Supplier Diversity: A Principle of Sustainability 

Written by Communications Associate, Jarea Fang No member of our consumerist society is unfamiliar with the concept of a supply chain shortage. A quick Google search will reveal to some that the 2021-2022 global supply chain crisis is an actual Wikipedia title, while others only need to scroll on social media to remember the recent […]

St. Louis Food Share Cares for Community 

Written by Communications Associate, Jarea Fang It is a common trait among college students to love free food, which is probably why free food is present at almost all campus events. While hilarious, it’s also important to consider that a college student’s love of free food may be more complicated than we think, as food […]

Midwest Climate Collaborative Awarded Grant to Address Urban Heat Island Effect 

The Midwest Climate Collaborative (MCC) was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC) grant to explore solutions to mitigate the effects of heat islands through equitable expansion of the tree canopy. This project is a collaboration of four Midwestern communities: Indianapolis, Kansas City, Madison, and St. Louis.   Trees are sometimes referred […]

Launching Your Green Office

Whether you are launching the Green Office Program in your office for the first time or picking it up again after a bit of a hiatus, or even if you are getting a new office space ready for the first time, here are some suggestions for where to start. Whether it is on the individual […]

A Student’s Journey to Integrate Climate into Medical Curriculum 

Written by Communications Associate, Jarea Fang Climate change is a scary reality whether you’re on the leading edge of climate research or an individual experiencing the impacts of it. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared climate change to be the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. According to a 2021 […]

Activating for Environmental Justice

Pictured is Jasen Vest (far right) with some Sierra Club members during Metropolitan Congregation United’s 2022 Air Quality Bridge Rally . The rally was moved online to keep attendees safe in the sweltering heat. Vest was an Environmental Studies Impact intern during the summer of 2022. He shares his experience working at MCU below. While I did […]

SPARKs Fly as We Welcome Class of 2026

Though the mountain of move-in trash seemed insurmountable, WashU Green Ambassador (WUGA) co-director, Lauren Blaydon, rolled up her sleeves and got to work.   “There is something to miss about the sheer chaos of waste sorting at move-in,” said Blaydon, a junior studying biochemistry and psychology. “The mounds of cardboard, Styrofoam, and bubble wrap were discouraging […]

Move-out Collections Promote Circularity at WashU 

Written by Office of Sustainability Student Associate, Anna Haudrich, Class of 2023. This past month, hordes of WashU students excitedly gathered in the Share Our Stuff (SOS) warehouse for a sustainable shopping spree. While the temperatures were high, the affordable furniture and other items seemed to be selling just as hot.   As many students […]

Groundbreaking Commencement Showcases St. Louis & Sustainability

A brass band plays in front of Olin Library.

There was nothing but smiles on the morning of May 20, 2022: graduates posed for photos in front of the giant “2022” blocks, families clutched floral bouquets for their graduates, and a man in a bowler hat walked around campus on stilts. Yes, stilts! We’ll get to that in a moment.  Washington University in St. […]

WashU Contracts New CSA Vendor

Starting April 7th, WashU will launch a partnership with HOSCO as its new Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) provider.   HOSCO (Holistic Organic Sustainable Cooperatives), is a sustainable not-for-profit business incubator model for food production, entrepreneurship and apprenticeship training. Their mission is to significantly increase access of local foods while creating jobs and economic development by […]

Commitment to Staff at WUSM Dining

Written by Office of Sustainability Student Associate, Jarea Fang, Class of 2022  According to the Green Dining Alliance, which certifies and promotes St. Louis restaurants in their sustainability practices including three WashU dining outlets, taking care of your staff is one important hallmark of a green restaurant. This has never been more present today, as […]

Earth Month 2022!

