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Sustainability Ambassadors

Creating change through course credit

This experiential learning opportunity combines a place-based sustainability project with a monthly class taught by the sustainability director for 1-3 ENSP 490 credits. Some projects are capstone eligible.

Sustainability Ambassadors spend time creating and implementing a sustainability project/research in collaboration with a supervising staff, faculty, community member, or team.  Class will be held monthly with the sustainability director.  This opportunity allows students to apply existing skills, gain professional experience and knowledge, create and problem solve, all to the benefit of both the students and the department or organization's sustainability progress.  

We are not currently accepting any applications for Sustainability Ambassadors.

If you have questions about the program or any of the projects, contact Sustain at [[sustain]].


Fall 2022 Projects

VIMS Discovery Lab Assistant | 2 positions | year-long, with a focus in Spring semester | 3 ENSP credits

The student(s) selected for this project will work with Sarah Nuss, Education Coordinator, and education staff for the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve at VIMS, to create informal education activities and demonstrations for the Discovery Lab program.  The Discovery Lab program is a monthly, family-friendly outreach event on the VIMS campus designed to allow families to learn about marine science together, with each month focusing on a specific marine science theme. 

The students will assist with the planning and creation of a “Climate Corner” at each of the spring labs, focusing on how climate change will impact the highlighted habitat or species. In April, the students will be the main contributor, planning and implementing a Discovery Lab on a topic of their choice related to the Bay, including a “Climate Corner”.  The students for this project should be well organized, creative, and enthusiastic about working with the public and environmental education. 

This is a full-year project, with planning taking place in the Fall semester, and more hands-on work in the Spring semester.  Ability to travel to VIMS required, although work will likely begin virtually.

Project Goals:

  • Work with Education staff to develop topic for April Discovery Lab.
  • Develop a “Climate Corner” for the Discovery Labs taking place in January-April.
  • Volunteer at the Discovery Labs in January-March.
  • Develop hands-on activities, demonstrations, and display information for Discovery Lab in April.
  • Assist with evaluation of the program.

Preferred, but Not Required, Qualifications:

  • Basic understanding of science, marine science, and/or climate change
  • Interest and/or experience in education

JCC Community Swap Proposal | 1 position | Fall Semester | 2 credits 

James City County is considering launching a Community Swap event for residents to exchange items they no longer need. This would provide items a second life, divert them from the landfill, and be a community building opportunity. The advisor and mentor for this project is Cassie Cordova, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator for James City County. This project will result in a proposal on how to conduct the Community Swap, best practices, and opportunities, which will be presented to JCC stakeholders.

Exploration will include similar events throughout the country or at other campuses, partnerships with other organizations such as Good Will, Habitat for Humanity Restore, and other environments where citizens need home items. Additionally, it will include mapping the potential for this event to align with W&M move-out in the spring, and subsequent details, to help rehome student items through a community event.

Project Goals & Outcomes:

  • Research on logistics, best practices, and lessons learned on similar events, both community and higher education based.
  • Interviews with leaders in this field.
  • List of resources and example events.
  • List of potential stakeholders.
  • Outline of suggested event implementation, including timeline, materials, logistics, and marketing.
  • Written, user-friendly, proposal encapsulating work completed and recommendations.
  • Presentation to JCC stakeholders on work.

City of Williamsburg Sustainability Plan | 1 position | Fall Semester | 2 credits

The City of Williamsburg has a goal to develop an environmental sustainability plan. The City will launch their first step in the summer of 2022 by launching a greenhouse gas emission baseline inventory. The student will work with Michele Mixner DeWitt, Assistant City Manager, and other City stakeholders to review the inventory, research best practices cities use to reduce GHG emissions, analyze the cost/benefit of the best practices, and propose next steps for the city to consider. This project will result in a proposal that will be presented to City stakeholders.

Project Goals & Outcomes:

  • Work with City stakeholders to review and analyze the conducted GHG inventory, including potentially identifying another city willing to conduct a peer review.
  • Research best practices and lessons learned from other cities' efforts to reduce emissions.
  • List of resources and examples of other city plans.
  • High-level cost/benefit analysis of best practices identified by the City for exploration.
  • Recommendations on next steps for the City to take and/or explore.
  • Written, user-friendly, proposal encapsulating work completed and recommendations.
  • Presentation to City stakeholders on work.



If you have questions about the program or any of the projects, contact Sustain at [[sustain]].