EcoAmbassador Internship Program

Deadline to apply is August 30, 2016!


EcoAmbassadors are students chosen to communicate the message of sustainability through projects with various departments and offices on campus.  EcoAmbassadors help to green office practices, educate the W&M community about sustainable practices, and create programs to carry out sustainability related projects at the College.

EcoAmbassadors may be eligible to receive one to three credits through the Environmental Science and Policy program for their participation, some projects qualify as an ENSP Capstone. The internship will consist of approximately 5 hours spent per week creating and implementing a sustainability project in a department or office, in collaboration with a supervising staff or faculty member.  Class will be held monthly with the EcoAmbassador instructor Calandra Waters Lake, Director of Sustainability.  This is a great opportunity to work with different departments or offices on campus on environmental issues that are important to the College community. 

If you have questions about the EcoAmbassador program or any of the projects, contact Calandra at To apply for one of the EcoAmbassador projects listed below, please complete the application form.

Common Area Recycling Study | 1 position | year-long | 2-3 credits

This project will help in the effort to establish a common set of guidelines for recycling receptacles on the William & Mary campus. The project will be advised by Bob Morman, Director of Building Services, Facilities Management, and will study the best location for recycling containers in common areas on the W&M campus in addition to research exploring the efficacy of a universal lid type, the color blue in association with recycling, and pairing recycling and waste containers. An experiment will be implemented over the fall and spring semester in certain academic buildings to determine if the location of waste and recycling containers is best in classrooms, hallways or both. From this study and research the hope is to derive information applicable and adaptable to the W&M campus that can guide appearance and placement of waste and recycling bins in common areas to reduce confusion about what can be recycled where and increase the recycling rate of the university as a whole. For the purposes of this project, common areas will be considered congregating and transient areas, as well as classrooms.

Project Goals:
  • Work with Facilities Management to create and implement a study to test the best location for recycling and waste containers in common areas on campus
  • Manage the data collected by Facilities Management for the common area recycling study
  • Trouble shoot and periodically check on the location of waste/recycling bins during the study
  • Research the universal lid (circle/slit design), color blue for recycling, and pairing waste and recycling containers as standards for the university
  • Research and provide possible suggestions for a campus wide shift using the new guidelines, including a possible budget
Crim Dell Restoration: Mapping the Crim Dell for a Sustainable Future | 2 positions | Fall semester | 1-2 credits

These Ambassadors will be working with Beth Chambers, Biology Department and Linda Morse, Geology Department. The Crim Dell Restoration Project focuses on the removal of invasive plants and the planting of non-invasives.  The Ambassadors will identify, locate and map dominant vegetation (invasive and non-invasive) and present a plan for re-planting on sunny, shaded, steep and shallow slopes of the Crim Dell.

 Project Goals:
  • To research the best free mapping tools or applications for the project.
  • To locate using GPS or other means the dominant woody vegetation along the slopes of the Crim Dell Pond. Dominant and representative understory woody vegetation will be identified to the species level and a list of representative herbaceous vegetation of interest (e.g., invasives) will be generated.
  • To map areas that have been cleared of bamboo, English Ivy, etc.
  • To map sunny and shaded slopes for future planting of native non-invasives
  • To calculate percent slopes around the pond
  • To propose a plan for re-planting the Crim Dell once invasives are removed by identifying those areas where native flowering trees (dogwood, redbud, etc.) and herbaceous plants would best survive.
  • To research ways in which to terrace or prepare a steep slope for re-planting for runoff control
  • To propose a design using natural or recycled materials to re-plant the steep slopes.
Crim Dell Restoration: Sustainable Runoff Controls for the Crim Dell |1 position | Fall Semester | 1-2 credits

 This Ambassador will be working with Linda Morse, Geology Department and Beth Chambers, Biology Department. W&M Faculty have used the Crim Dell for various scientific and environmental studies over the years.  The Crim Dell Restoration Project has concentrated on the removal of invasive plants but sediment runoff, a pollutant, is another concern. This Ambassador will gather previous research on the Crim Dell to help in a hydrologic study and ultimately create a plan to control runoff into the Crim Dell.

 Project Goals:
  • To gather and review previous studies of the Crim Dell from W&M faculty (Biology, Geology, ENSP, etc.)
  • To gather maps and plans from Facilities Management showing the drop inlets that lead to the discharge pipes and into the Crim Dell.
  • To locate all additional runoff areas not from discharge pipes
  • To calculate watershed size for each runoff channel and pipe inlet
  • To calculate potential discharge received at each runoff during rainstorm events - especially large events
  • To research possible solutions for runoff erosion control (i.e. rain gardens, plants needed, sedimentation ponds, etc.)
Defining the Landscape of Green Careers | 1 position | year-long | 2-3 credits

This student will be working with the Cohen Career Center’s Wendy Webb-Robers, Director, Public Service Careers, and Don Snyder, Associate Director, STEM Careers. The EcoAmbassador will explore and define the multiple facets of the green career industry through organization and occupational research via websites, LinkedIn, and interviews with professionals in the field. Information gathered will include occupational profiles (daily activities, skills, education); and industry trends. A major component of the project will be comprised of conducting and editing interviews to add to the career center website and other communication channels. Interviews will be mostly with William & Mary alumni and parents, but may include other professionals. This student should be comfortable and confident with interviewing industry professionals via phone, Skype, and email/LinkedIn.  Strong verbal and written communication skills preferred with the ability to translate and synthesize information into comprehensive occupational profiles. A basic understanding of, or ability to learn audio editing is also preferred.  Initiative and resourcefulness are a must to act on leads for interviews with professionals and develop and manage the project.