Artwork by Elena Mozhvilo

See below for a list of events on and off campus for Earth Month this April! Additional WashU Programming Cahokia Mounds day trip | April 1st, 10am This event is sponsored by the Outing Club 31st Annual Pow Wow | April 16th, 12pm (Doors open at 10am), WashU Field House This event is sponsored by […]

Bike. Run. Drive: My Active WashU Commute

Written by Rachel Twedt, Multimedia Content Management Specialist, University Marketing & Communications There are many great reasons to actively commute to WashU by foot or bicycle – not having to search – or pay – for a parking spot; no sitting in traffic; saving money on fuel; a reduced carbon footprint – but the reason […]

Active Commuter Hub Re-opens!

Active Commuter Hub

The Active Commuter Hub is a campus amenity available to WashU community members. The Hub had been opened initially for only a few short months before being closed due to COVID. The Hub is located in the basement level of Schnuck Pavilion and features daily cubbies that are openly available and four shower rooms and […]

Med Students Making Moves in Sustainability

One of the key phrases that continuously circles through the Office of Sustainability is waste reduction. Students across WashU’s campuses are advocating for the university community to reduce waste wherever possible. The WashU School of Medicine’s (WUSM) Sustainability Group is especially concerned about waste reduction, considering their chosen field is notoriously one of the more wasteful industries in the nation.   […]

U.S. Declares 23 Native Species Extinct

By Julianne Aronson, Talia Ogliore, Angela Yokley The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced on Sept. 29 that 23 species endemic to the United States are now extinct. Among this declaration are eight freshwater mussels, eleven birds, one bat, two species of freshwater fishes, and one flowering plant.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s proposal for […]

WashU Student Develops Environmental Justice Tool for The Nature Conservancy

During the spring semester of her junior year, Julia Feller, an intern with the Office of Sustainability, worked for The Nature Conservancy in Missouri. There, she created the St. Louis EcoUrban Assessment, an interactive project that maps environmental racism in our region. Using ArcGIS technology, she compiled, processed, and analyzed environmental and demographic data, and made a […]

A Decade in Sustainability

Phil Valko is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Sustainability at WashU. He is a WashU alum, avid bicyclist, proud girl dad, and champion of sustainability efforts across WashU’s campuses and the St. Louis region. Phil just celebrated his 10 year anniversary working at WashU, so we thought we would take advantage of the opportunity to learn more […]

New Students Welcomed to WashU’s Sustainability Culture

Students pose in front of recycling compacter. They stand amidst trash that has yet to be sorted.

The class of 2025 is the largest and most diverse class in the history of the institution. A record 1,987 first-year students have joined our vibrant campus, and we look forward to the richness they will bring to our community. First-year students were met warmly by Washington University Student Associates (WUSA) and offered professional assistance by movers […]

Rethink Your Commute

The absence of a daily commute has been an unexpected perk of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as WashU staff and faculty are slowly transitioning back to campus offices, daily commutes are once again becoming a widespread reality. This transitional time is a perfect opportunity to upgrade your commuter habits into a more sustainable, social, and […]

In Celebration of the Plastic Free Ecochallenge Community

By Jarea Fang  Jarea Fang, Communication Associate at the Office of Sustainability, is one of the 90 WashU Plastic Free team members who participated in the 2021 Plastic Free Ecochallenge. She shares about planning the Ecochallenge, the community she built with her teammates, and most importantly, the long-term importance of an individual’s plastic free journey.   The July Plastic Free […]

Participate in Strategic Planning!

Beginning in early 2021, Washington University in St. Louis launched an 18-month strategic planning process to develop a roadmap that will guide the university’s direction over the next decade. The planning process has been organized with working groups exploring nine issues that cut across any one school or department, including a working group focused on […]

New Director Position opens for WashU School of Medicine

WashU School of Medicine has created a new position: Director of Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure. This position will be housed within the Operations and Facilities Maintenance Department. Now with two dedicated full-time staff, the visibility and impact of sustainability initiatives on the Medical School campus have expanded leaps and bounds, and highlights the importance that […]

The 2021 Plastic Free Ecochallenge Begins

By Jarea Fang Finally, it is that time of year: Plastic Free July, during which citizens around the globe raise awareness about plastic waste and advocate for ways to reduce single-use plastics in our daily lives. In celebration of July, our WashU Ecochallenge team is once again gathering its members to #breakfreefromplastic by participating in […]

