Hello UVA! I was asked by my fellow EPA intern, Patricia, to guest write a blog post for Green Grounds about Sustainability at The College of William & Mary. But, before I start let me introduce myself! My name is Allie Rosenbluth and I am going to be a senior (yes senior, not fourth year) at William & Mary this fall. I am a Government and Environmental Policy double major, Vice Commodore of the William & Mary Sailing Team, and completely immersed in campus (I’m going to use all of UVA’s favorite words) sustainability at the College. I’m also a student blogger for William & Mary so this is at least somewhat familiar turf for me.
Essentially, sustainability at William & Mary is run by three major groups. These groups include the Committee on Sustainability (COS), the Student Environmental Action Committee (SEAC), and Alma Mater Productions’ Sustainability and Diversity Committee (AMP Sustdiv).
COS was founded by the College in 2008 to develop, plan, and recommend strategies for implementing William & Mary’s Sustainability Policy and integrating sustainability into the life of the College. Both students, faculty, and staff serve on COS and its subcommittees. COS is primarily funded by William & Mary’s “Green Fees” which is just another $15 tacked on to the Student General Fee. These fees pay for projects like installing light sensors in rooms and hallways, water bottle refill stations, DORMANIA, and most of Earth Week.
Next, SEAC is a student advocacy organization that focuses on promoting sustainability and environmental consciousness through campaigns that include everything from Campus Gardens to Energy Justice. It is a non-hierarchical organization that regularly networks with local activists and advocacy organizations like the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, for instance. They’re famous for their Lorax costume, which was tragically stolen last year.
Finally, we have AMP Sustdiv. AMP is the primary planning board at William & Mary. It hosts all of big concerts, comedians, movies, and speakers that come to the College. The Sustdiv Committee is just one of ten committees within AMP. It plans events that focus on campus sustainability and student body diversity. The committee also ensures that all of AMP’s event planning is as green as possible. I am lucky enough to be the chair of this wonderful committee. Some of the events we’ve put on include Smoothie Bike (yes, a bike that blends smoothies), The Planet Earth Debates, outdoor screenings of movies like Wall-E and Disney’s Oceans, plantings, and so much more. The committee is made up of about a dozen students who are selected by the chair after a round of group interviews.
Each group has its unique strengths, and we’ve found recently that working together is the best way to make sustainable things happen at the College. This year we had William & Mary’s first ever sustainability summit where leaders from each of the three organizations met to discuss ways we can work together. Now COS, SEAC, and AMP are constantly working together which I think the best approach to reaching and surpassing William & Mary’s sustainability goals!
Anyways, I hope this was an informative look at William & Mary’s Sustainability initiatives and hopefully UVA’s efforts are equally successful! If you’re interested on learning more about William & Mary’s Sustainability (or transferring) check out our green blog “Hark Upon the Green” (and our admissions site)!