For years, Mary Baldwin has implemented policies and programs aimed at reducing its carbon footprint and now, thanks in part to a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, a new sustainability coordinator on campus will ensure that those initiatives are operating smoothly and delivering positive results.
Sam Stoner, who began the two-year position earlier this month, will also be working to engage the Mary Baldwin community and beyond in the institution’s green efforts.
“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. “It’s certainly my hope that it’s a successful endeavor and becomes a permanent position.”
Among the programs Stoner will coordinate is Mary Baldwin’s SunShot Collaboration with the Council of Independent Colleges of Virginia (CICV), which plans for the use of solar energy on campus.
Another specific initiative of the duPont grant is the installation of water and electric meters on each major building on campus, Douglass said. Right now, there are only two meters serving the entire campus. With this limitation, he 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.” Ultimately, the data will be made public through an online dashboard and Mary Baldwin will have the benefit of community input to reduce consumption.
“With community engagement, even a town-gown collaboration, the sky’s the limit when we’re looking at reducing our carbon footprint,” Douglass said.
Stoner, who is also employed by local firm Secure Futures, a solar development company headquartered in Staunton, is developing links with the Office of Student Life and Mary Baldwin’s Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement, whose mission is rooted in sustainability. Stoner said he is looking forward to tapping into the knowledge of his colleagues at Secure Futures — many of whom have experience working on sustainability of other colleges and universities in Virginia — for green solutions that might work at Mary Baldwin.
Stoner, who hails from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, graduated in May from Eastern Mennonite University with a degree in environmental sustainability. While his first few weeks on the job will mostly be listening and learning, Stoner said, he’ll soon be diving into the metering project.
“I really enjoy the historic feel of this campus,” Stoner said. “It’s captivating to be in the [Shenandoah Valley] and be a part of such a close-knit community.”