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Committee on Sustainability announces Spring 2011 green fees awards

  • Containing plastic bagsMorrison Mast ‘12 (left) and Tristan Schnader ’13 will use their award of $1,335 to purchase plastic bag recycling bins to place in various locations on campus.

    Courtesy Morrison Mast

    Containing plastic bags
The College of William & Mary’s Committee on Sustainability has announced its spring 2011 Green Fee Project Awards. This year’s projects reflected a strong, College-wide interest in recycling initiatives, as well as other innovative research, outreach and energy efficiency based projects.

1.  TAP Campaign -- $3,912 to Corbett Drummey ’12 and Professor Michael Luchs (advisor)

Concerned about plastic water bottle usage on campus, Drummey plans to reduce it by launching his TAP Campaign this fall. Instead of focusing solely on the negative impacts of bottled water, the TAP Campaign will promote (and glamorize) regular tap water as a clean, healthy and convenient alternative. The campaign will include surveys, focus groups, reusable water bottles and T-shirt giveaways, as well as a sculpture made from plastic water bottles collected on campus.

2.  Promoting Bike Usage -- $650 to Katharine Forward ’13 and advisor Sarah Hanke, sustainability fellow

Forward began her project to promote biking with an independent study last spring in which she researched bike safety and conducted a survey of students to determine their biking habits. Bob Avalle, Facilities Management

The results indicated that some students do not feel safe biking around Williamsburg and that others don’t think biking is a convenient mode of transportation. Forward has created an educational campaign that emphasizes both the convenience of biking and tips for biking safely, which she hopes will encourage more students to bike rather than drive around Williamsburg.

To kick of her educational campaign, she will raffle off 10 bike helmets during orientation this fall.

3.  Reusable Bags for Incoming Students -- $2,000 to Jessica Murray ’13 and advisor Matt Moss, director of dining services

Murray is also concerned about plastic waste on campus.  She hopes to eliminate plastic bags from convenience stores by encouraging the use of reusable shopping bags. All incoming students will receive a reusable bag at the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year. The award from COS will be matched by a donation from W&M Auxiliary Services.

4.  Floating Treatment Wetlands -- $8,000 to Karen Duhring, a marine scientist at the Virginia Institute for Marine Science Center for Coastal Resources Management

Duhring’s award will fund two floating treatment wetlands, which are engineered products designed to grow wetland plants and provide water quality treatment in storm water ponds. One floating wetland will be placed at the VIMS teaching marsh and the other in Lake Matoaka, adjacent to the Keck Environmental Field Lab.Karen Duhring, VIMS Center for Coastal Resource Management

VIMS graduate students involved with the Perfect GK-12  science education program will have the opportunity to incorporate the floating treatment wetland into their existing teaching marsh science class programs. Students at the Keck Environmental Lab will be given similar opportunities to study the design and performance of the floating wetlands.

5.  Plastic Bag Recycling Bins  -- $1,335 to Morrison Mast ‘12 and Tristan Schnader ’13 and Professor Randy Chambers (advisor)

Mast and Schnader will use their award to purchase plastic bag recycling bins to place in various locations on campus.   While plastic bags are not accepted in W&M’s regular recycling program, plastic bags can be recycled at many area grocery stores, but it is hard for students to travel to these stores on a regular basis. The bins purchased with Mast and Schnader’s grant will provide students (and faculty and staff) with the option to recycle plastic bags on campus. The bins will be emptied and the bags taken to local grocery stores on a regular basis by the service fraternity APO.

6.  Exterior Recycling Bins -- $3,640 to Bob Avalle, director of operations and maintenance for facilities management

Avalle will use his award to purchase seven additional outdoor recycling containers, which will be located in high traffic areas on campus. Numerous studies have shown that recycling rates are the best when recycling bins are plentiful and easily accessible. Avalle’s goal is to have an outdoor recycling bin next to every outdoor trash can on campus.

7.  Water Bottle Refill Stations -- $10,700 to Sandra Brooks, admissions counselor in the Office of Undergraduate Admission

Brooks also hopes to promote the use of tap water in reusable bottles. The Office of Undergraduate Admission takes hundreds of prospective students and their families on tours of the campus each summer. To help relieve the hot and humid temperatures of a Williamsburg summer, admission provides each guest with a plastic bottle of water. This important service generates a considerable amount of waste that Brooks would like to reduce by installing water bottle refill stations and encouraging students and their families to bring their own reusable water bottles on the tours.Sandra Brooks

The award will install one water bottle filling station in the admission office and one in the Sadler Center, a main stop on all admission tours.   

8 and 9. Water Saving Fixtures in Blow Hall and the Sadler Center -- $16,300 and $22,200 respectively, to Dan Patterson, associate director of utilities for facilities management

Restroom fixtures in Blow Hall and the Sadler Center are of an older design, requiring considerably more water than their new, more efficient equivalents. For example, existing toilets consume 3.5 gallons per flush, the urinals 2.3 gallons per flush and the faucets 4 gallons per minute.  Conversely, new water-saving toilets require only 1.6 gallons per flush (54 percent reduction), urinals 0.5 gallons per flush (78 percent reduction) and faucets 2.5 gallons per minute (38 percent reduction). The upgrades will save many gallons of water as well as a significant amount of money per year. 

10.  Chandler Hall Wireless Lighting -- $8,000 to Dan Patterson, associate director of utilities for facilities management

In a number of campus residence halls, the hallways lack wall switches that could be used to turn off overhead lighting during unoccupied periods. In its effort to reduce energy consumption, Residence Life pursued a solution to this issue last semester, conducting a trial of the wireless lighting system on the first floor of Chandler Hall. Residence Life found that the hallways were unoccupied for half of each day, providing an opportunity to switch off unnecessary lights automatically. Based on these results, this award will fund the installation of this wireless technology throughout Chandler’s hallways and vending machine areas to reduce electrical consumption and to gain experience for its use in other buildings. This project is estimated to save about $750 annually.

This is the sixth round of Green Fees Awards since fall 2008. The projects were funded by the Student Green Fee, which is $15 per semester per student, adding up to about $210,000 annually. For spring 2011, the committee funded 10 of 11 projects for a total of $75,737 (out of $125,737 in requested projects). 

In addition to funding these spring projects, COS has used the green fee to fund eleven projects totaling $72,437 in fall 2010, six summer research students in 2011 for a total of $19,150, and a $40,000 contribution to the Green Endowment.