Mater Productions, Student Activities, Environmental Science and Policy Program, the Parents Fund, and support from the William & Mary bookstore, was used to bring No Impact Man Colin Beavan to campus on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Beavan wrote the book “No Impact Man,” and starred in the documentary with the same title in 2009 after he and his family lived for a year trying to have no net environmental impact on the planet.

9.  Community Supported Fishery Feasibility Study - $14,400 to VIMS Professor Troy Hartley and teamTroy Hartley
While you may be familiar with the term Community Supported Agriculture, few have heard the term CSF, or Community Supported Fishery. The CSF concept is slowly growing across the nation. This grant has been awarded to a team of W&M and VIMS students, staff and faculty led by Virginia Sea Grant Director at VIMS Troy Hartley to conduct a feasibility study to see if W&M and VIMS could create its own CSF. The CSF concept encourages sustainability by supporting our local economy and fishermen, cultivating healthy ties between the community, fishermen and the College, and promoting environmental stewardship through sustainable fishing practices. The CSF model has been successful at Duke University and the University of California - Santa Barbara.  The study should be completed in December 2012.

0.  Composting in the Sororities - $400 to Carolyn Sloan ‘12 and advisor Larry Smith, Director of Operations for Dining Services
Two of W&M’s three dining halls compost all food waste, but composting programs in campus residences are currently very limited.  Carolyn Sloan, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, applied for this grant to conduct a residential composting pilot program in Sorority Court. The funds will be used to purchase sturdy outdoor containers and small four-gallon containers for use inside the houses. Davis will work with the Dining Services sustainability interns to design a training program for Sorority Court residents that will inform the residents what they can compost and how to properly dispose of food waste. The residents will be responsible for emptying the indoor containers into the outdoor containers on an as-needed basis, and the College’s composting contractor will empty the outdoor containers once or twice a week. The College currently sends organic waste produced in the dining halls to a composting facility near Richmond, VA.

11.  Swem Paperless Document Delivery - $18,950 to Don Welsh, Acting Director of Research, Instruction, and Outreach Services
Last year, more than 120,000 paper photocopies were made at Swem Library. This proposal will substantially reduce that amount by purchasing a special book scanner that will enable library staff and patrons to scan documents and email them rather than photocopy and receive a hard copy of the document or book. The Swem staff has estimated that they will eventually need three scanners to cover all of the demand in the library and this grant will purchase the first scanner and basic email package. The scanner will be used by the Interlibrary Loan department, the Special Collections Research Center, and will be available for public use. The Swem staff estimates that savings could be as high as 200,000 sheets of paper and $1,644 a year.

A candidate for electronic recycling12.  Electronics Recycling Event - $1,000 to Jamison Shabanowitz ’12 and advisor Bob Avalle, Director of Operations and Maintenance for Facilities Management
Last year during Earth Week, COS, Environmental Health & Safety, and Facilities Management partnered to host a Hazardous and Electronic Waste Collection Day to encourage responsible recycling and disposal of electronic and hazardous items. Students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to bring such items to the William & Mary Hall parking lot, where a team of volunteers collected them for proper disposal. While the Collection Day will be held again during Earth Week 2012, this year a new service will be added; free pick-up of large electronics and appliances that departments are no longer using and are currently taking up precious storage space.  Normally, departments must assume the financial responsibility for the disposal of these large items, but this grant will provide funds for a sort of e-waste “amnesty day.”  Departments and offices on campus will sign up on a first-come, first-serve basis to have their large electronic and hazardous waste items removed for free during the Earth Week event.