The College of William & Mary, in the midst of a campus-wide campaign focused on institutional and individual sustainability, has become the country’s first DOT university. The success of the grassroots campaign, which encourages groups and individuals to “Do One Thing (DOT) for sustainability, will be featured at the College’s Earth Day celebration April 24 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the Sadler Center patio. The event will also highlight William & Mary’s university DOT, a proposal to create an on-campus eco-village presented to the Board of Visitors today.
“Our DOT campaign is the first of its kind. Its success is a testament to the initiative, drive and commitment of the William & Mary community,” said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. “Doing a host of small things can add up to whole lot, and it can lead to big things.”
Launched campus-wide in late-January, the DOT campaign invites all members of the university community to make small, public commitments to more sustainable choices. Each of the university’s colleges has been involved, conducting their own sector campaigns. The effort is part of the broader work of the College’s Committee on Sustainability (COS).
“At its most narrow, the project just asks people to make one change, just do one thing,” explained Associate Professor of Law Erin Ryan, who chairs both the College-wide DOT Initiative and DOT Campaign at the Law School. “But, more broadly, we’re also hoping to inspire each other with creative ideas that help us consider other changes we can also make. DOT is like a campus-wide sustainability brainstorming session. “
W&M’s initiative was inspired by the work of sustainability consulting firm Saatchi & Saatchi S., which has helped corporate communities embrace the idea of personal sustainability. In the fall of 2009, the student of the W&M Net Impact chapter piloted DOT for the first time at the university level at the Mason School of Business. The success of the Mason pilot inspired COS to adopt the concept campus-wide. And now, as the first DOT university, students, faculty and staff at William & Mary are helping to push the College into a leadership role for all other universities in the realm of personal sustainability.
Response to the campaign has been strong with support coming from both on and off-campus, the group’s two FaceBook pages boast nearly 2500 fans, and more than a thousand have shared their DOTs publicly so far. William & Mary Chancellor Sandra Day O’Connor pledged to go paperless as much as possible; President Reveley committed to use only nondisposable coffee mugs and to print documents double-sided whenever possible; and Alum James Comey ’82, former deputy attorney general and current senior vice president at Lockheed Martin, traded in his SUV for a hybrid in support of DOT and committed to taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
On campus, manually submitted DOTs have been included in an installation artwork created by Elizabeth Mead’s sculpture and the environment class and Ed Pease’s advanced architecture class currently on exhibit in the College’s Earl Gregg Swem Library.
The full Earth Day program will showcase other campus-wide environmental efforts and the winner of the DOTumentary YouTube video contest as well as the progress of the DOT initiative. The day will also include live performances by bands "Here's to the Long Haul," "Rock River Gypsies," and "Squash Blossoms;" speaker presentations by Skip Stiles, Scott Foster, and Lisa Reagan; and a Mercury Show. Sustainably produced food will also be available. This event, free and open to the public, is being coordinated jointly by the campus’ Committee on Sustainability and the Student Environmental Action Coalition.
William & Mary is the first university to launch DOT, but hopefully not the last. The initiative has already aroused national interest among other universities who wish to follow the DOT model. Additional information on the DOT campaign is available on the web, and the group’s FaceBook page.
“The DOT initiative is about moving toward sustainability in a manageable way, by asking us to think about the long-term consequences of every-day choice,” emphasized Ryan. “Even small changes add up, and sharing our DOTs helps us learn from one another’s ideas, inspire one another and become accountable to the public record. This is our way of trying to move toward the world we want to be living in 25, 50, and even 100 years from now – one DOT at a time.”