Thank You, #WashU20

This year’s Postcards of Appreciation released by Public Affairs to express WashU’s gratitude to the Class of 2020 include many students with whom we had the chance to work with! To Natia, Jacob, Scott, Tessa, and the MANY others from the Class of 2020 who contributed to sustainability efforts at WashU, in the St. Louis […]

What we’re Reading on Racial Justice and the Environment

The global mobilization for Black lives and racial justice that we are experiencing today brings us to take a close look at how our disciplines have been perpetuating white supremacy and racism. We are challenged to take every action possible to dismantle these mechanisms, and to ensure that the work we do deliberately and simultaneously […]

Join WashU Together in the Plastic-Free Ecochallenge!

We’ve been thinking a lot about plastic lately. First, our team of staff and summer associates all watched “The Story of Plastic”, an award-winning documentary directed by WashU alumna Deia Schlosberg (free streaming opportunity provided by Ecocyle until the end of June). The movie tells the story of a product that was introduced to us […]

Working Toward Food Security for Our Students

According to a 2018 study published by Bon Appetit Management Company – WashU’s main Dining provider – soaring tuition costs and inadequate financial aid have caused food insecurity among students to rise. The growing gap between students’ basic needs and what they can afford has forced many to sacrifice their basic needs in order to […]

70+ Homes Went Solar with Grow Solar STL Phase 1. Now to Phase 2!

WashU is partnering with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association to offer a second phase of Grow Solar St. Louis! Grow Solar is a group-buy program for residential solar that makes it easier for homeowners and small businesses to install solar and slash their carbon emissions. The program is designed to […]

Periods are a Pain, but less so with Reusable Products

For about half the human population, menstruation is, or has been, a monthly part of life. But for many, adequate period management is still beyond reach. Unicef reports that 2.3 billion people around the world lack access to basic sanitation services, like clean running water and soap, which are essential to keep healthy while on […]

Climate Solutions: St. Louis Leads Midwest with New Building Energy Performance Standard

Now more than ever, the climate crisis is on the minds of people all around the world. Due to the urgent need to implement effective solutions to this social and environmental crisis, we will be regularly featuring stories of climate solutions adopted at the university and at the local, state, and national levels to inspire […]

WashU Together Ranks High in Earth Day Ecochallenge

To make up for the cancellation of in-person on-campus events this spring, the WashU community came together virtually to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and take action for a better shared future. More than a hundred of us, across campuses and university affiliations, formed the WashU Together team in the online Earth Day […]

50 Years of Earth Day – Looking Back… And Forward

On the first Earth Day in 1970, 20 million people in the United States took a stand to demand a better way forward for our planet. Here we are 50 years later, ready to celebrate the achievements of the environmental movement, and give each other inspiration and motivation to keep fighting the fights of climate […]

COVID-19, Resiliency, Climate, and the Environment in the News

The dramatic and rapid changes in behaviors of individuals, organizations, and systems at all scales induced by the COVID-19 pandemic affect our environment, climate, and ecosystems. What does our reaction to the pandemic say about our ability to tackle climate change? How does social distancing impact greenhouse gas emissions? Has COVID-19 helped ease air pollution? […]

Climate Solutions: LED Lightbulb Replacement at Home

Upgrading your lights to LEDs is one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon emissions and reduce energy costs. More time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to develop a priority list of home energy efficiency and decarbonization projects that you can work through in the coming months and […]

City Nature Challenge: Biodiversity Documenting Spree

The 2020 City Nature Challenge invites cities around the world to document their local biodiversity, embracing the collaborative aspect of sharing nature observations with a digital community and celebrating the healing power of nature. This bioblitz-style event engages citizens in a biodiversity documenting spree from April 24-27. The aim of the international project is to […]

Alumni Series: Bryné Hadnott, Image Processing Engineer

Bryné Hadnott graduated from Washington University in 2013 with a BA in Earth and Planetary Sciences. Since then, she has had an incredibly diverse career, ranging from science reporting to research on Mars to, most recently, imaging solutions for a global intelligence company. At her current job, Hadnott works as an image processing engineer for […]

