By Cole Cochran ’22
If you’re like me and have always longed to inspire others about protecting the Earth, along with the people that inhabit it, then W&M Sustainability has a place for you. The Office of Sustainability gives students, faculty, and staff the ability to make a visible difference at William & Mary. Here’s how my experience has gone with W&M Sustainability.
As a freshman, I arrived on campus itching to find an organization with a positive environmental focus. Upon receiving my First Year Experience packet, I fished out a W&M Sustainability sticker and cracked a smile. I knew that I would find what I was looking for: a way to make a real impact in the realm of sustainability. However, what I didn’t know at the time was how big of a role students play at the Office of Sustainability—it’s a big one, and each and every student is encouraged to get involved and voice their ideas.
This summer, when all other plans had gone out the window, I found my way to the Office of Sustainability, which offers summer volunteer internships to students. I expressed my interest and was welcomed aboard the team right away. The experience has left me with a more robust skill set and a greater sense of environmental awareness—an awareness that encompasses society as much as the Earth.
My role has been largely graphic design for campaigns and the W&M Sustainability webpage. I have a photographer’s background, and I’ve always enjoyed using my photography to provoke intrigue. However, this opportunity has given me the chance to explore other graphical mediums and reach my peers more directly. My internship has been a wonderful learning experience, and a fun one at that.
One of our projects this summer was to revamp the W&M Sustainability website. Working with University Web & Design, we were able to create this grid page for Funding Opportunities related to sustainability using the graphics I created!
One of my favorite things about William & Mary is the incredible community I get to be immersed in. While it may seem that that immersion has been interrupted by the ongoing pandemic, I can assure you, it has not! Opportunities presented by clubs and organizations, such as the Office of Sustainability, do a fantastic job of bringing this campus together even when we’re far apart. This summer has been no exception, as I’ve gotten to work alongside a caring, creative group of students! Collaborating with my fellow interns has inspired me to do more and think more broadly about promoting sustainable goals.
It’s been a pleasure to be part of an organization devoted to the wellbeing of our campus as well as our world. I feel my freshman year desire to make an impact has finally found its footing… and this is only the beginning. Everyone has the chance to leave a bold impact on William & Mary through opportunities with W&M Sustainability. Take that chance. Drive the conversation on conservation. Get involved today!