|Submission Date||Jan. 19, 2023|
Virginia Wesleyan University
EN-3: Student Life
|1.50 / 2.00||
Director of Sustainability
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:
Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:
Marlins Go Green. This student club raises awareness of sustainability through education, activism, and volunteer opportunities. They host campus clean-ups, invasive species removal events, environmental documentaries, used clothing drives, and Earth week activities.
Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:
The native gardens around the Greer Environmental Science Center include over 135 varieties of native plants and follow sustainable landscape practices. Students can intern or volunteer in the garden to learn about the native species, organic gardening, composting, and sustainable landscape practices.
Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:
A brief description of the student-run enterprises:
Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
Virginia Wesleyan has a student group focused on sustainable finance and investment practices which teaches students about socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and business practices through two primary activities:
1) The students compete in the IEN Student Corporate Engagement Competition, a student investment competition in which "students pitch an investment in a publicly-traded company, and include in that recommendation a shareholder engagement strategy focused on addressing inequality and the climate crisis, as they are systemic risks that threaten a healthy society, and in turn, healthy portfolio returns". In 2022 the VWU students won first place in the undergraduate category. The students have started to prepare for the 2023 competition.
2)In August 2022, The Brown Advisory Foundation, announced a gift to establish a student-managed investment fund at Virginia Wesleyan. The purpose of the gift is to provide students with additional learning opportunities on ESG investing.
Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:
A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences hosts a speaker series that is open to the campus community. Speakers during the last three years include:
- Dr. Annika Quick "What Lies Below (and Above): River Biogeochemistry in the Hyporheic Zone and Urban Watersheds"
- Dr. Kari Wolf "Nitrogen Transport and Remediation in Arable Landscapes"
- Mayanni McCourty "Efforts to Improve Air Pollution at the Air Quality Division at the VA Department of Environmental Quality"
- John Maravich "Meteorological considerations in Solar Power Plant Operation"
The Nusbaum Center hosted the following speakers:
Dr. John Finn "Social Murder and the Geography of Injustice: Compounding Socio-Environmental Impacts of Segregation in Coastal Virginia Hampton Roads"
Dr. Ophera Davis "The Overlooked Voices of Hurricane Katrina: The Resilience and Recovery of Mississippi Black Women"
Roi Galitz "Achieving the Unachievable: The Power of Networking and Failures, The Perspective of a World-Renowned Wildlife Photographer"
The Biology Department brings in speakers every year, often there is a sustainability or biodiversity topic. For example in 2022:
Dr. Jennifer Long "Migratory bird conservation: How to help birds in your own backyard"
Dr. Haydn Rubelmann "Seasonal cline partitions define microbial communities in an anoxic nearshore sink while sporadic turnover events lead to species replacement by different members from the same functional guild"
Sebastian Rock "Ecology of Freshwater Mussels in Swedish Rivers"
Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:
A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:
In Fall 2021, the theater department put on the student run production of Sponge Bob the musical. “In inspiration with the show, everything that’s found in Bikini Bottom was made with things that float to the bottom of the ocean,” said Trey DelPo, the scenic designer and technical director. “So we ran with the idea and made things out of the stuff that would be found at the bottom of the ocean to make a statement about the pollution and the trash that we put into the ocean,” DelPo said. The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center had tables and displays in the lobby that discussed the impact of pollution on our oceans. To further reduce waste, a traditional paper show bill was substituted with a QR code that redirected you to a virtual show bill. Two articles from the student newspaper discussed the sustainable use of upcycled materials in the sets:
Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:
Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:
A brief description of the sustainability-focused themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:
Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:
At least one work-study position and one Work and Learn position each year is available to assist a horticulturalist in maintaining the native gardens around the Greer Environmental Science Center. The garden includes over 135 varieties of native plants and follows sustainable landscape practices which the students are trained in. One to two additional work-study positions are available in the office of Wesleyan Engaged for which the students initiate and oversee campus civic engagement projects focused on sustainability, the environment, and animal welfare.
Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):
A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:
Additional documentation to support the submission: