This summer, the College of William and Mary appointed its first Director of Sustainability, Calandra Waters Lake. The position was created to promote sustainability initiatives within the College and in the greater community through a partnership between the Committee on Sustainability and the Office of Strategic Initiatives.
“This new position provides administrative continuity to our sustainability efforts and gives W&M greater capacity to promote sustainability goals internally and to make the best use of student green fees across the university,” Henry Broaddus, Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives, said in an email.
Lake holds a Bachelor of Science in natural resources from Virginia Tech and a Master of Arts in education from the College, which she received in 2008. She has worked at Grafton High School in York County for the past six years as an environmental science and earth science teacher, according to a press release by the College in August. Throughout her teaching career she volunteered with the COS.
“Volunteering was definitely a big part of me being able to take the job … I already know a number of the people, and I have an idea of how things have been run in the past,” Lake said.
This new position is replacing the Sustainability Fellow position, which once served the same function. Sustainability Fellows cycled every one to two years.
“We are looking forward to having continuity in the job,” said Lynda Butler, Co-Chair of the COS said in an email.
The new Director of Sustainability position is also a way to involve sustainability in the College’s administrative structure. By straddling both the COS and the OSI, both bodies will be informed of sustainability activities and each will be able to support these initiatives more appropriately.
“The fellows did superb work, but they — and therefore the College’s sustainability program — were never at the administrative table,” Butler said. “For example, when changes were made to the College web pages that affected the sustainability program, we found out after the decisions were made because we were never involved in the administrative decision-making process.”
One of Lake’s goals for her tenure in the position is to better establish the College and Williamsburg community as a regional hub for sustainability. She described her own experiences as a community member trying to find some local environmental volunteer opportunities, and the difficulty she encountered with finding anything relevant and substantial.
“A few years ago, when I was trying to find ways to become more involved with sustainability in the community, I really had to search to find ways to do that,” said Lake. “I got lucky and stumbled across the Committee on Sustainability … I called up the Fellow and asked, ‘how can I get involved?’”
Natalie Hurd ’16, co-chair of the programs and education subcommittee for the Steering Committee of Sustainability, is pleased with the appointment of Lake.
“I first met Calandra while working together on Earth Week last year, so I was very excited to hear about her appointment,” said Hurd in an email. “Her experience, enthusiasm and creative ideas are a wonderful addition to the campus community and W&M’s sustainability efforts.
Through events like monthly Sustainability Seminars at the Williamsburg Community Building and Earth Week, when local environmental organizations will be invited to table and promote their activities, Lake hopes to get the College more involved with local initiatives.
“Although William and Mary has done a lot with sustainability on their campus, I don’t feel that there is a prevalence in the community as there could be,” she said. “Living in Williamsburg, the College is the perfect place to go for new and innovative ideas.”
Flat Hat Variety Editor Devon Ivie contributed to this article.