Join “WashU Together” in the Online Earth Day Ecochallenge

Note: If you join after April 1,you can still back log your actions up to 4 days! On the first Earth Day in 1970, 20 million people in the United States took a stand to demand a better way forward for our planet. Here we are fifty years later, and Earth Day is now recognized […]

10 Activities to Stay Happy & Healthy During Confinement

We are living through strange, stressful times. As messages echo on social media platforms and news channels provide information in a panicked scream, it is important to prioritize your health and the health of those around you. As many are cut off from their normal routines, jobs, and interactions, usual methods of self-care and wellness […]

Sustaining Our Community During the Crisis

COVID-19 has profoundly laid bare extreme vulnerabilities hidden in plain sight within our society. Some of those exist within the WashU community, many exist in the St. Louis region and, of course, similar vulnerabilities pose challenges globally. This pandemic has also shown society’s strength and grit. For every vulnerability is a measure of justice as […]

Housekeeper Naila Smajic’s Unique Approach to Recycling Education

Have you ever seen a contaminated recycling bin and felt a twinge in your heart? Perhaps given it a sad look, sighed, and moved on? It is a common reaction, but one that Naila Smajic transcended. A staff member on the Housekeeping team on the South 40, Smajic encounters a lot of misrouted waste, yet […]

Conserve Energy through Office Closure

As offices are shutting down and employees are transitioning to remote work, there are many ways to maximize energy-saving potential. Before you leave your work-space… Follow these best practices at the office for spaces that will be unoccupied for an extended period of time. Coordinate with your office mates to make sure that the last […]

The Office of Sustainability Adjusts to COVID-19

WashU is now one of the many institutions who has closed its campus doors to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The suite of radical measures that have been so rapidly adopted in the past week put priority on the health and safety or our community, which is the most important thing. The world’s […]

Alumni Series: Kady McFadden, Deputy Director of the Illinois Sierra Club

Graduating Washington University in 2011 with a BA in environmental studies and political science, Kady McFadden has worked in environmental advocacy with a variety of different groups, including the Sierra Club and, most recently, as a board member of the Illinois Environmental Council. Through network made up of grassroots movements and partnerships with local advocacy […]

This Spring, Active Transportation is the Way to Go

After a long and cold winter, what better feeling than offering your body some physical activity in fresh air? Join the Office of Sustainability, Parking & Transportation Services and friends for a season of exciting events and programs centered around active transportation. In support of WashU active commuters, the recently-opened Active Commuter Hub provides a […]

Green Cup Celebrates its 10 Years Anniversary

Every spring since 2011, WashU’s South 40 Residential Colleges compete to reduce energy use and adopt more sustainable lifestyles, taking away hundreds of metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and helping the university save money on electricity costs. Traditionally, the competition takes place over a 4-week period during which students do all they can […]

WashU High in International Sustainability Rankings

At the end of 2019, WashU was ranked 5th among the United States’ Most Sustainable Universities, according to the UI Green Metric World University Rankings. Washington University in St. Louis ranked 60th among participants from across the globe. UI GreenMetric World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings on sustainability. It is an initiative […]

Swap Your Conventional Light Bulbs for LEDs at No Charge!

Did you know that on average, lighting accounts for as much as 15% of a household’s energy consumption? However, this usage can be easily reduced if lights are only used when needed and bulbs are efficient. As described in the table below, there are significant differences between the three main types of light bulbs: LED, […]

Opportunities for Students at USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter

Since it was founded in 2001, the Missouri Gateway Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council works hard on creating and restoring buildings and communities that will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation. Consistently honored as one of the top USGBC chapters in the nation, the USGBC-Missouri Gateway […]

New Interactive Tool to Explore WashU Sustainability at Large

Have you noticed the appearance of a couple of large digital signs displaying sustainability-related content on the Danforth campus? Since last summer, both the Whispers Café in the Olin Library and the second floor of the Schnuck Pavilion display a “sustainability dashboard”, interactive screen that provides users with a fun and engaging experience. The sustainability […]

Climate Solutions: STL City and County Take Action to Reduce Emissions

Now more than ever, the climate crisis is on the minds of people all around the world. Due to the urgent need to implement effective solutions to this social and environmental crisis, we will be regularly featuring stories of climate solutions adopted at the university and at the local, state, and national levels to inspire […]

Kick Off the New Decade by Going Plastic-Free in Your Bathroom!

