How to Handle Hard-to-Recycle Materials

Below you will find a collection of resources to help you navigate places in St. Louis that take specific types of materials for reuse, repurposing, or in some cases, recycling. What to do with university-owned “stuff” Before you get too far along, please note that there are specific ways to manage materials that are generated […]

New Summer Internship Program

In 2024, the Office of Sustainability is piloting a new version of its popular summer internship program that will place students with campus partners to give them a deeper understanding of campus operations and real-world experience. Spend your summer in St. Louis doing a deep-dive in sustainable operations with one of the numerous Office of […]

Sustainability at WashU School of Medicine Mallinckrodt Institute for Radiology

It is no secret that healthcare has a massive impact on the environment. In fact, if global healthcare services were a country, they would amount to the fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. As the effects of climate change on public health and infrastructure are increasing, the need for specialized sustainability practices within the healthcare sector […]

Green Cup ResCollege Competition

What is Green Cup?  Every spring since 2011, WashU’s Residential Colleges compete to reduce energy use and adopt more sustainable lifestyles, preventing hundreds of metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and helping the university save money on electricity costs.  The Green Cup competition will kick off this year on Friday, February 2nd and conclude […]

Student Sustainability Spotlight: EV Shuttles

Written by Office of Sustainability student associate, Faith Phillips, Class of 2024. This is the Student Sustainability Spotlight, a series where we shine a light on important student-led initiatives on WashU’s campus and their positive, widespread impact on the university’s sustainable operations. There are a number of student-initiated and student-led projects that significantly contribute to […]

Newstead Garage Seeking Parksmart Bronze Rating 

The newly constructed Neuroscience Research Building has been an exciting new addition to the WashU School of Medicine campus, with many sustainable features that make it likely to receive a Gold LEED rating. The associated Newstead Garage has also been built with sustainability in mind and is seeking Bronze Parksmart certification in early 2024.   While […]

Introducing Reusable Boxes at EPNEC

In January 2024, WashU School of Medicine is launching an exciting new initiative to reduce catering waste at the Eric P. Newman Education Center (EPNEC). The EPNEC event team, WashU Sustainability, and Bon Appetit Management Company are partnering to offer reusable containers for boxed lunches at events held within EPNEC.  This exciting new program was […]

Live Near Your Work Brings Sustainability to Local Communities

You would be hard-pressed to find someone in the Washington University community who is unaware of the chancellor’s “in St. Louis, for St. Louis” vision. The Live Near Your Work (LNYW) program is a prime example of how the university walks that walk. The program was first established in 1997 as the Employer Assisted Housing […]

Celebrating Sustainability Champions at the Green Carpet Awards 

The annual Green Carpet Awards were hosted on November 7, 2023 at the Knight Center on the Danforth Campus. Sustainability champions from across the university gathered to celebrate significant projects and programs that are enhancing sustainability efforts and impact. The program hosted the following speakers, who recognized numerous sustainable achievements between 2022 to 2023.  Phil […]

Leave the Leaves

Written by Office of Sustainability student associate, Faith Phillips, Class of 2024. The foliage in autumn is one of the most exciting aspects of the season but after a few weeks, the leaves can become a nuisance in the lawn. Unknown to most people, however, many insects and invertebrates rely on fallen leaves for protection […]

Student Food Recovery Collaboration

Written by Office of Sustainability student associate, Faith Phillips, Class of 2024. According to Feeding America, almost 120 billion pounds of food go to waste annually which equates to over 40% of all food in America. At WashU, two groups on campus are doing their part to decrease food waste in St. Louis and instead […]

New Funding Opportunity for Sustainability Projects

Folks at WashU are full of good ideas. A lot of great sustainability-related ideas make their way to us and due to the Office of Sustainability being a small (but mighty!) team, capacity issues prevent us from implementing many of these projects.   After hearing a strong and positive response after this summer’s Wellness Challenge, Sustain, […]

“Share Our Stuff” Program comes Full Circle

Office of Sustainability student associate, Mia Phutrakul, Class of 2025, contributed to this story. Every year, as part of the Share Our Stuff program, items are collected from the South 40 and Village residential areas, as well as nearby off-campus neighborhoods surrounding the WashU area with the intent to repurpose goods from student move-out and […]

WashU CSA Update: Introducing Plain & Simple Box

Washington University takes its commitment to eating locally sourced and sustainable food seriously, as seen by collaborations with dining partners, the medical campus farmers market, and the WashU community supported agriculture (CSA) program. The WashU CSA program is in partnership with HOSCO (Holistic Organic Sustainable Cooperatives), a not-for-profit committed to food justice in St. Louis. […]

October is Active Transportation Month

October is the first of two Active Transportation Months (ATM) at Washington University hosted by Parking & Transportation, Office of Sustainability, and WUSM Operations & Facilities Management. The goal of ATM is to motivate staff, faculty and students to kick the car habit and try active, low-carbon means of transportation.  If you cannot imagine going […]

