This summer, Mary Baldwin University (MBU) entered into a unique partnership with Secure Futures LLC, in an effort to promote sustainability on the university’s campus. Through the partnership and a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Secure Futures employee, Sam Stoner, is serving as the new Sustainability Coordinator for MBU. This partnership is unique to Virginia – as it is the first of its kind between a renewable energy developer and institution of higher education with the mission of finding ‘green’ solutions for the university – by focusing on energy conservation and environmental awareness.
Although Mary Baldwin University has had energy efficiency programs for years, the new position will ensure that sustainability will be integrated and executed in a number of ways throughout the campus.
“For the first time it gives Mary Baldwin a person whose specific job it is to focus on sustainability,” said Director of Facilities Brent Douglass, Stoner’s supervisor.
Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Sam graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in the spring of 2016 with a BA in Environmental Sustainability.
The top priority for Stoner is to create greater awareness about making the University more sustainable. “I think implementing a culture of environmental consciousness at Mary Baldwin is extremely important”, Stoner said.
The crux to Stoners role at Mary Baldwin will be his ability to coordinate and implement sustainability focused initiatives, and to serve as a resource hub for sustainability information to all levels of the campus engagement. Initiatives already undertaken by the Sustainability Coordinator include overseeing the university’s recycling program, and revamping a student driven organization, the ‘Green Team’.
Another priority for Stoner and Douglass is to install water and electric meters on each major building on the Mary Baldwin campus. Currently, there are only two meters serving the majority of the campus’ buildings. With this limitation, Douglass said, “we are challenged to understand the detail of our water and energy consumption. Having meters in each building will enable us to better understand and manage the consumption at that level.” The goal of metering each building will be to see where the most energy and water conservation can take place.
A reduction in energy and water use would save the University money, and decrease its overall carbon footprint.
Secure Futures founder and CEO, Anthony E. Smith, PhD, says of the new position, “the unique partnership between Secure Futures and Mary Baldwin University benefits not only the university, but also the wider Staunton community. We see tremendous value in the various programs Sam will be implementing at Mary Baldwin University, for both our local and global community.”
”It is not easy bein’ green” was the famous song by Kermit the Frog nearly 50 years ago. Sam affirmed that. “My work will be to bring awareness to the sustainability initiatives that are ongoing around campus, and get people excited about sustainability”.