William & Mary’s Committee on Sustainability recently awarded fall Green Fee grants for sustainability-related projects at the university. Since its establishment in 2008, the William & Mary Green Fee has funded more than $1.6 million worth of sustainability projects, research, initiatives, events and infrastructure, led by students, faculty and staff, representing different aspects of sustainability on campus.
The Green Fee program advances W&M's interests in sustainability, its general operations and the university's tri-partite missions of teaching, research and public service. The Committee on Sustainability (COS) accepts proposals every semester.
This semester, W&M Sustainability also gathered stakeholders across campus to work on the university’s Climate Action Plan. An early product from that process has been W&M and the University of Virginia jointly announcing carbon neutrality goals of 2030 and a partnership around climate action.
W&M is exploring the sourcing of large scale green energy from local solar farms as an initial step toward neutrality. Further progress will be made with the help of $85,000 of Green Fee funds, dedicated toward consultant services on addressing challenges such as natural gas use in campus buildings. The Climate Action Plan is still under construction with a tentative completion date of fall 2020.
This semester's approved projects are:
Educational Solar Array
$24,305 to Farley Hunter, associate director of central utilities
William & Mary has a stated commitment to sustainability, and there are promising efforts underway to source large scale renewable energy for the campus through a solar Power Purchase Agreement. This grant will add another on-site solar project to those already under exploration through previous awards. Students will be able to interact with the system through a web portal and awareness campaigns. The educational solar array will be a visible reminder the university has solar power as part of its energy portfolio and academic options.
Sustainability Through Art
$3,000 to Caroline Schlutius, M.S. biology student, and advisor Xin Conan-Wu, associate professor of art history
There is a big disconnect between scientific research and those whom that research might affect. Research is necessary to understand what is happening, but if people can not understand or relate to scientific findings, nothing will be done to tangibly deal with these issues. This project aims to bridge that gap by pairing student artists with students of sustainability to create artwork that can convey concepts around sustainability to the public in a compelling way. The artwork created through this project will be showcased during the William & Mary Earth Week festivities.
WMGIC Case Competition
$2,000 to WMGIC Team Thomas Liu '22, Nathan Liu '22, Macy Punzalan '20, Hannah Garfinkel '22 and advisor David Trichler, Global Research Institute director of programs and outreach
The Global Innovation Challenge @ William & Mary (WMGIC) is an annual case competition in which interdisciplinary teams create innovative solutions to current issues in sustainable and international development. The goal is to provide an opportunity for college students to problem solve and innovative sustainable solutions to ongoing global sustainability issues. Through the support of the Green Fee, the team is branding WMGIC as the collegiate-level sustainable and international development case competition. The Green Fee and the partnership between WMGIC and COS serves as a tool to empower student organizations and individual students to further sustainability efforts.