Students Receive Sustainable Welcome by SPARK Cohort

There is always a buzz of excitement before Fall Welcome with staff ensuring that everything on campus is just so before welcoming in a new group of students who will spend their most formative years here at WashU.  The Office of Sustainability (OOS) hosted a group of twenty-one upperclassmen (and a law student!) as part […]

WashU School of Medicine Sustainability Plan Midterm Report

In 2018, the WashU School of Medicine Operations and Facilities Management Department published its first Sustainable Operations Strategic Plan for 2018 – 2025. This document was built upon the Office of Sustainability’s institution wide plan that was published in 2015, but shines light on programs and plans that are specific to the School of Medicine.    Now […]

Commencement Celebration Maintains Sustainability Momentum 

“The energy in the air and happiness was palpable, stretching throughout the entirety of the Danforth Campus,” senior director of Commencement and Convocation, Michelle Gelven, reflected on WashU’s 162nd Commencement. The day was memorable for a number of exciting reasons. Esteemed guests addressed the graduating classes: Emmy Award-winning actor and St. Louis native, Sterling K. […]

Student Represents School of Medicine at CleanMed Conference 

Every year, healthcare leaders from over 1,000 hospitals across the country converge at the annual CleanMed conference, this year held in Pittsburgh, PA. CleanMed is hosted by Practice Greenhealth and Healthcare Without Harm, two organizations focused on fighting climate change within the healthcare sector.   Climate change is one of the biggest threats to global human […]

Summer Sustainability Interns

The Office of Sustainability kicked off the summer with a group of six amazing and talented WashU students who are devoting their time off of school to advancing institutional sustainability. Learn more about these incredible students below! Learn more about the broader Environment, Sustainability, and Climate Change internship program here.

New Employee Well-being Program

This summer, WashU’s Human Resources has partnered with the Office of Sustainability and Parking & Transportation Services on a new mind-body well-being program called Sustain. Sustain is a month-long online program available to all benefits-eligible WashU employees. Participants will receive tips and activities that will allow them to collect points. Sustain allows participants to personalize […]

Let’s Talk about Climate Anxiety

Written by Communications Associate, Jarea Fang It has been more than half a century since we first celebrated Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970. Since then, our society has grown steadily more aware of the climate crisis, with many taking action in increasingly diverse ways. From joining international collaboration efforts to amplifying local activism like […]

Sustainability Events at Alumni Weekend

Written by Office of Sustainability student associate, Kyla Fung, class of 2026 Over the past decade, sustainability practices at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) have evolved and expanded dramatically. Starting as a small set of initiatives, our sustainability goals have developed into a holistic strategy that includes active partnership from hundreds of individuals on […]

WashU Debuts Electric Shuttles

Washington University in St. Louis has acquired three electric shuttles as part of its Danforth Campus fleet. The shuttles will be on display at the Earth Day Festival in Forest Park April 22-23. Attendees can park in WashU’s East End garage and ride a university shuttle to the event on the Muny grounds. The electric […]

Sustainable Transportation Updates

Written by Parking & Transportation’s Sustainable Transportation Coordinator, Becca Gilberg New Danforth Shuttle Operations and Shuttle App WeDriveU, one of the country’s leading shuttle providers, is now managing the Danforth shuttle operations, resulting in enhanced reliability and efficiency. The current vehicles are temporary while Parking & Transportation works to launch the new fleet.   Along with […]

Celebrating Campus Composting

Written by student associate, Kyla Fung, Class of 2026, and Cassandra Hage, assistant director of sustainability From single-use utensils to banana peels, campus dining halls and cafés typically produce a high volume of waste. In order to reduce our carbon footprint and be a more responsible community member, WashU began separating compostable materials at certain […]

WashU Grounds Team Practices Sustainability

Written by Communications Associate, Jarea Fang Groundskeeping is a year-round task. From raking leaves in the fall, watering lawns in the summer, to plowing sidewalks during winter, WashU Grounds Services and service contractor, Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions, have their hands full. Spring is an especially beautiful time of year around campus. With daffodils, cherry blossoms, […]

Green Labs Pilot Certification a Success

Written by Alicia Hubert and Heather Craig, WUSM Sustainability Team  Over the past few months, labs across both the Medical Campus and the Danforth Campus have been testing out the new certification checklist for the Green Labs Program. Labs have been able to commit to the program since early 2020, but this is the first […]

April is Active Transportation Month

April is the first of two Active Transportation Months (ATM) at Washington University. The goal of ATM is to motivate staff, faculty and students to kick the car habit and try active, low-carbon means of transportation. If you cannot imagine going car-free, consider carpooling or budgeting time to try transit one or two days during the […]

Green Cup 2023 Results

Written by student associate, Samm Kaiser, Class of 2023 On February 23rd, WashU wrapped up the twelfth annual Green Cup competition and the competition was fierce! Every spring, all on-campus residential colleges compete in Green Cup, earning points for energy reduction, attending sustainability-themed events, completing campus EcoChallenge tasks, and more! This was the first year […]

