For recent William Smith graduate Cameron Snyder, the weeks following Commencement have been a whirlwind of activity. Just days after returning to her hometown of Greenwich, Conn., she was offered a position as the sustainability coordinator at Ponte Winery, the first winery in Southern California to be accredited as sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
Cameron found out about the position through networking and from there the details just seemed to fall into place. “My work and living environment has been very comforting,” explains Snyder. “The job keeps me busy 40 hours a week and I have met some great co-workers and people visiting the winery. The day-to-day tasks are interesting and it is exactly the kind of work that I want to be doing – so I love work (I hope most people can say that).”
In order to maintain its sustainability accreditation, the winery must complete an annual certification process. Snyder’s main task this summer will be conducting a 277 point self-assessment of the vineyard’s and winery’s practices in order to ensure that they are functioning in the most sustainable manner possible.
“This is a somewhat tedious task, but will be very rewarding when we are able to portray our sustainability efforts to the public. I will be assisting to write blog posts about our sustainability efforts and update the Ponte website explaining our efforts. Around the estate, I will be leading green tours to the public who have come to Ponte to experience a day in the country and taste wine,” she says.
While her time as part of the environmental studies department at the Colleges certainly prepared her academically for this position, Snyder also credits her time abroad for preparing her for the challenge. “Studying abroad helped me reach outside of my comfort zone and learn to adjust to differences,” says Snyder. “That helped me develop the personal skills to travel and be on my own. This was hugely helpful in the transition to Southern California.”
While in Australia and New Zealand, Snyder’s academic coursework was focused directly on sustainability. “I observed themes of waste, water, transportation, food, and biodiversity in Australia and New Zealand and compared them to practices in the United States,” she explains. “This direct observation and classroom knowledge showed me where some of our U.S. practices are flawed – and what inspired me to look for work pushing sustainable practices in a business world.”
Snyder graduated from William Smith in May 2013 with a degree in environmental studies. Her blog posts for Ponte Winery are available online.