W&M Office of Sustainability: Adapting Our Strategy

By Sophia Sabardine ’21

How will we stay connected with virtual outreach? Most student organizations are all too familiar with this daunting task that the fall semester is challenging us with.

Interning with the W&M Office of Sustainability and being in charge of event planning has presented me with a challenge, but also with new opportunities. Having had to engage with others via Zoom has allowed me to reach more people and to connect with students at different schools I would have otherwise never met. As I began to tackle the question of what event planning would look like as we recover from the coronavirus, I started by expanding my network and reaching out to other schools’ sustainability offices.

With the support of over 25 sustainability affiliated groups at colleges across the country, we have created a Slack channel and a Google Drive in order to facilitate sustainability communications, spark innovation, and learn from each other. This has been a great way to collaborate on programming, gain insight into how other universities run their programs, and gain inspiration from what works well. This new means of communication has helped us devise a strategy for the fall, as well as creating long terms relationships and networks at other intuitions.

During these unprecedented times, we are called to be resilient, think creatively, and unite in solidarity to come up with new solutions. Although it has been difficult for many of us to accept this ‘new normal,’ especially in regard to what college campuses will look like in the fall, I am optimistic that student organizations will adapt and do what we do best: the Tribe rises to be bold and surmount adversity.

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