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Business Innovation efforts receive national and statewide recognition

This fall, several of William & Mary’s business innovation projects received either state or national recognition. William & Mary’s Business Innovation Initiative, launched in December 2013, is charged with finding more than $5 million dollars is sustainable savings by 2020. The effort, which focuses on effectiveness and efficiency, involves participants across the university.

"Although focused on administrative services, the goal of business innovation is to improve William & Mary's distinctive academic excellence," said Provost Michael R. Halleran. "Whenever we can reduce costs or increase revenues, that provides additional resources for investing in the university's highest priorities, such as hiring and retaining the best faculty and staff, and providing more financial aid to students."

Thus far, business innovation efforts have saved more than $4 million, including approximately $3 million in cost reduction and $1 million in net new revenues, excluding tuition revenues for new academic programs. William & Mary's success in identifying a wide range of small-to-mid-level savings opportunities received favorable coverage in a University Business article this fall.

“In order to survive the budget realities that exist today, universities and colleges must change their institutional culture in order to drive sustainable savings and improve operational efficiencies. At William & Mary this culture change is supported by the Business Innovation Initiative but driven by the ideas of employees across campus,” said Henry R. Broaddus, vice president for strategic initiatives.

Also receiving national recognition this fall, work within the Facilities Management Department to lower costs and improve sustainability made William & Mary the first university in the country to receive the Green Building Certification with Honors by the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS). This certification — tied to environmentally preferable services like use of environmentally certified cleaning products — is similar to the Energy Efficient Design or LEED designation. The CIMS certification came in October.

Earlier that same month, more of William & Mary’s business innovation successes were recognized at the state level. The State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) highlighted the university’s efforts, along with other higher education projects from across the state, at its “Partnering for Progress” forum at VCU. That event provided a showcase for sustainable savings and operational efficiencies emerging across Virginia’s higher education system, and highlighted both institutionally specific and collaborative projects.

Statewide collaboration

Collaborative projects recognized included the Mid-Atlantic Research Infrastructure (MARIA) project, an effort by William & Mary and six other Virginia universities. MARIA links the cyber infrastructures of the participating institutions and provides access to connectivity of 100 gigabytes per second, speed that is vital to large-data research projects.

Also, just last year William & Mary announced that it was among the founding members of a new procurement cooperative — the Virginia Higher Education Procurement Cooperative (VHEPC). VHEPC includes 13 institutions across the state, and savings generated by the cooperative already are significant. At William & Mary alone, new contracts have created savings on everything from hand soap to sophisticated scientific equipment, with most of the savings coming in the area of office and maintenance supplies. Savings from these contracts is anticipated to grow as both the number and use of these joint procurement contracts increase.

On-campus efforts

While the aggregated savings in procurement has been noteworthy, several smaller projects — like energy efficiency improvements and sustainability grants — are also contributing savings.  

In the category of energy efficiency, Facilities Management launched an energy management program for the main campus in January 2017 by establishing new standards for regulating temperature in academic and office buildings. The new guidelines reduce temperature during non-peak and weekend hours and are projected to save the university more than $120,000 in 2018 alone. In addition, under the new effort, occupancy sensitive light switches are included in all new construction on campus and most renovation projects. The management program also includes policies for water conservation and Energy Efficient Design (LEED) guidelines.

Since spring 2016 the university has offered loans for projects related to sustainability and savings under the Green to Gold Fund. The goal of this revolving fund is to reduce William & Mary’s impact on the environment while at the same time improving efficiency in ways that create return on investment. Last fall the fund provided matching funds to auxiliary services for the purchase of LED lights for the Adair Parking Garage. The switch from halide and high-pressure sodium to LED lighting has reduced energy consumption for the garage by 70 percent and is projected to save more than $15,000 annually. The investment for the project from the Green and Gold Fund is on track for repayment by 2019.

“Finding new ways to improve administrative services while reducing the cost of how we deliver them remains an imperative,” added Broaddus. “We will continue to support the progress and creativity of people at William & Mary who are committed to that.”