Independent Sustainability Course

The students in this course are chosen to further sustainability through semester and year-long projects in partnership with faculty and staff across the campus. This course combines an advisor-coordinated sustainability project with a class taught by the sustianability director for 1-3 ENSP 490 credits. Some projects are capstone eligible.

The course requires approximately 5 hours per week spent creating and implementing a sustainability project/research, in collaboration with a supervising staff or faculty member.  Class will be held monthly with the sustainabiltiy director.  This is a great opportunity to work with different departments and offices while making a difference furthering sustainability at the university. 

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

Apply by september 4, 2018
VIMS Discovery Lab Assistant | 2 positions | year-long, focus in Spring | 2-3 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 EcoAmbassador 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 EcoAmbassador 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 EcoAmbassador 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.
  • Assist with evaluation of the program.
Defining the Landscape of Green Careers | 1 position | year-long | 2-3 credits

This student will be working with the Cohen Career Center’s Tonya Nations, Director - Career Readiness and Public Service Careers, and Ryan Patterson, Graduate Assistant. They 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 recruitment and meetups with professionals, as well as developing and managing their projects.

 Project Goals:

  1. Employer Development – First aspect of project would be to identify new green occupations that are emerging due to green trends, such as Energy Auditors, Chief Sustainability Officers, and Wind Energy Engineers. The second step: Compile a list of employers according to each field, and include viable contact information. Finally, reach out to employers to determine interest in recruitment of William & Mary students. A reasonable expectation for outreach would be contact with 15 prospective employers.
  2. Green Careers Meetups – 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 meetups to coordinate would be 1-2 per spring and fall semester.
  3. Web Page Redesign – The current site requires new thoughts on how to present green careers information to students. The student 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 Government & Nonprofit 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, Excel, and Word
  • Must have 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 and CareerOneStop. Resources for event scheduling and hosting will also be provided.

Survey of Sustainability Research | 1 position | fall semester | 1 credit

This student will work with the sustainability director and an intern to complete a survey of the sustainability related faculty/staff research that took place in the 2016-2017 academic year. The survey will involve reaching out to faculty across multiple schools and departments, tracking responses, following up with professors and collating data. The preferred student will have strong communication skills, experienced in excel, and well organized. 

Project Goals: 

  • Help obtain list of faculty/staff and projects
  • Contact all researchers and follow up with likely candidates
  • Create and disseminate survey for faculty/staff
  • Collate data and project descriptions
  • Determine the percent of sustainability research conducted