College scores a ‘B’ for green

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October 16, 2009

3:17 AM

As green becomes the new black and the College of William and Mary increasingly strives to improve its sustainability and environmental awareness, its efforts are being nationally recognized.

The Sustainability Endowments Institute, a nonprofit organization engaged in research and education to further eco-friendly initiatives and techniques wih institutions of higher education, recently awarded the
College with an overall rating of ‘B’ on their yearly College Sustainability Report Card.

In 2007, the College scored an overall ‘D’ on campus sustainability and last year, the College scored a rating of ‘C.’

The Institute awarded the overall grade after looking at a variety of categories administration and green building.

Among the different categories, the College received an ‘A’ for its administration, noting the College’s annual budget for sustainability projects, which exceeds $200,000.
In addition, they noted that all paper purchased at the college contains recycled contents.

Sam Lockhart ’10, Co-Facilitator for the Student Environmental Action Coalition at the College, noted that the administration had been helpful in accomplishing much of the group’s activities in the past year.

“With the support of the school administration and faculty, we have worked side-by-side to achieve great strides towards many of the environmental goals students have been advocating for years,” she wrote in an e-mail.

The College received similarly high marks in other categories, including a ‘B’ in Food & Recycling as well as a ‘A’ in Student Involvement.

The Institute explained that the College had received a B in part for the College’s purchases of produce, seafood, bread, meat and dairy items from local sources and cited the efforts of its SEAC and its environmental advocacy.

The Institute cited the creation of the College’s Sustainability Fellow, a position filled by Phil Zapfel ’09, as evidence of the College’s improved environmental commitment, greeted the improved grade with enthusiasm.

“It’s fantastic news, and great to see the progress that’s been made,” Zapfel said. “To go from a D to a B in two years really shows how well we’ve adapted to making sustainability at the College a priority.”

Zapfel added that the College is surpassing other state schools.

No Virginia college received a grade higher than a ‘B.’

“We’re catching up,” Zapfel said. “We’re tied for the best grade in the state.”
Lockhart echoed similar sentiments and said that the College’s involvement and commitment to making the
campus green had been influential for the score.

“It has been incredible to witness the energy and commitment towards sustainability grow exponentially,”
Lockhart said. “I am so proud of William and Mary’s recent improvement, and am hopeful that these efforts continue for years to come.”

As the College works toward an increasingly eco-friendly school, he noted areas where the College’s could improve.

Zapfel listed efforts toward the creation of a compost heap for the campus’s dining halls, as well seeking to improve the energy that is used on campus by working with Dominion Power Company and the state to bring more alternative energy to campus.

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