The Committee on Sustainability funded the following projects at its April 2011 meeting:
1. TAP Campaign-$3912 to student Corbett Drummey '12 and advisor Professor Michael Luchs
Concerned about plastic water bottle usage on campus, Drummey plans to reduce it by launching his TAP Campaign in Fall 2011. Instead of focusing solely on the negative impacts of bottled water, the TAP Campaign will promote (and glamorize) regular tap water as a clean, healthy and convenient alternative. The campaign will include surveys, focus groups, reusable water bottle and t-shirt giveaways and a sculpture made from plastic water bottles collected on campus.
2. Promoting Bike Usage-$650 to student Katharine Forward '13 and advisor Sarah Hanke, Sustainability Fellow
Forward began her project to promote biking with an independent study in the Spring 2011 semester that researched bike safety and conducted a survey of students to determine their biking habits. The survey results indicated that some students do not feel safe while biking around Williamsburg and that others don't think biking is a convenient mode of transportation. Forward has created an educational campaign that emphasizes both the convenience of biking and tips for biking safely, which she hopes will encourage more students to bike rather than drive around Williamsburg. To kick of her educational campaign, she will raffle off 10 bike helmets during Fall 2011 orientation.
3. Reusable Bags for Incoming Students-$2000 to student Jessica Murray '13 and advisor Matt Moss, Director of Dining Services
Like Drummey, Murray is also concerned about plastic waste on campus. She hopes to eliminate plastic bags from convenience stores on campus by encouraging the use of reusable shpping bags. All incoming students will receive a reusable bag at the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year. Murray will also create educational material about the environmental damage caused by plastic bags and the benefits of reusable bags to post on the COS website. The award from COS will be matched by a donation from W&M Auxiliary Services.
4. Floating Treatment Wetlands-$8000 to Karen Duhring, a Marine Scientist at the VIMS Center for Coastal Resources Management
Duhring's award will fund two Floating Treatment Wetlands, which are engineered products designed to grow wetland plants and provide water quality treatment in storm water ponds. One floating wetland will be placed at the VIMS Teaching Marsh and the other in Lake Matoaka adjacent to the Keck Environmental Field Lab. VIMS graduate students involved with the Perfect GK-12 science education program will have the opportunity to incorporate the Floating Treatment Wetland into their existing Teaching Marsh science class programs. Students at the Keck Environmental Lab will be given similar opportunities to study the design and performance of the floating wetlands.
5. Plastic Bag Recycling Bins-$1335 to students Morrison Mast '12 and Tristan Schnader '13 and advisor Professor Randy Chambers
Mast and Schnader received an award to purchase plastic bag recycling bins to place in various locations on campus. While plastic bags are not accepted in W&M's regular recycling program, plastic bags can be recycled at many area grocery stores, but it is hard for students to travel to these stores on a regular basis. The bins purchased with Mast and Schnader's grant will provide students (and faculty and staff) with the option to recycle plastic bags on campus. The bins will be emptied and the bags taken to local grocery stores on a regular basis by the service fraternity APO.
6. Exterior Recycling Bins-$3640 to Bob Avalle, Director of Operations and Maintenance for Facilities Management
Avalle will use his award to purchase 7 additional outdoor recycling containers, which will be located in high traffic areas on campus to improve the convenience of recycling. Numerous studies have shown that recycling rates are the best when recycling bins are plentiful and easily accessible. Avalle's goal is to eventually have an outdoor recycling bin next to every outdoor trash can on campus.
7. Water Bottle Refill Stations-$10,700 to Sandra Brooks, Admissions Counselor in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Like the student behind the TAP Campaign, Brooks also hopes to promote the use of tap water in reusable bottles in place of disposable plastic water bottles. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions takes hundreds of prospective students and their families on tours of the campus each summer. To help relieve the hot and humid temperatures of a Williamsburg summer, Admissions provides each guest with a plastic bottle of water. This important service generates a considerable amount of waste that Brooks would like to reduce by installing water bottle refill stations and encouraging students and their families to bring their own reusable water bottles on the tours. The award will install one water bottle filling station in the Admissions Office and on in the Sadler Center, a main stop on all the Admissions tours.
8 & 9. Water Saving Fixtures in Blow Hall and the Sadler Center-$16,300 and $22,200 respectively, to Dan Patterson, Associate Director of Utilities for Facilities Management
Currently, the restroom fixtures in Blow Hall and the Sadler Center are of an older design, requiring considerably more water than the new, more efficient equivalents. For example, the existing toilets consume 3.5 gallons per flush, the urinals 2.3 gallons per flush and the faucets 4 gallons per minute. Conversely, new water-saving toilets require only 1.6 gallons per flush (54% reduction), urinals 0.5 gallons per flush (78% reduction) and faucets 2.5 gallons per minute (38% reduction). The upgrades will save many gallons of water as well as a significant amount of money per year.
10. Chandler Hall Wireless Lighting-$8000 to Dan Patterson, Associate Director of Utilities for Facilities Management
In a number of campus residence halls, the hallways lack wall switches that could be used to turn off overhead lighting during unoccupied periods. In its efforts to reduce energy consumption, Residence Life pursued a solution to this issue last semester, conducting a trial of the wireless lighting system on the first floor of Chandler Hall. ResLife found that the hallways were unoccupied for half of each day, providing an opportunity to switch off unnecessary lights automatically. Based on these results, this award will fund the installation of this wireless technology throughout Chandler's hallways and vending machine areas to reduce electrical consumption and to gain experience for its use in other buildings. This project is estimated to save about $750 annually.