Since the onslaught of Covid-19, the Office of Sustainability is among many groups who have had to come-up with creative ways to engage with the WashU community. Transitioning to virtual content has presented some challenges, but it also came with new opportunities for increased accessibility and creative use of digital tools within our programming.
To support the Office of Sustainability in this transition, two student associates were recruited to serve as Engagement Specialists, a new position within the EES internship program. In their role, Graduate MSW student Marla Guggenheimer and sophomore majoring in American Culture Studies Brianna Chandler support all projects that involve community interaction, including the Sustainable Living Series.
Every Thursday between September 17th and October 15th, staff and students from the Office of Sustainability delivered weekly virtual sessions on different themes of sustainability including waste, food, energy, and transportation. The series was designed to provide simple and accessible tips to increase sustainability in our daily lives, highlighting resources and programs that support individuals in reducing their carbon footprint, while often saving money and improving community health in the process.
Nearly 150 students, employees, community members, and even long-time alums registered for the series, fostering lively and dynamic discussions during each session. While the presentations were designed for beginners in the field, a majority of attendees came with some existing knowledge – we hope they leveled up after attending the sessions! As most of our audience was tuning in from off-campus locations, the series was intended to provide a way for people to feel connected to campus despite being away, while offering resources accessible to all regardless location. At the end of the Campus Tour session, alum Tomas Dundzila, who graduated in 1986 from a BS Engineering & Public Policy, shared how grateful he was to be able to see today’s campus virtually, taking measure of the significant changes that have occurred in the past few decades.
Marla, a St. Louis transplant and first year Brown School student had a lot to say about her first engagement specialist project.
Working with other Office of Sustainability student associates and staff to craft and deliver the Sustainable Living Series was such a rewarding experience! Not only was I able to collaborate and learn from my peers, but I got to take a deep dive into aspects of sustainability I wasn’t familiar with before. Particularly, developing the Energy session gave me more insight into the ways people can make individual changes at home and come together to impact change on an even larger, more institutional level. I’m looking forward to how the Sustainable Living Series might continue to grow and incorporate new knowledge and practices in the years to come.
Recordings and slides of all five sessions are available here, making it easy to learn new sustainability tips and tricks or brush up on old skills! A few notable resources referenced in these sessions included the Sustainable Food Guide, the bamboo utensil sales, the Sustainable Energy Guide, the virtual campus sustainability tours, and a list of WashU donation/reuse programs.
If you are interested in offering a similar presentation for your group or class, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.