William and Mary Digest: Jan. 11

Sustainability on the rise

William and Mary is well on its way to having a more sustainable campus thanks to grants awarded by its Committee on Sustainability.

•The college's Bird Club received $2,613 to help treat the windows in the glass lobby of the Muscarelle Museum of Art. Hundreds of federally protected birds die by hitting the glass lobby each year, according to the college.

•To help VIMS students and faculty grow healthy food to bring home to their families, the committee awarded its community garden $3,055. The money will go toward two main purposes: To provide maintenance to some of the oldest garden beds on the campus, and to buy signage that could draw people toward the garden.

•Librarians who work at William and Mary's libraries received $865 to add solar power capabilities to the system, among other sustainable efforts.

•A permaculture garden will provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students, faculty, and staff. A group of students received $1,887 to create the garden, which will be located near the college's Keck Environmental Laboratory. It will need little to no maintenance once it's up and running.

College releases President's Report

President Taylor Reveley released the President's Report on Jan. 5, a snapshot of what the school has done over the last calendar year.

He praised the school's advancement team for raising a record $143.1 million from its alumni.

The school's goal is to have at least 40 percent of its alumni donate, which would put it in the same range as similar institutions like Notre Dame and the University of Chicago.

Hiring a full-time psychologist is also one of the accomplishments Reveley touched on in his report. The move was vital in the college winning a Williamsburg Health Foundation Award in 2016.

A task force commissioned by the college began installing a list of steps it can take to help improve race relations between the college to the community and within the college.

One of the immediate steps was to rename two residence halls after a slave (Lemon Hall) and after a longtime administrator who fought for equity and inclusion on the campus (Hardy Hall). There will be more steps taken in coming years, according to the report.

Professor's work helps to unveil emissions data

Oceans are soaking up much of the carbon dioxide humans produce. As the Earth's waters become more acidic, they become more dangerous for marine life.

Elizabeth Shadwick, an assistant professor at William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science, placed a mooring in the frigid waters of Antarctica to monitor how and where carbon dioxide is present and how much there is in the area.

A mooring is the series of ropes and chains connected to a boat. Shadwick's materials will sit around 60 meters underwater.

"The autonomous sensors will allow us to monitor the full annual cycle of carbon dioxide in Antarctica's coastal waters, for the first time," Shadwick said.

Waters are studied heavily in the summer months, but not much in the winter.

Studying carbon dioxide now is important to getting a full view of how dire the situation is, Shadwick said.

"Using sparse observations of wintertime conditions," says Shadwick, "our models predict the Southern Ocean will become undersaturated with respect to carbonate by the year 2030 — roughly 30 years earlier than projections based on conditions representing an annual average, and up to 70 years earlier than those based on summer observations alone."

If the Southern Ocean does not have enough carbonate, many of the organisms that use the mineral to create their shells, and those who already have shells may see them dissolve.

Forbes recognizes college as among the best in the country

Forbes ranked William and Mary fifth among public institutions of higher education in the country. The college finished 38th out of all of the colleges and universities in the country. It finished sixth and 39th in those two categories last year.

The University of Virginia finished fourth among public schools, and three military academies rounded out the top three: The United Military Academy finished first, then the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy.

The publication takes into account student debt upon graduation, post-graduate success, academic success, and graduation rate when putting together the list.

Virginia Tech finished number 22 among public colleges and universities and 118th overall.

This story was made via information from the William and Mary News Department.

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