VIMS staff and students win campus sustainability grants

Staff and students at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) have earned two competitive grants from The William & Mary Committee on Sustainability (COS) to improve energy efficiency on the Gloucester Point campus.

Overall, the COS approved funding for 14 new projects at VIMS and the College. The projects will improve energy efficiency and performance of existing facilities, as well as fund pilot studies and education/outreach programs.

One VIMS project will provide $18,000 to upgrade fluorescent lighting in the Hargis Library. Replacement of existing fixtures with enhanced energy-efficient fixtures will reduce energy consumption and help reduce the Institute’s carbon footprint.

The other project, proposed by VIMS graduate student Heidi Geisz on behalf of the VIMS “Green Team,” will use $3,000 to purchase and install motion sensors and motion-sensor-controlled lights to significantly reduce energy use in low-traffic areas.

The sustainability projects, funded through the student "Green Fee," are part of the ongoing effort to advance the College's Sustainability Policy announced by William & Mary President Taylor Reveley in the Spring of 2008. The 14 projects total nearly $92,000 in funding from the Green Fee.

The School of Marine Science at VIMS, with 110 students pursuing Masters and Doctoral degrees, is one of William and Mary's five graduate and professional schools.

Dennis Taylor, VIMS Professor and COS co-chair, says “In the past six months we have made great progress and now have more than 120 volunteer students, faculty, and staff involved in COS subcommittees and working groups. The proposals we have received and those we supported with the Green Fee in this current round are a reflection of how that same community has come together to create a sustainable future for the College.”

Fellow COS co-chair Lynda Butler, interim dean of the William & Mary Law School, notes that the Committee on Sustainability received 28 separate proposals this spring for projects that would have totaled $263,000. “All of the proposals addressed areas needing improvement, including energy efficiency, lifestyle choices, and maintenance,” she said.  “We were only limited by the amount of funds available.”