Lights Out Pledge Protects Migrating Birds

Each year, billions of birds pass through the United States on their way to seasonal destinations. And each year, these birds are among the 600,000 birds that die after colliding with buildings. Cities like St. Louis pose a disproportionate risk to birds, as the geography, developmental spread and glow of night time lights converge to […]

Green Dining Celebrates Community

Written by Office of Sustainability Student Associate, Jarea Fang, Class of 2022  As the daffodils, cherry blossoms, and tulips start to bloom on the Danforth campus, the WashU community is once again reminded of our world’s beauty. WashU’s Earth Week has already passed, but campus is still buzzing with activity as students and staff alike […]

From Classroom to Community

ENST Impact Intern Applies Architecture Knowledge to Energy Burdens in St. Louis In the fall of 2021, Austin Tsailin served as a Renewable Energy & Affordable Housing Intern for Idleburg Consultants as part of Environmental Studies’ Impact Internship program. Austin reflects below on his experience as an impact intern, and how he applied knowledge from […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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? […]

Smart Food Strategies During the Pandemic

Observing the stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic requires individuals to do whatever they can to remain at home and limit travel to necessities: acquiring food and medical care, and going to work for “essential” workers and front-line healthcare staff. As a result, going to the grocery can become an exotic pleasure – the one […]

Thinking Critically About Our Paper Usage

Imagine that you are a student at Olin Library, your arms outstretched with an ID, ready to print out a reading for your class this afternoon. The papers come out nice and warm, from a printer that is hot to the touch. You staple the pages together, retreat to a booth in Whisper’s, and highlight […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Composting Launches in the DUC

With the start of classes this August, WashU Dining Services quietly rolled out a simple and straight-forward response to a long- requested service by dining customers – students, staff and faculty alike. On either side of the dish return window, the waste storing holes which previously offered recycling and landfill now have two holes each […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sustainability Programming Connects with High School Students

Office of Sustainability Expands Educational Offerings to College Prep Scholars Established in 2014, the WashU College Prep Program provides low-income first-generation students the opportunity to attend an immersive, on-campus learning experience every summer between their first-year and last-year of high school. In 2017, the Office of Sustainability started collaborating with College Prep to introduce the […]

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 […]

Resource Digest: STL City Recycles

As landfills continue to negatively affect both the environment and human health, it is increasingly important for us to take responsibility. Of the many things we can do to decrease our contributions to the landfill, the simplest is to recycle. When recycling, keep recyclable materials clean and dry. Do not put items that aren’t on […]

Going Beyond the Checklist – A Call for Green Monday Recipes

The Facilities Operations office at the School of Medicine has started a new tradition of celebrating Green Monday with an office lunch! The office members were inspired to participate in Green Monday because of their personal dedication to making sustainable choices and because it fits in with the culture created from being a certified Green Office. For the […]

The Not-So-Sweet Story of Honeysuckle in St. Louis

Honeysuckle evokes for many fond summer memories of plucking small, white flowers off the vine and guzzling their sweet nectar. However, for others, honeysuckle represents a terror to our native ecosystems. In this enlightening article, Hanna Peterman, senior majoring in Environmental Biology and Spanish and student coordinator of the Tyson Conservation Corps, explains how honeysuckle […]

WUSM Earth Day Festival A Success

Rain didn’t stop the 2019 WUSM Earth Day Festival from being a hit! On Thursday, April 18th, the WUSM community welcomed representatives from 20+ exhibitors from the St. Louis region. Because of the typical wet spring weather, the event was held inside the BJC Institute of Health lobby and 2nd floor link. Many new vendors […]

City Nature Challenge: Biodiversity Documenting Spree

The City Nature Challenge invites cities around the world to compete to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the 2019 Challenge! This bioblitz-style event engages citizens in a biodiversity documenting spree from April 26-29. The aim of the international project is to engage the public […]

Edible Insects: Food for Thought

On April 1, a mix of professors, St. Louis residents, and students joined the Office of Sustainability and student group Net Impact in their kickoff event for Earth Week. The event was aptly called “Can Edible Insects Sustain the World?” and brought in Sarah Schlafly, co-founder of Mighty Cricket (local cricket-product company) to talk about […]

Resource Digest: The Story of Stuff

In this digital age, it can be challenging to navigate the abundance of information that is available to us and to determine resources that are special and worth our time. We created Resource Digest to provide a diverse bank of resources that we here at the Office of Sustainability find enlightening and empowering. All of […]

The Need to Regulate Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)

Sydney Welter is a senior majoring in Environmental Earth Sciences. She enrolled last fall in the Environmental Studies community internship program allowing her to work directly with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) as a River Protection Intern. To mitigate the dramatic impacts that Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) have on human, animal and environmental health, MCE has been […]