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 […]

Welcome, Heather Craig, New WUSM Sustainability Coordinator!

The Sustainability Team at Washington University continues to grow with the addition of its newest member, Heather Craig. Heather will be taking over the role of Sustainability Coordinator at the School of Medicine. Heather is located in the Operations & Facilities Management Department on the WUSM campus and will work closely with the Office of […]

Climate Solutions: St. Louis Sets New Building Energy Performance Standards

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 […]

Sustainable Commencement Celebrations

It does not need to be said that the past year has wreaked havoc on established programs–commencement is no exception. 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 […]

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 […]

Green Labs Spotlight: The Kaufman Lab

The lab of Dr. Charles Kaufman at the Washington University School of Medicine is a tight-knit group of researchers studying the mechanisms that control the onset of melanoma cancer and identifying cancerous cells as early as possible. They are also deeply committed to sustainability on campus and in their personal lives. As regular participants in […]

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 […]

Non-Fungible Tokens and Climate

Although cryptocurrency has been around for at least a decade, public discourse on digital currencies has been evolving as society finds new ways to implement and interact with it.  NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are increasingly becoming a popular investment vehicle (read: dalliance) in the crypto realm as artists and content creators are finding a new, […]

Go Green for the Red this Earth Month

When I heard Guhar Goyal talk about her first period in the beginning of the Go Green for the Red panel, I felt a wave of discomfort wash over me. Immediately after, I felt ridiculous. Why should I feel uncomfortable hearing someone talk about a natural process that I myself experience every month? This may […]

Magnolia Allee Replaces Invasive Monoculture

If you have been exploring the flowering trees coming to life across campus, delighting in the rich smells, colors and textures, you may have noticed one corridor that is conspicuously absent. The path between the DUC and Simon Hall has brightened many springs with the dense white clusters of Bradford pear blossoms, lining a favorite […]

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 […]

WashU Named a Gold Bicycle Friendly University

The League of American Bicyclists, the premier grassroots advocacy organization encouraging better bicycling and protecting the rights of people who bike, has honored the WashU Danforth campus with a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly University award in recognition of the institution’s achievements in promoting and enabling safe, accessible bicycling on campus. WashU was first designated a Bicycle […]

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

Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just the winter, the holiday season is upon us. It’s the time of cold temperatures, glowing lights, gift-giving, and family feasts. However, like the rest of 2020, this year’s holiday gatherings will look different. As public health officials ask us to keep our gatherings small, sticking only […]

Virtual Campus Sustainability Tour Includes Award-Winning East End Project

At a time when virtual experiences must often replace in-person ones, we are pleased to announce significant updates to the virtual Danforth Campus Sustainability Tour that was unveiled a couple years ago.  The interactive GIS map-based tour now features 24 stops, starting with the new grand entrance to the Danforth Campus, the award-winning East End […]

Midwest Climate Summit Kicks Off October 2

If the 12 states that comprise the Midwest were a country, they would be the fifth-largest greenhouse gas-emitting nation on the planet. On average, Midwest states lag behind the rest of the country on energy efficiency, de-carbonization of the electric sector, transportation electrification and green building. At the same time, the Midwest is home to […]

Tips for Safe and Effective Cleaning During COVID-19

Remaining safe during the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us to revisit all aspects of our lives, from work to travel to cleaning. To prevent the spread of the virus through surfaces, sanitation and disinfection procedures have become more meticulous and frequent, as we try our best to keep ourselves and our community safe. More intense […]

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 […]

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 […]

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? […]

Greening Your Home Office

If you are like us, you have probably carved out a space in your home for office or school work – the kitchen table, corner of the couch, or, if you are lucky, a home office. Here are some things you can think about as you strive to transition your Green Office practices at home! […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Park(ing) Day Transforms Parking Spaces into Miniature Park

On Friday, September 20th, three student groups from the Sam Fox School co-hosted an event on the Delmar Loop to celebrate Park(ing) Day. Park(ing) Day is an annual, international event where parking spaces are converted into temporary parklets, or miniature parks, in order to creatively make new forms of public space. The event started in […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Goodbye Graduates, Welcome Summer Students!

The Office of Sustainability is thankful and proud of all the graduating seniors who contributed to sustainability work and advocacy during their years at WashU, either through internships, student groups or grassroots activism. We are excited to see how careers will unfold for these talented individuals and to stay connected beyond their WashU time. Make […]

Get Involved this Summer with On-Campus Farm Burning Kumquat

The Burning Kumquat is the on-campus, student run, organic garden located right next door to the Alumni House on the South 40. During the school year, the farm functions as a student club involving members pitching in at workdays and selling produce at DUC markets. But in the summer, when most students are gone and […]

Tara Aubuchon, Vacancy Coordinator

Tara Aubuchon graduated from WashU in 2007 with a Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Studies and a minor in Architecture. After graduating from MIT with a master degree in city planning; she worked for Vertegy and for the Cambridge Housing Authority, before becoming the Vacancy Coordinator for the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis (CBN). […]

Jenny Fung, Software Engineer

Jenny Fung graduated from WashU in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Biology and International Area Studies with a focus in Sustainable Development. Today she works for Azavea as a Software Engineer, but has previously worked with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment as a Wetlands Coordinator and with WashU’s very own Office of Sustainability as an Alternative Transportation […]