Plastic is everywhere; it is virtually unavoidable in most situations and it is easy to find all of your favorite products safely packaged in a plastic container if you so choose. However, all plastic ever manufactured since it was invented in 1907, is still on our planet. Whether it is buried in landfills, polluting our […]

WashU’s Student-Led Sustainability Efforts Recognized

This past November, eight WashU students representing the Congress of the South 40 (CS40) and the Luminescence Chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) participated in the Midwest Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (MACURH) Regional Leadership Conference, hosted at Saint Louis University. This year, WashU won the regional Commitment to Sustainability award, […]

Resource Digest: the Global Atlas of Environmental Justice

Increasingly transparent and diffuse, environmental injustice is pervasive locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. Communities of color, as well as lower-income communities, witness a higher rate of environmental injustice, which imposes disproportionate economic, environmental, and health burdens on these communities. Increased awareness of the universality of environmental injustices helps foster advocacy and educational initiatives to advance […]

Green Labs Program Launches at WashU

Accounting for over 1.6 million square feet of campus space and using between 2.5 and 5 times the amount of energy as office spaces, labs represent an important opportunity to reduce the university’s carbon emissions and expand our multi-faceted effort to address climate change. Building upon the success of the Green Office Program, WashU is […]

Land, Food, and Climate in One Report

In the wake of the recent UN Youth Summit, the UN Climate Action Summit, the Global Climate Strike, and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) happening right now in Madrid, Spain, it’s clear that climate change is on the minds of people all over the world. When it comes to climate action, discussions tend to […]

Striking for Our Future

Between September 20 and 27, an estimated 7.6 million people and 3,000+ businesses participated in the Global Climate Strike in 185 countries around the world. Inspired by Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future, the strikes took place on Friday September 21 and September 27. Some journalists suggest that it may have been the biggest international environmental protest […]

Our Team is Growing

This fall, the WashU team working on climate change and sustainability has gotten stronger! Cassie Hage was promoted to the new role of Assistant Director of the Office of Sustainability, and two new team members were onboarded to advance climate action at WashU, in the St. Louis region, and in the Midwest. Learn more about […]

Bike Repair Stations Upgraded on the Danforth Campus

Every day, hundreds if not thousands of bikes are ridden to and around WashU campuses. Nearly 30% of the WashU student population commute by bike, benefitting from the health, financial, and environmental benefits offered by this active and fun mode of transportation. Over the past few years, WashU – a Bike Friendly University at a […]

Celebrating 10 Years of Excellence in Caring for our Campus Trees

Since 2010, WashU has proudly carried the recognition of “Tree Campus USA” for its commitment to promote healthy trees and generate excitement for the campus canopy. Trees provide a number of invaluable services, including sequestering carbon from the air, reducing the urban heat island effect, providing habitat for native species and food for pollinators, and, […]

A Discussion on Local Food and Sustainable Farming Practices

Food Week 2019 brought to WashU a number of important conversations about the food we eat. Where does our food come from? What does local and sustainable really mean? What is the true cost of food? On October 22, a number of local farmers including Crystal Stevens (FLOURISH), Tyrean Lewis (Heru Urban Farming), Preston Walker […]

Volunteer at Chancellor Martin’s Inauguration

Five thousand people are expected to come together on October 3rd to celebrate the inauguration of the 15th Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis. We are excited to have worked closely with Chancellor Martin’s team to make this ceremony a green event, with the inclusion of 4 waste stations to help and educate the WashU […]

