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Sustainability Plan

Fiscal Years 2019-2024

The W&M Sustainability Plan is a five year university plan that applies to all schools, departments, offices, operations on the main campus and, where applicable, the VIMS campus. The Plan is arranged into four focus areas; Campus Planning & Culture, Academics & Engagement, Energy & Climate, and Operations.

Sustainability PlanThese subjects contain aims from across campus that are further organized into three categories:

GOAL: High priority objective with measurable, time-bound parameters

STANDARD: Formal campus policies or guidelines

COMMITMENT: Planned progress, from promises of exploration to specific objectives, with an emphasis on execution and collaboration at the department or school level to achieve a campus-wide affect

W&M Sustainability organized and facilitated the creation of this university plan. W&M Sustainability will be responsible for tracking progress of the overall plan and leading the implementation of the Plan’s four goals and certain campus commitments. It will play a guiding and supporting role to departments and offices who will oversee the commitments within their specific expertise.

View the Sustainability Plan (pdf)
The Plan does not detail every sustainability action on campus, but is an opportunity to showcase the many stakeholders involved in sustainability, their commitment towards further progress, and an overall direction for the next five years. The binding thread of this plan helps create a clearer vision for our sustainable future, and will foster even more cross-discipline and multi-departmental initiatives. Incremental progress has moved us significantly forward, and we are now ready for more transformative change.

Planning Process

Sustainability as a lens through which to plan, teach, engage, explore, and operate is a powerful and extremely applicable tool. This university-wide plan engaged stakeholders at multiple levels; students, staff and faculty were included in every step of the planning process, of which all schools were represented. The university community helped shape the direction of the Plan, and its contents reflects input and buy-in from across the campus spectrum. The Plan was officially launched on November 13, 2018. 

  1. Data Collection: STARS, a common sustainability reporting system for universities, was completed to collect baseline data from across the campus and all schools.
  2. Campus Input: The STARS results were provided in a Sustainability Report and a survey created of the categories. Respondents comprised of students, faculty, staff provided input on where they would like to see the Sustainability Plan focus.

  3. Goals: The Sustainability Plan Steering Committee (SPSC), within the Committee on Sustainability (COS), comprised of students, staff, and faculty from all schools determined high priority areas based on the campus survey results, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and professional expertise. Working groups of students, staff and faculty were then created to explore and write goals for these priority areas. For a full list of members, please see the Appendix.

  4. Commitments: Commitments for the Plan were procured by the Office of Sustainability (OS) from departments and offices across the campus in one-on-one meetings, as well as from the working groups.

  5. Draft Plan: The OS drafted the goals and commitments with input from the SPSC, working groups, and individual departments and offices.

  6. Review: Draft goals and commitments were reviewed by the deans of all schools, the faculty assembly, and the president. The OS made adjustments based on recommendations. The final draft was reviewed by the SPSC and COS.

  7. Sign Off: The final Sustainability Plan was signed by President Katherine Rowe.