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WM names Zapfel ('09) first sustainability fellow

  • Sustainability Fellow
    Sustainability Fellow  Philip Zapfel ('09) was named by the W&M Committee on Sustainability as the College's first Sustainability Fellow.  Photo by Suzanne Seurattan
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Philip Zapfel (’09) has been named the College of William and Mary’s sustainability fellow for 2009-2010, the first full-time College employee dedicated to sustainability.

In April of 2009, the Committee on Sustainability (COS) received private funds to support a one-year fellowship for a recent graduate of the College to promote campus sustainability.

“Zapfel fit the position’s qualifications well, with his knowledge of and experience with William and Mary’s sustainability initiatives,” said Lynda Butler, co-chair of the COS and chancellor professor of law.

As a student, Zapfel served as both a student representative to the COS steering committee and the co-chair of the programs and education subcommittee. He also served as the co-chair of the W&M Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) his senior year. In the spring of 2008, Zapfel co-wrote the student green fees proposal that now raises over $200,000 per year for sustainability initiatives at the College, and in June of 2008, he led a group of students in authoring the Campus Sustainability Road Map, a compilation of over 60 student proposals for sustainability improvements on campus.

Working under the direction Butler and Dennis Taylor of VIMS, co-chairs of the COS, Zapfel will have the opportunity in his new post to develop a project addressing a significant area of concern for the College’s sustainability efforts. He will also be responsible for coordinating COS’s sustainability initiatives and helping to promote the College’s sustainability goals. Some of his responsibilities will include researching fundraising opportunities, encouraging and coordinating campus sustainability activities by faculty, staff, and students, preparing press releases regarding sustainability actions on campus, and maintaining the COS website.

“I’m very excited to continue the work in campus sustainability that I undertook as an undergraduate at William and Mary,” Zapfel said. “We have made amazing strides in sustainability since last summer, and I’m looking forward to helping the College make continued progress in the coming year.”

The Committee on Sustainability, formed in the fall of 2008 after the release of a College-wide sustainability policy by President Taylor Reveley, is one of the largest committees on campus, made up of over 100 staff, faculty, students and administrators in three subcommittees and 10 working groups. Some of the major improvements implemented by the COS over the past year include an academic audit of sustainability in the College’s curriculum, improved environmental procurement standards, and the funding of numerous “green” facilities upgrades and student research, such as HVAC upgrades in Washington and Tyler Hall and funding for undergraduate research in solar cell production in the Physics department.

“This is a major step towards building the sustainability program at William & Mary, and the commitment by a private donor for this year is a heartening sign of the degree of support we have from alumni and friends in this endeavor,” said VIMS’ Taylor.

Philip Zapfel can be contacted at