Share our Stuff: WashU’s Impact on the Greater Community

This summer the Office of Sustainability celebrated the 12th anniversary of the move out donation program, which includes both Share Our Stuff (SOS) and Lighten Your Load (LYL) programs at WashU. Partners like Residential Life, The Office of Government and Community Relations, and Quadrangle Housing provide students with an outlet to engage in sustainable practices […]

Green Office Program Relaunches

After pausing during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Green Office Program has officially relaunched! During this truly unprecedented time, the pandemic has changed WashU’s office life completely. About 25% of green office participants responded to a survey designed to understand how offices shifted during the university’s pandemic operations, lessons they’ve learned, and what […]

Sustainability on Display at Historic Commencement

On the Friday evening before commencement, Danforth Campus faculty and staff received a communication that the university would no longer restrict the number of guests allowed each graduate. The recent lifting of local Covid-19 restrictions enabled graduates to invite all of their loved ones to witness this momentous occasion in person; a wonderful gift to […]

Join July’s Plastic Free Challenge!

The past 16 months have turned all of our routines on their heads, even impacting many of our sustainable habits. Whether you’ve fallen off the wagon or are getting on for the first time, the Plastic Free Ecochallenge is a great opportunity to get on track with sustainability goals. There are myriad ways to curb […]

Sustainable Commencement Celebrations

This story was updated in April 2022 to reflect WashU’s 161st Commencement. Since 2014, Washington University in St. Louis has pursued zero waste receptions throughout commencement celebrations. In years past, WashU has provided recyclable or compostable serviceware at receptions, set up waste collection stations, collected paper programs for recycling, and donated leftover food. During commencement, […]

Farewell, Class of 2021!

The end of another year is upon us, which means we must say farewell to another cohort of students in the Energy, Environment and Sustainability (EES) Internship program. The EES partners, which consist of Environmental Studies, Office of Sustainability, Tyson Conservation Corp and WashU Climate Change Program, are thankful and proud of all the graduating […]

Kamea Chayne, Author and Sustainability Champion

Kamea (Kathy) Chayne graduated from Washington University in 2015, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Environmental Studies and Marketing. With this wide array of interests and expertise, Chayne has led a fascinating career that shows the different facets and paths to activism in the digital age. Chayne uses a variety of platforms to explore how […]

Summer Sustainability Volunteering Opportunities

Are you thinking of staying in St. Louis this summer? Are you searching for ways to get involved in the local sustainability scene? Do you need to practice social interaction after a year of pandemic-induced isolation? Look no further! St. Louis has tons of wonderful organizations working to center equity and sustainability in their activism, […]

Discussing Plastics: Film Screening and Call for Citizen Science

Directed by WashU alumna Deia Schlosberg, The Story of Plastic (2019) covers the life cycle of plastic from production to pollution, from refinery to recycling, dismantling the myths of Big Plastic and exposing the human and environmental devastation along the way. Reducing single-use plastics is an important priority for the Office of Sustainability, which is […]

Join the WashU Ecochallenge!

Once again, we are participating in Ecochallenge’s annual Earth Month challenge. The Office of Sustainability invites all of the WashU community to join in on the fun! The Earth Day EcoChallenge is a 30-day environmental and social engagement program that began April 1st, 2021 and will remain open for registration and participation throughout the month […]

Sustainability Coordinator Position opens for WashU School of Medicine

In 2018, the WashU School of Medicine established a Sustainability Coordinator position within the Operations and Facilities Maintenance Department. With a dedicated full-time staff person, the visibility and impact of sustainability initiatives on the Medical School campus have expanded leaps and bounds, thanks to Alicia Hubert, the current Sustainability Coordinator. Alicia will be transitioning to […]

