Fall 2019 Green Fee Project Awards Announced

The William & Mary Green Fees, awarded by The Committee on Sustainability, for the Fall of 2019 have been announced. The Green Fees support projects that focus on sustainability at the college.

From the time of its inception in 2008, the Green Fee has supported projects with more than $1.6 million USD. The projects focus on research, initiatives, events, and infrastructure that are sustainable in nature. Green Fee projects can be led by students, staff, and faculty.

At the moment, the college is looking for ways to source large amounts of green energy from solar farms in the area, as the first step toward a carbon-neutral campus.

Green Fee funds will contribute an additional $85,000 to this goal and will work on dealing with things like the natural gas that currently heats campus buildings. The Climate Action Plan is still being finalized and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2020.

The Green Fee Projects at William & Mary for this Semester Are:

Educational Solar Array

The associate director of central utilities, Farley Hunter, will receive $24,305 to add an on-site solar generation project. There are already solar projects that are under construction that were made possible by previous awards. Students will have access to the project via a web portal, and upcoming awareness campaigns.

China’s Public Diplomacy and Spending in South and Central Asia to be Evaluated, Quantified

William & Mary’s research lab, AidData, recently released new data that pertains to China’s public strategic diplomacy and aid spending in 13 countries spread across Central and South Asia.

Based on AidData’s analysis, using its proprietary “TUFF” methodology, the lab has created an in-depth look at China’s humanitarian aid, infrastructure investments, budget support, as well as debt relief for the years between 2000 and 2017.

AidData found $126 billion USD in funds that had been implemented, committed, or had helped to completed projects in the SCA by Chinese-based banking entities. Of this figure, $120 billion USD was used in infrastructure projects.

China is in the middle of financing one of the largest infrastructure projects in world history, which is known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), or One Belt One Road (OBOR).

Samantha Custer, who is AidData’s director of policy analysis, commented:

“Beijing has ramped up the volume and sophistication of its public diplomacy overtures in the region over time…But infrastructure as a part of its financial diplomacy dwarfs Beijing’s other public diplomacy tools in terms of the sheer scale and visibility.”

Beijing has been selective in how it allocates its foreign political development capital. While around 85% of the money that China spends to shore up political ties is spent on infrastructure, two nations were the recipients of half that spending.

Kazakhstan and Pakistan received half of the money that China spent between 2000 and 2017 on infrastructure. In fact, as an early signatory to the BRI, Pakistan received six times more money than its neighbor, India. The data that AidData collects comes from concessional loans, non-concessional loans, grants, policy banks, investment funds, and state-owned commercial banks.

In addition to the data sources listed above, researchers from AidData interviewed 216 individuals in 145 organizations that span six South and East Asian nations to better grasp how China is using its wealth to expand its political influence.

Siddhartha Ghose, who is an AidData associate director, as well as a co-author of the recent report, said:

“At the end of the day, citizens appear to be somewhat polarized regarding Beijing’s financial diplomacy overtures in their countries…These activities are associated with both lower approval and disapproval of Chinese government leadership.”

Art that Promotes Sustainability

M.S. biology student Caroline Schlutius and advisor Xin Conan-Wu, who is an associate professor of art will be the recipients of $3,000 to support a project that pairs student artists with sustainability students. The goal is to create compelling art that supports the core concepts of sustainability.

Case Competition for WMGIC

The Global Innovation Challenge Team, which is comprised of Thomas Liu ’22, Hannah Garfinkel ’22, Nathan Liu ’22, Macy Punzalan ’20, and advisor David Trichler will be receiving $2,000 to brand their team as the collegiate-level sustainable and international development case competition.

Old Saint William is Back

Suzanne Hagedorn will be presenting her research on an obscure Roman Catholic saint, who was venerated for centuries during the Middle Ages. William of Perth was all but wiped out of the public mind by the Protestant Reformation. Hagedorn plans to give a poster presentation St. William next summer in Durham, England, at the New Chaucer Society’s congress.

Early Career Leadership Award Given to VIMS Scientist

Virginia Institute of Marine Science scientist Molly Mitchell as been given an Early Career Leadership Award by the US CLIVAR Program. She is being honored for her work to create and disseminate sea-level forecasts and associated planning tools to emergency responders and coastal risk managers in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Virginia.

Climate Variability and Predictability, or CLIVAR, is the US branch of the International CLIVAR Program, which is one of four core projects undertaken by the United Nations’ World Climate Research Programme. It is given support by the National Science Foundation, NASA, NOAA, the Office of Naval Research, and the Department of Energy in the US.

Carl Hershner, who is Mitchell’s supervisor as director of the Center for Coastal Resources Management, commented:

“It’s nice to know that people at the highest levels of this field recognize the excellence that Molly brings to her work, and the promise she holds for future contributions…It’s an acknowledgment both of the work Molly has already done and is poised to do.”

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