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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 is a course requiring approximately 3 hours/week/credit spent 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.  

Applications Are Currently Closed

If you have questions about the program or any of the projects, contact Calandra Waters Lake at [[waterslake]].

Spring 2021 Projects
Equity & Virginia Solar | 1 position | Spring semester | 3 credits

To help support a just energy transition, this research project focuses on equity and environmental justice work taking place across Virginia in the solar field. Solar United Neighbors (SUN) is a non-profit that represents the needs and interests of solar owners and supporters across the country. This information will help SUN find their niche in this area and chart a path to success.

  • Research, conduct interviews, and compile the work happening across the state of Virginia in Low to Middle Income (LMI) and the environmental sector.
  • A policy analysis of environmental justice and LMI in Va.
  • Recommendations on trends and areas of interest/potential for SUN.
  • Concise and user-friendly write-up.
  • Presentation of research, findings, and recommendations to the SUN staff.


Emma Rebour is a senior majoring in Environmental Science and Psychology at William & Mary. She is from DC and loves spending my time outdoors hiking, running, or biking, whenever she gets the chance to. Currently, Emma am working with a solar energy company researching accessibility issues and policy change for her senior capstone project!

Enhancing Diversity in the Coastal and Marine Sciences; an Engagement Opportunity Database | 1 position | Spring semester | 1 credit

Georgia, Oregon, and Virginia Sea Grant Programs are collaborating with the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) to lead a new project entitled, “Coastal, Ocean, and Marine Enterprise Inclusion and Network-building (COME IN).” Through an NSF INCLUDES planning grant, COME IN will bring together scientists, stakeholders, and partners across disciplines for a series of facilitated meetings in 2021 and 2022. The network aims to develop a national ecosystem that nurtures the growth, persistence, and success of students from historically excluded groups. The Sustainability Ambassador will create a database of existing student engagement opportunities like Sea Grant’s Community-Engaged Internship and CERF’s Rising TIDES. With support from the advisor and collaborators, the Ambassador will analyze the existing opportunities and draft a two-page summary document. The outcomes for this project will help estimate the additional resources needed to ensure success of diverse students in the coastal, ocean and marine science workforce.

Project Goals:
  • Participate in two to three COME IN project team meetings, including a presentation at the end of the semester
  • Review existing student-focused programs (e.g., internships, fellowships, broadening participation professional development opportunities, conference trainings), focusing on opportunities open to undergraduates in the broader coastal, ocean, and marine sectors.
  • Compile and analyze a database of existing opportunities (including but not limited to: eligibility, number of applications received annually, number of students supported annually, alumni university affiliation, funding level, website links, program lead and contact information).
  • Coordinate with the advisor to request related information from external program leaders when it is not available online.
  • Based on trends and analysis, make recommendations on opportunity gaps for expansion of future programs.

                                                            Colleen Norton

Colleen Norton is a senior at W&M double majoring in Environmental Science and Geology. She spends most of her time working on research in the Geology department, playing on the W&M Women’s soccer team, and working as an intern for the W&M Office of Sustainability. She is passionate about conservation and environmental protection.

Review of Sustainable Procurement Operations | 1 position | Spring semester | 1 ENSP credit

First published in 2017 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), standard 20400 provides guidance to organizations on sustainable procurement.  The student selected for this project will take an in-depth look at both ISO 20400: Sustainable Procurement and William & Mary Procurement Services operations.  Final project deliverables will be a written report summarizing ISO 20400 and current procurement operations, as well as detailing suggested sustainable procurement practices that may be adopted by William & Mary. This student will work with Dave Zoll, Procurement Strategic Sourcing Analyst.   

Project Goals:
  • Perform a review and provide a written summary of ISO 20400: Sustainable Procurement
  • Perform a review and provide a written summary of William & Mary Procurement Services operations
  • Deliver a final written report recommending sustainable procurement practices that can be incorporated into William & Mary Procurement Services operations

                                                           justin maynard 

Justin is a sophomore from Leesburg, Virginia majoring in business analytics with a passion for promoting sustainability through business! On-campus he is heavily involved in club Ultimate Frisbee and APO and enjoys running, biking, and hiking in his free time!

W&M Greenhouse Gas Audit | 1 position | Spring semester | 1 ENSP credit

In 2019 W&M announced a commitment to carbon neutrality by 2030, along with a partnership towards that goal with the University of Virginia. The greenhouse gas audit allows the university to track its emission sources and amounts, measure progress, and inform decision-making. The student selected for this project will work under the supervision of the Office of Sustainability's Greenhouse Gas Audit Intern, and the Director of Sustainability, to complete the audits and reports for fiscal years 2019 and 2020. Preferred skills include comfort with data sets, metrics, data platforms, graphing, and excel. Experience in, or desire to, translate data to a wide audience is encouraged. 

Project Goals 
  • Help collect emission related data from across the main and VIMS campuses
  • Learn and use SIMAP 
  • Provide support in producing both a simple and in-depth report 


Zoey is a senior from Arlington, VA. She enjoys playing on the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team and just being active outdoors in general. She is passionate about sustainability, particularly green building and reducing our carbon footprint.