What a Pandemic Taught Us about Commuting

Written by student associate, Kyla Fung, Class of 2026 For many, one of the most drastic changes brought upon day-to-day life by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the shift to working (or schooling!) from home. For busy students and workers, this shift has also been accompanied by the loss of their daily commute, which has […]

Green Spaces Promote Community Health 

Written by Communications Associate, Jarea Fang For the second year in a row, Forest Park is named the country’s #1 city park by USA TODAY. This comes as no surprise for residents of St. Louis, of course. Sitting on 1,300 acres and boasting 15 million annual visits, Forest Park is our pride and joy. As […]

Regional Climate Researchers and Advocates Converge at WashU for Midwest Climate Summit

Written by Midwest Climate Collaborative intern, Ella Hyman, Class of 2025 The Midwest Climate Summit brought together leaders tackling issues in climate change, allowing for cross-sector collaboration and sparking conversation about what work is being done. With over twenty-five workshops, nearly 300 in-person attendees (and even more on Zoom) learned about current work in agriculture, […]

From Confused WashU Student to Driven Human-Focused Conservationist

Written by guest contributor and WashU class of 2018 alum, María Dabrowski One day during my junior year at WashU, I found myself lying in bed and wondering (forthe 18th time that month) if maybe I should be pre-med after all. Despite barely passingchemistry, physics, and calculus, I convinced myself that the trajectory all my […]

Kind Box: A Kinder Way to Carry Out

Written by Communications Associate, Jarea Fang Take-out meals are the best of both worlds, a heavenly combination of restaurant food and the comfort of your own home. The demand for take-out has especially increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when physical distancing became the norm. Striking a balance between disease prevention and reducing […]

Real Life Experience through the Restorative Justice Movement Center

Environmental Studies’ Impact Internship program has been partnering with the Restorative Justice Movement Center to provide meaningful opportunities and skills for WashU students to help address real environmental issues in Missouri. One of the interns with Restorative Justice Movement Center, Eimear Cunningham, shares her experience as an Environmental Studies Impact Intern below.  I had the […]

Reducing Printing: an Important Sustainability Strategy

Written by student associate, Kyla Fung, Class of 2026 It’s October 2022, and the crisp fall breeze invokes a faint chill in the air. Unbeknownst to the workers of Resolute Products, however, a fire has engulfed the recycled kraft pulp mill in Menominee, Michigan. Unforeseen by those who would discover the catastrophe later, the fire […]

WashU Tune-Ups Support Local Youth Biking Program 

Written by Communications Associate, Jarea Fang If there is one thing Danforth Campus students and staff are familiar with, it’s the sight of bicycles and skateboards either parked or gliding on our sidewalks. Shuttles and buses are also quite a big thing around here, as well as the occasional electric scooter. Even those that drive […]

WUSM Compost Pilot

After many requests by students and staff, WashU’s School of Medicine is excited to announce a pilot post-consumer compost collection program! While back-of-house compost has been collected from the kitchens for many years, the pandemic paused efforts to expand the School of Medicine’s waste diversion programs. WUSM will be “pressing play” in February 2023 with […]

Grassroots Organizing with Missouri Sierra Club

Since Spring 2019, Environmental Studies’ Impact Internship program has been partnering with Missouri Sierra Club to provide meaningful opportunities and skills for WashU students to help address real environmental issues in Missouri. One of the Fall 2022 Impact Interns with Missouri Sierra Club, Clara Chavez-Ives, shares her experience as a Grassroots Organizing Intern below.  This […]

Canon Ink Cartridge Recycling at Campus FedEx

Yes, you can recycle that. One of the most frequent questions sent to is “How can I recycle my office’s ink cartridges?” Depending on the brand of cartridge, there are different instructions. Most involve printing a pre-paid postage label and sending them back to the manufacturer. However, thanks to a new program offering by […]

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 […]

WashU Receives AASHE STARS Gold Accreditation

Washington University in St. Louis has been awarded Gold status accreditation from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), renewing certification at the same level as its last certification in 2018, though on a more rigorous version of the reporting tool. STARS is a reporting framework developed by AASHE, the leading […]

Meet Two New StEP Businesses with a Sustainability Lens

Written by Office of Sustainability student associate, Melena Braggs, Class of 2025. As companies at many scales are discovering, a key factor for success hinges on building environmental and social considerations into the core mission of the company. Using social and environmental “sustainability” as a framework allows businesses to make decisions in a way that […]

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 […]

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 […]

Office of Sustainability Adopts DefaultVeg Policy

Written by Communications Associate, Jarea Fang Food, in more ways than one, brings people together. Whether by eating, preparing, or shopping together, food is an integral part of society’s daily functions.   Changing our food habits, even modestly, allows individuals to make significant impacts on the environment. According to Project Drawdown’s Table of Solutions, which outlines plausible […]

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 […]

October is Active Transportation Month

October is the first of two Active Transportation Months (ATM) at Washington University hosted by Parking & Transportation, Office of Sustainability, and WUSM Operations & Facilities Management. The goal of ATM is to motivate staff, faculty and students to kick the car habit and try active, low-carbon means of transportation.  If you cannot imagine going […]