Campus Carrot Top Sydney Thayer promotes sustainability at the College


From spray-painted compost bins to educational infographics, sustainability is becoming more visible on campus. The emergence of these resources can be attributed to the efforts of passionate students such as Sydney Thayer ’24.

Thayer has pioneered the concept of modern sustainability at the College of William and Mary. She is the Student Assembly’s secretary of sustainability, a student liaison to the Office of Sustainability and the Carrot Top of the Veggie Society. 

“I hope that people can get used to the idea of living a more sustainable life because they had access to it while they’re here at William and Mary,” Thayer said. “I hope that when they leave William and Mary, they’re at least thinking about sustainability a little bit more.”

To Thayer, environmentally-friendly activism is not about completely changing the lifestyle of others, but rather making a series of simple choices, such as learning more about compost bins and using reusable mugs when buying coffee on campus. 

“I hope that people can get used to the idea of living a more sustainable life because they had access to it while they’re here at William and Mary.”

She began to explore improving sustainable resources on campus during her freshman year. Thayer remembers the compost and trash bins overflowing in her freshman dorm building, as they only had one public compost bin for the entire dorm. When her community council proposed the creation of a trash committee, Thayer was ready to offer assistance. 

“There were four of us on the committee and we ended up creating all these names and different awareness things of how to properly put stuff in the compost bin,” Thayer said. 


This initiative was the first of many conservation efforts that Thayer engaged in during her freshman year. She also started a composting Instagram account, created memes to spread awareness about how to properly compost and used the Green Fee Fund to bring another compost bin to the Green and Gold Village. 

“I think making something fun and making something relatable and silly or making it a meme brings more attention to it than an infographic ever would,” Thayer said. 

She chose to make composting an exciting endeavor rather than simply informing everyone about the benefits of using it. In turn, her efforts resonated with those around her who shared the same sentiments and the relatability of her content helped her compost-focused movements take off.

“By the end of the year, I really realized that I was passionate about sustainability and I started applying for anything that was sustainability-related,” Thayer said.


Thayer’s role as the Secretary of Sustainability is her way of conveying  student opinions on resource-friendly policies to the administration.  

“It’s really one of my biggest goals to make sure that students have a voice in those conversations,” Thayer said. “Making sure that students have a seat at the table in conversations is pushing William and Mary on towards a more sustainable future.”

Thayer’s work with administration to foster a more sustainable student environment goes beyond closed-door conversations. She emphasizes the importance of starting with small areas of the student body and administration and moving towards normalizing a more sustainable lifestyle. In turn, she has used her position to spark conversations with many parts of the College community. Thayer has worked with the Reeves Center to create more ecologically-focused abroad opportunities, as well as with facilities management to expand student access to composting. 

“It’s really one of my biggest goals to make sure that students have a voice in those conversations.”

Her work also helps raise awareness among students about sustainable living, specifically through her role as the “Carrot top,” or president, of the Veggie Society. 

“We founded the Veggie Society, which is all about promoting mental, physical and environmental wellness,” Thayer said. “So, creating a community of people who are really committed to all those ideas is really important to us.”

The Veggie Society’s outreach goals rely on the idea of, What are small ways that you could incorporate more plant-based eating into your life?” The society uses their platform to raise awareness for ways to eat more sustainably. Events like the Lettuce Feast also attract crowds of students and spread the Veggie Society’s message.

“I have a tree costume that I wear that also helps get people’s attention,” Thayer said. 


When hosting fun activities surrounding vegetables, Thayer keeps her goal of building community around vegetables being accessible and entertaining at the forefront of her work. To Thayer, encouraging others to make sustainable choices and be mindful of what is being consumed is a major factor in creating an eco-friendly community. 

“So, I think one of my biggest sustainability tips is every time you buy something, think about where that item is going to end up,” Thayer said.  

“Every time you buy something, think about where that item is going to end up”

Thayer hopes to encourage the student body to keep sustainable alternatives in mind when buying and consuming different products. 

“I don’t think that every single person is going to be as gung-ho about sustainability as me or be as committed to it, but if every single person thought a little bit more about sustainability and what they could do to make a sustainability change, that would do a lot. And so I hope that everyone has something in the back of their mind… something that they could do to be more sustainable,” Thayer said. 

As Thayer continues to serve and support a sustainable way of life at the College, her efforts have encouraged numerous students and organizations to go green. To stay updated with Thayer and how she continues to help support a clean and eco-friendly campus, check out the Veggie Society and Student Assembly on social media.


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