W&M Earth Week Chair & Co-chair 2020 | 2 positions | year-long, with focus in the Spring semester | 3 ENSP credits

W&M Earth Week is 7 days of activities, programs, and displays in celebration of Earth Day (April 22), culminating in a fun-filled festival.  The Earth Week Committee chair and co-chair will work with the sustainability director, Calandra Waters Lake, and a Committee on Sustainability advisor. The students will manage the Earth Week Committee program coordinators and must have strong communication and organization skills, attention to detail, ability to delegate and team build, as well as comfort in leading a group.  W&M Earth Week plans the Earth Week Festival and acts as a hub of information for campus Earth Week activities. Planning takes place in the fall, with implementation in the spring. 

Project Goals:
  • Partner with campus and community groups
  • Act as the hub, creating a platform for other groups to advertise and network their Earth Week events
  • Lead a committee of students in collaboration with faculty, staff, and community members
  • Create and manage a family-friendly Earth Week Festival!


Mary Lawrence Young is a Senior from Richmond, VA, double majoring in Anthropology and Environmental Science & Policy. She is passionate about emphasizing the importance of both natural and cultural preservation. This year, Mary Lawrence combines her interests into an Honors Thesis, exploring the sustainability of the Native American oyster fishery compared to the post-Colonial collapse faced by the fishery within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 


Claire is a Junior studying international relations, focusing on applying environmental principles to global issues. In her free time she enjoys hiking, cooking, and working as a Tribe Adventure Program trip leader to help make the outdoors more accessible to students across campus.

VIMS Discovery Lab Assistant | 2 positions | year-long, with focus in Spring semester | 3 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 January, February, and March 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.

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.


Sophia Chirico is a junior at William and Mary. She is double majoring in Biology and Environmental Science. Sophia is an assistant at the VIMS Discovery Lab. She is passionate about marine biology and hopes to continue to work on conservation and restoration of natural systems. 


Maggie Sheridan is a junior at the college majoring in Anthropology and History with an unofficial minor in Marine Science. As a Sustainability Ambassador, she is working with the Discovery Lab team at VIMS to create climate change-related science education content adapted for a virtual format. When not digging up sites or designing worksheets, Maggie is heavily involved with the theatre department and related student groups. 

Green Careers | 1 position | year-long | 2-3 credits

This Eco-Ambassador will be working with the Cohen Career Center’s Andrew Martin, Assistant Director, Industry Advising, Education and Public Service Careers and Parker Mercer, Graduate Assistant. As Eco Ambassador, the student will explore and define the multiple facets of the green career industry through organization and occupational research via websites and LinkedIn, and interviews with professionals in the field. As a representative of Cohen, the student will be acting on leads for employer recruitment and Meet Ups with professionals, as well as developing and managing their own projects.

The student will coordinate the following initiatives:
  1. Employer Development – First aspect of the project would be to identify new green occupations that are emerging due to green trends, such as Energy Auditors, Green Marketers, Chief Sustainability Officers, Financial Analysts and Wind Energy Engineers. The second step: Compile a list of employers according to each field, and include viable contact information. Finally, contact employers to determine interest in recruitment of William & Mary students, identify internships and full time employment opportunities, and the skills required for each position. A reasonable expectation for outreach would be to make contact with 15 prospective employers.
  2. Green Careers Meet Ups – Format will be either in-person or via video. Professionals will speak with students about their career paths, current position and organization, and opportunities in the field. A reasonable number of Meet Ups to coordinate would be one to two per Fall and Spring semester.
  3. Web Page Redesign – The current site requires creativity on how to present green careers information to students. The Eco-ambassador will work with members of the Cohen staff to determine a more updated and effective design for the page.
  4. Green Careers Section of Newsletter – This is a weekly project that requires researching, gathering, and submitting content about Green Careers for the Public Service Newsletter, as well as other newsletters generated by Cohen Career Center. 
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills are preferred
  • Must have the ability to research trusted sources
  • Must have working knowledge of LinkedIn & Microsoft Office (Excel, Work, PowerPoint, and Outlook)
  • Must have the ability to synthesize large amounts of information
  • Some experience in organizing events preferred
  • Initiative, professionalism, and resourcefulness are required

The student will be trained on internal software necessary for registering new employers, as well as introduced to professional sources such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook, O*Net, and CareerOneStop. Resources for event scheduling and hosting will also be provided.



Amelia is a senior double majoring in Environmental Policy and History. On-campus she is the Sustainability Ambassador for the Cohen Career Center, web specialist for the Parks Research Lab, and a member of the W&M Choir. In her free time, she likes to cook, explore new places, and spend lots of time outside with friends.

Visualizing Diversion Data through an Online Dashboard | 1 position | Fall semester | 1 ENSP credit

William & Mary Facilities Management seeks a research intern to work with Building Services to complete a research, data collection, analysis of sustainability metrics using a software tool (Tableau). Information to analyze data and tool access will be available for the candidate. This student will work directly with Anusha Komati, Recycling & Waste Supervisor.

  • Learn, create and manage Tableau analytic dashboard to measure the opportunities in data visualization
  • Conduct an analysis of data and develop reports using Tableau
  • Prepare a final written report and companion PPT presentation report describing the methods, process, recommendations
Project Goals
  • Metrics viewed in Data Visualization
  • Final written report include results and proposal for how this could be used at W&M


If you have questions about the program or any of the projects, contact Calandra Waters Lake at [[waterslake]].