Opportunities for Students at USGBC – Missouri Gateway Chapter

Since it was founded in 2001, the Missouri Gateway Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council works hard on creating and restoring buildings and communities that will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation. Consistently honored as one of the top USGBC chapters in the nation, the USGBC-Missouri Gateway […]

WashU Sponsors Green the Church Summit in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis is pleased to support the 2019 Green the Church Summit by providing no-cost registration for a limited number of St. Louis community members, as well as university students, faculty, and staff. Green The Church (GTC) is a national initiative designed to tap into the power and purpose of the African […]

WashU Hires for Two Positions Focused on Climate Action

This past May, Michael Bloomberg announced the creation of the Midwestern Collegiate Climate Summit, the largest expected convening of Midwest universities focused on climate action. Washington University in St. Louis, which serves as the anchor university, will be hosting the Summit in the spring of 2020. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ generous gift will support regional cross-sector collaboration […]

WUSM Gym Floor Gets Repurposed!

A recent heavy rainstorm in St. Louis caused a storm drain backup and minor flooding in the gymnasium in the basement of Olin Residence Hall at the School of Medicine. The WUSM facilities team was able to solve the drainage problem to prevent flooding in future rain events, but the gym floor was not able […]

College Transit Challenge: Compete for WashU!

Public transit is a safe, cost-effective transportation option for people of all ages, and in the St. Louis region, it’s proving to be particularly viable for students. High school, college and university students accounted for nearly 2 million MetroLink and 1.6 million MetroBus passenger trips during the last school year! To underscore the advantages of […]

WashU Now Offers Free Bike Registration through Project 529

Recognized a Silver-level Bike Friendly University in 2017, WashU supports bicyclists and seeks to expand the use of bicycles among its community. One way WashU has recently reinforced its commitment to supporting bicycling is by rolling out a new bike registration program, through the 529 Garage, the industry’s first mobile-based bicycle registration system designed for […]

The Office of Sustainability Recruits for the Fall!

Our student associate program is one of the highest impact internship programs at WashU in terms of the caliber of work students produce; as well as professional development and leadership training provided to prepare students for high-impact lives and careers. Over 100 students have graduated from the Office of Sustainability’s internship program since its inception in […]

WashU Phasing in High Efficiency Ultra Low Temperature Freezers

Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers (ULTs) are a critical piece of equipment in many research labs and are designed to protect valuable samples. Capable of reaching temperatures as low as -85 degrees Celsius (or -121 degrees Fahrenheit), ULTs require a significant amount of electricity to operate — more than a typical American home — and are thereby […]

GDA-Certified Whittemore House Upgrades with a Vegetable Garden

In late 2017, the Whittemore House earned certification with the Green Dining Alliance, receiving a 5-star award for its “exemplary understanding and performance of sustainable practices.” In addition to recognizing restaurants for their sustainability efforts, the Green Dining Alliance (GDA) encourages and facilitates steady progress toward low-impact practices and efficient use of resources. Audits are conducted […]

Alumni Series: Joe Mitchoff, co-founder of Viridian Reclaimed Wood

Joe Mitchoff graduated from the WashU Olin Business School in 2000 with a Master of Business Administration. He is the co-founder and CEO of Viridian Reclaimed Wood, a company based in Portland, Oregon that has pioneered a method to up-cycle used wood into unique pieces of furniture. Viridian Reclaimed Wood began in 2004 as a […]

A Compost Journey From Research Kitchen to Farm

“To the chickens!” is now a common phrase used in the Clinical Translational Research Unit (CTRU) Metabolic Research Kitchen. This refers to the food scraps produced by the kitchen operations that are thrown into bright green 5-gallon buckets and saved for the chickens at Howie Farms, one of the vendors from the School of Medicine […]

Saving the Pangolins: Why Biodiversity Matters

On June 27th, the Energy, Environment, and Sustainability summer associates spent the afternoon at the Tyson Research Center, visiting its famous Living Learning Center and attending “Behind the Scenes of ‘Poached’”, a lecture by guest speaker Rachel Nuwer, author of Poached: Inside the Dark World of Wildlife Trafficking. The talk was part of a summer-long […]