Reflection on Community Science and Environmental Justice

On Sunday, April 18th, Office of Sustainability staff along with students from the Energy, Environment and Sustainability Internship Program participated in a clean up initiative at O’Fallon Park, located in North St. Louis City, less than a mile from the Mississippi River. The volunteer project was one of several Environmental Justice Days of Action, organized by earthday365, a local […]

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, […]

New Resource Provides Options for Sustainable and Ethical Coffee

Coffee is a luxury good, yet the average person living in the United States drinks around two cups a day. In 2010, 5,600 paper cups were disposed of every day at WashU, most of which were coffee cups. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the carbon footprint of drinking […]

Midwest Climate Summit in Full Swing

The Origin of the Midwest Climate Summit On average, Midwest states lag behind the rest of the country on energy efficiency, decarbonization of the electric sector, transportation electrification, and green building. However, the Midwest is also home to states, cities, businesses, institutions, and organizations that are national climate leaders and can serve as models and […]

Climate Change Induced Extreme Weather: A Collection of the Latest Coverage

Wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, heat waves– all are making headlines as symptoms of a larger climate crisis. Although climate change used to be relegated to talks of future disaster, an increasing number of media outlets now recognize that the crisis is upon us, and that it is taking the shape of extreme weather that rocks communities […]

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 […]

Rethinking the Way we Dress

Being stuck indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic has made many of us realize something tremendously important: Our closets are too big. The scheme of fast fashion, cheap and trendy clothing that are quick to produce and quick to become unstylish, has caused us to simultaneously buy and throw away at an increasingly quicker pace. In […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

New Orientation “Engage STL” Incorporates Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability, in partnership with the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, has helped with the planning of Engage STL, one of the four “themes” in the newly restructured Bear Beginnings program. Engage STL, like the WUGA program, provides incoming first-years with an important introduction […]

A Story Map to Illustrate the Intersectionality of Food Access

Improving food access for the city’s most vulnerable residents is one of the top priorities for the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition (STLFPC), a formal multi-stakeholder entity housed within the Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE). As part of this mission, MCE released the St. Louis Food Access Story Map to illustrate the patterns of […]

Green Cup Challenges Students’ Energy Habits

March 5 marked the end of WashU’s 9th annual Green Cup, with LeeBeau residential college coming in first place, and Brookings and HIG Residential Colleges coming in second and third place, respectively. For almost five weeks, Green Cup challenged residents of the South 40 to reduce their energy use, while engaging in a broad range […]

Students Explore “Earth Democracy” with Vandana Shiva

On the night of February 13th, Graham Chapel was packed with students anticipating the words of speaker Dr. Vandana Shiva, world-renowned environmental activist focused on GMOs, intellectual property rights, bioethics, women’s rights, and agriculture worker conditions in India and around the world. The talk came as a part of the Trending Topics series and brought […]

UCollege: A Unique Opportunity for WashU Employees to Learn About Sustainability

Officially founded in 1931, University College has the mission to give adult students the opportunity to experience the excitement of attending and earning a degree or certificate from a world-class research institution. As the professional and continuing education division of Arts & Sciences, UCollege offers tuition rates that are surprisingly affordable and competitive for everyone, […]

Final Decision Reached by EPA on West Lake Landfill

After years of back-and-forth between community members, grassroots organizations and government agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency has come to a final decision on their path forward for the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site. Located in Bridgeton, Missouri, only a 20-minute drive from campus, the West Lake Landfill is a problem that stretches back to the […]

WashU Earns National Recognition for Sustainability Efforts

Washington University in St. Louis is being recognized nationally for its institution-wide sustainability efforts: the school recently earned a gold STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. The university also landed in […]

Alumni Series: Melinda Kramer [Part 3] – Grow the Movement

This is the final section of a three-part interview with Melinda on her journey through the world of sustainability. You can find the first part of this interview series here. In this section, we discuss the impact that we can all make in our daily lives […]

Melinda Kramer, Founder of of The Women’s Earth Alliance

Melinda Kramer graduated from WashU in 2003 with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Studies. In addition to working with various NGO’s, such as CARE International, Pacific Environment, and the Natural Capital Institute, Melinda is best known for her founding of The Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA), a nonprofit that seeks to foster sustainability […]

Displaced: An Art Installation for Climate Justice

Last Friday, nearly 40 members of the WashU community came together to talk about the connections between climate change, disasters, and displacement, to acknowledge the end of “Displaced: An Art Installation for Climate Justice.” Seniors Kristen Patino and Julia Widmann spearheaded the project, with the help of Fossil Free WashU and funding from Student Sustainability […]

Engaging in Courses for Environmental Topics

Above: Students in the Sustainability Exchange visit Earth Dance Farms to learn about urban farming for their project that addressed food access. Browsing through WebSTAC for the right courses can be tricky, but luckily there are a few resources available to find courses related to environmental topics for this summer and fall. Recently, initiatives have […]

A Record of Decision for Radioactive Waste Removal

Above: “Barrel Mountain” by Jason Hargrove was inspired by his visit to the Weldon Springs toxic waste containment site where uranium was processed and stored. On February 1, the EPA released a record of the decision announcing its new proposal to remove radioactive waste from the West Lake Landfill. This removal strategy proposes the excavation of […]

Environmental Justice Initiative Connects Students to Opportunities

On Thursday, February 15th, the rain didn’t stop students and community leaders in environmental justice from attending the Spring 2018 Environmental Justice Ice Cream Social – if anything it quickened their pace to the Brown School for an evening of presentations, ice cream, and internship-seeking. Nearly 80 students from across campus, undergraduates and graduates, gathered […]

Social Justice & the Environment Honors Barry Commoner, Combines Perspectives

2017 marks the 100th birthday of one of Washington University’s most notable alums: Barry Commoner. Commoner was a founder of modern ecology, and was influential in the creation of the EPA and development of foundational environmental legislation. Importantly, Commoner believed that one of the four rules of ecology, “everything is connected to everything else,” necessarily […]