Sustainability marks pass
October 20, 2009
Let’s face it: This is a bookish campus on which bad grades are not welcome. That is just how the College of William and Mary is, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. In this spirit, we would like to congratulate the College on its successful efforts to improve the school’s College Sustainability Report Card grade, “a measurement of campus and endowment sustainability activities at American and Canadian universities.” In only a brief two years, the College has jumped quickly from an abysmal ‘D-’ to an acceptable ‘B,’ and we look forward to seeing where it goes from here.
Decisive action brought us to this point. The College created the effective Committee on Sustainability and instituted green fees, allocating hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to the Committee’s projects. Going forward, the College has also committed to building and buying green from here on out so buildings and appliances on campus will be energy efficient. Some such changes will even begin to pay for themselves over the long run.
All of this is great, but we still have a long way to go, as the score card shows the College still falters in several areas. Our endowment management needs to become more transparent so outsiders can lobby the College to move toward investments that are good for the globe. Currently, we have a ‘D’ in this area, which is below the national average — if only slightly. Also, while we have reduced our carbon footprint by a respectable 12 percent over the last year, we are still emitting many greenhouse gases. We can and should do better, so let’s keep our eye on next year.