College unveils Green Fee projects

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November 18, 2008

1:10 AM

The College of William and Mary’s Committee on Sustainability has announced the first round of projects designed to improve environmental sustainability on campus. The projects are funded by the Green Fee, which was approved last year through a campus-wide referendum.

The committee, made up of a group of faculty, staff and students appointed by College President Taylor Reveley earlier this year, is co-chaired by Interim Dean of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law Lynda Butler and Virginia Institute of Marine Science professor Dennis Taylor.

“[The committee] decided to fund projects that would increase sustainability on campus and help build the foundation for future work,” committee member Lauren Edmonds ’11 said.

Many of the projects that were reviewed by the committee came about as a result of a seminar on campus sustainability taught through the College’s environmental science department, Taylor said. These proposals were laid out in a “sustainability roadmap” that was made available to the committee. Projects that could be started immediately were ultimately the ones chosen for implementation during this round.

One project is installing occupancy sensors in Swem Library. The committee set aside $15,000 for the initiative, which will use less energy and reduce costs.

“Swem is a very large area where we have no ability to control energy consumption,” Taylor said. “In the next 18 months, we’ll start to see money come back in through the improvements in energy conservation.”

The committee allocated $16,000 as one-time support to pay for budget shortfalls in the College’s recycling program.

According to Student Environmental Action Coalition Co-Facilitator Phil Zapfel ’09, more students are recycling this year as a result of SEAC initiatives. Consequently, the recycling pickup fee has increased. The committee agreed to foot the bill for this year’s increased pickups because the College did not include the funds in the budget.

Taylor also emphasized the importance of continuing research on improving the College’s recycling program.

“[The committee] would like to provide resources for student and faculty projects on how to make recycling more user friendly, [to encourage] studies on cost effectiveness,” he said.

Additionally, physics professor Keith Griffioen and a research team of 15 students received $3,000 in seed money to study solar cell development. The project involves placing a solar array on the roof of Small Hall.

“[This] project has [the] potential to convert buildings on campus to solar energy,” Taylor said.

Other projects include funding for electric metering in Randolph Complex to track energy use in dorms and test energy saving projects.

An additional $3,000 would go to biology professor Randy Chambers, director of the Keck Lab, to fund his research on storm water runoff on campus.

Another $40,000 will be invested in a Green Endowment, which would fund support for future projects.

“These projects are going to have a huge impact on campus. We’re making changes that will start paying back the investment now,” Edmonds said. “These projects are all important to sustainability at the College.”

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