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Calandra Waters Lake

Director of Sustainability at William & Mary

Ms. Waters Lake is the first person to have her job. William & Mary created the position a few years ago in order to prioritize their green agenda. Now she works with students, faculty, and staff to help accomplish their sustainability goals. She also runs the EcoAmbassador program, which led to the creation of this website. 

{{youtube:large|I9SycRr-4Kg, Interview with Calandra}}

Topics discussed in this interview (in order)

  • Description of position (0:00)

Director of Sustainability is a new position, and Ms. Lake is the first person to fill the job. The objective of this position is to promote sustainability on campus among students and faculty. She works as a liaison between students and the administration on a wide range of projects.

  • What Calandra enjoys most about her job, and its challenges (0:51)

She likes that she is constantly doing new things and has a job that is working for the environment. She has always been passionate about the environment, and she worked as a high school science teacher before this. She notes that one of the challenges she experiences is never having worked in higher education before. She also struggles with finding the scope of her position, as it is new and just figuring out the boundaries and opportunities.

  • Where the position is expanding (5:03)

When asked where the “Director of Sustainability” position will go next, Ms. Lake notes that big companies will have these positions first because they can afford to hire full-time professionals to lead this kind of department. She also explains that this is an exciting time for entrepreneurs to tailor their business objectives to this growing trend.

  • What the job is like on a day to day basis (6:57)

Ms. Lake is the link between students and the administration, but she also works with faculty and staff to achieve their sustainability projects. She also helps link sustainability groups so they can collectively address similar problems. Ms. Lake also overlooks the Committee on Sustainability, which runs the Green Fees program. Each student at W&M has a small portion of their tuition applied to this program, which distributes money to sustainability proposals put forth by anyone on campus. The Committee decides how this money is distributed. Ms. Lake also works to assess sustainability at the College so she can set new goals for next year. She compares data from W&M and compares it to other institutions to assess what W&M could be doing better.

  • What she wishes she had known upon graduating (10:22)

There is “no clear path” to become a Director of Sustainability. Ms. Lake explains that every person working in sustainability got there in a different way, and there is no set experience that makes someone qualified for this kind of position.

If you are interested in learning more about what Ms. Waters Lake does, you can contact Gina at [[e|gmsawaya]].