William & Mary

Moving Toward Sustainability

W&M gold fuels green enterprise

Students aren't the only ones that get graded at William & Mary. Each year, the university receives a report card of its own – a College Sustainability Report Card. And like its students, the learning curve it has demonstrated is dramatic.

Within three years, William & Mary raised its grade from a daunting D- to an admirable B+ – and the progress isn't about to stop. The university's Committee on Sustainability (COS) annually oversees a slew of projects conducted by students, faculty and staff. Funding comes through the Green Fee, a $30-a-year sum toward environmental initiatives that students elected to contribute by a landslide.

Among the most notable plans in action are a composting program for the dining halls, biodegradable and reusable takeout containers, a campus rain garden, event recycling kits, waste-reducing paper towel dispensers, incentives for carpooling, support for paperless classes, research on green roof systems, and numerous lighting and HVAC upgrades. Additionally, the resurrection of the Eco-Ambassadors program provides opportunities for volunteers to promote sustainability university-wide by working with individual departments and offices.

The "Do One Thing" (DOT) campaign has played a significant role in the ecological development of William & Mary. By inspiring the university community to make a difference by doing a single simple thing, it is increasing sustainability both top-down and bottom-up – individuals as well as entire university divisions are pledging to make green changes in their daily activities. The goal is to make environmental friendliness both achievable and enjoyable for everyone, and together all of these small steps make one giant leap for William & Mary.

The university has drastically reduced its greenhouse gas emissions, at a rate that beats that of most federal, state and even international emission reduction targets. Construction on campus puts a strong emphasis on sustainability: Miller Hall, the new home of the Mason School of Business, received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification; the recently completed School of Education building is made of over 90% recycled materials, and is outfitted with state-of-the-art solutions like motion sensors and energy star equipment.

William & Mary is ranked by the Princeton Review as one of the nation's top green colleges. Through the combined efforts of its members, W&M carries on its tradition of excellence in rising to the challenges of a sustainable future.