Project goals:
  • A collection of interviews highlighting career paths in the green industry, which can be utilized by the career center staff in advising students, as well as students on their own.

  • Contact information for these professionals   in the green industry, which will be utilized for student informational interviews, career panel participants, individual speakers, and potential recruiting activities. 
  • The ability for the EcoAmbassador to be a resource on the topic of green careers for outreach purposes, which may include participation in a career center program.
Renewable Energy at W&M | 1 student | Fall Semester | 1-2 credits

Renewables are an ideal source of energy, but they must often be tailor fit to the user, what works in one location will not necessarily work in another. William & Mary is dedicated to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions through reducing energy consumption, but also through improving its energy sources. This project, advised by Keck Lab director Dr. Randy Chambers, will explore the possibilities for renewable energy at W&M with a particular focus on solar and the policies and processes, both federal and state, that could hinder or help in W&M placing solar panels on the campus and sourcing renewable energy through a Power Purchase Agreement. This research would include options and avenues open to W&M along with rough budgets and timelines.  This student will also be working with those managing a funded project for W&M to receive a quote on third party solar.

Project Goals:
  • Research solar policies, federal and state, that would impact W&M
  • Research how other institutions have implemented renewable energy sources
  • Detail options available to W&M for solar on the campus and for sourcing energy from off the campus
  • Include timelines, challenges, and budgets
Signage for the Sustainable Campus | 1 student | year-long | 2-3 credits

William & Mary has been implementing sustainability practices and products across the campus for an extended period of time, but not all are easy to see. This project will be advised by Wayne Boy, Director of Planning, Design, and Construction, to identify sustainability attributes on campus, many of which are part of W&M buildings and design, and implement a plan to draw attention to these normally unnoticed features. This project will draw attention to many steps W&M has taken towards sustainability, let the community know what has already been accomplished, and hopefully help spark new ideas for the future. 

Project Goals:
  • Work with Facilities Management to research and catalog sustainability attributes across the campus
  • Help prioritize which sustainability attributes will be recognized and how through researching other institutions
  • Design signage for features and receive appropriate approval (ex: Committee on Sustainability, Design Review Board)
  • Seek funding through sources like the Green Fee
  • Depending on funding, implement the placement of signs
  • Create a plan, including timeline, budget, and details, for anything possibly not complete by year-end
VIMS Discovery Lab Assistant | 2 positions | year-long, with focus in Spring semester | 2-3 credits

The student(s) selected for this project will work with Sarah Nuss, Education Coordinator, and education staff for the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve at VIMS, to create informal education activities and demonstrations for the Discovery Lab program.  The Discovery Lab program is a monthly, family-friendly outreach event on the VIMS campus designed to allow families to learn about marine science together, with each month focusing on a specific marine science theme.  The EcoAmbassador will assist with the planning and creation of a “Climate Corner” at each of the January, February, and March labs, focusing on how climate change will impact the highlighted habitat or species.  In April, the EcoAmbassador will be the main contributor, planning and implementing a Discovery Lab on a topic of their choice related to the Bay, including a “Climate Corner”.  The EcoAmbassador for this project should be well organized, creative, and enthusiastic about working with the public and environmental education.  This is a full year project, with planning taking place in the Fall semester, and more hands-on work in the Spring semester.  Ability to travel to VIMS required.

Project Goals:
  • Work with Education staff to develop topic for April 2017 Discovery Lab.
  • Develop a “Climate Corner” for the Discovery Labs taking place in January-April.
  • Volunteer at the Discovery Labs in January-March.
  • Develop hands-on activities, demonstrations, and display information for Discovery Lab in April.
  • Assist with evaluation of the program.
W&M Eco-Representative Program | 1 positions | year-long | 2-3 credits

What could an Eco-Rep program look like at W&M? Eco-Rep's are knowledgable individuals that represent and spread the word about sustainability, but there are many ways that programs are constructed and implemented along with a variety of training and responsibilities. This project seeks to explore the breadth of Eco-Rep programs at other institutions along with identifying unique opportunities at W&M in order to create, and possibly implement, a plan. Calandra Waters Lake, Director of Sustainability, will advise this project. 

Project Goals:
  • Research the structure, implementation, training, and responsibilities of Eco-Rep programs at other institutions 
  • Explore similar programs currently in place at W&M
  • Identify unique opportunities for the program at W&M
  • Construct a plan with details including reasoning, timeline, budget, methods, and training materials
  • Depending on the progress of the project, begin implementation of this plan in the spring semester