Welcome, Aamna Anwer, New Sustainability Coordinator

The Office of Sustainability is excited to announce that a new member has joined the team! Aamna Anwer has filled the position of Sustainability Coordinator to become one of the seven full-time staff in the office. As the Sustainability Coordinator, Aamna will work with partners across the university to embed sustainability into campus life and operations. Specifically, she […]

Greenwashing: Ensure Your Dollar Counts

If you take a tour of the average grocery store, chances are that you will see illustrations of trees and leaves, maybe vern waterfalls and birds lurking in branding of many food products.  A closer look reveals that they also have words like “natural,” “eco-friendly,” or “fresh” splashed across their label. Though you are not […]

Student-Curated Eco-Art Exhibition Opens Online

[Photo Credit: Sophie Ross, “Dumpster Dive”] Jarea Fang, Communication Associate at the Office of Sustainability, is one of the eleven BFA students who participated in Eco-Art Fall 2020 in the Sam Fox School. She shares about the concept of eco-art, what she learned in the class, and most importantly, the online exhibition that came out […]

Position Opens at the Office of Sustainability

The team of sustainability professionals at WashU is comprised of seven full-time employees. Phil Valko has been the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Sustainability since 2011 and Cassie Hage was promoted Assistant Director in 2019 but has been on the team since 2015. All joining in 2017, Michelle Patterson is the Office’s Business Manager and Internship […]

Guide to Mindful Holiday Celebrations

This article has been updated by Communications Associate Jarea Fang for recirculation in December 2022. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just the winter vacation, the holiday season is upon us. It is time for traveling, gift-giving, and big feasts. We hope that you will have a good time, no matter when or […]

The EES Internship Program Grows and Adapts

Despite the uncertainties and disruptions that came with the fall semester of 2020, the Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (EES) Internship Program is stronger than ever. All the program partners have continued offering various positions and adjusted some of the roles to accommodate the changes brought by the pandemic response. In total, this semester, the EES […]

A Successful Series on Sustainable Living

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 […]

Electric or Gas Leaf Blowers…Neither?

As we transition into autumn, leaves will soon begin to fall and scatter throughout lawns and streets. How will you manage your leaves this fall? Selecting the right equipment and strategies can minimize environmental impact.

Students Lead Charge for Off-Campus Composting

Increasing access to composting has been an ongoing effort at WashU. Responding to a popular student demand, composting came to the DUC in September 2019, at the same time as the pilot program for residential composting on the South 40 became a permanent service. While these programs offer a robust composting infrastructure on campus, a […]

Extended Warranties Prevent E-Waste

WashU Information Technology’s most recent change to Dell computer warranties marks an important step forward in managing the university’s electronic waste and changing campus culture to one of repair and reuse, instead of replacement. With the world producing around fifty million tons of e-waste a year, changes in warranty length can go a long way […]

Deia Schlosberg, Filmmaker

Director and producer of the 2019 documentary The Story of Plastic, Deia Schlosberg is an educator, activist, and journalist who graduated from WashU in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Earth & Planetary Sciences and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Visual Communications. Then, after a two-year off-road, 7800-mile trek in the […]

Join WashU Together in the People’s Ecochallenge this October

WashU’s Fall 2020 semester has finally commenced. As many faculty, staff, and students return to campus amidst a global pandemic, protocols have been put in place to ensure the safety and prosperity of our community. It goes without saying that this will be a semester unlike any other. That said, even amidst all these changes, […]

WashU Together’s Plastic Free Journey

In celebration of Plastic Free July, staff and students from the Office of Sustainability came together to participate in the virtual Plastic Free Ecochallenge, inviting the broader WashU community to gather in the “WashU Together” team. Building up on the success of the Earth Day Ecochallenge, this virtual program ended up being the perfect opportunity […]

Burning Kumquat Garden Thrives While Students Away

The mission of Burning Kumquat, a student-run organic garden at Washington University in St. Louis, is “sharing the joy of freshly picked vegetables with the world.” While the “world” — with the closure of campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic — has gotten smaller, the mission has not, thanks to faculty fellows and their families. When […]

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 […]