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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Green Restaurants & Caterers COVID-19 Update

During these trying times, our valued green catering partners have had to close down their dine-in options and have lost the bulk of their business as events and in-person meetings are canceled or hosted remotely. They now rely more than ever on the catering, delivery and take-out opportunities we can send their way. We wish […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

A Compost Journey From Research Kitchen to Farm

“To the chickens!” is now a common phrase used in the Clinical Translational Research Unit (CTRU) Metabolic Research Kitchen. This refers to the food scraps produced by the kitchen operations that are thrown into bright green 5-gallon buckets and saved for the chickens at Howie Farms, one of the vendors from the School of Medicine […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

WashU Dining Services Continues Improvements in Sustainability and Efficiency

Since last fall, campus-wide efforts toward sustainability have taken hold at WashU. Thanks to successful partnerships with Bon Appétit, student groups, the Green Dining Alliance and the Office of Sustainability, WashU Dining Services has recently reached some notable milestones. Ibby’s Receives Top-Tier Sustainability Certification Last October, WashU Dining Services went through the process of certifying […]

A Garden to Unite the Restorative Justice Movement Center’s Community

Noah Offenkrantz is a junior majoring in Global Health and the Environment. Enrolling in the Environmental Studies community internship program last fall, he had the chance to work directly with the Restorative Justice Movement Center (RJMC) on the creation of a garden for the Center’s community. The RJMC is a non-profit organization in North St. Louis […]

Happy Sustainable Holidays!

  [Photo Credit: residentialwastesystems.com] It’s the holiday season – the time of pretty lights, gift-giving and family feasts. While we truly love it, we also know that it’s the time when we tend to consume excessively, creating waste and using greater quantities of energy. Remember, the greenest thing you can do is consume less! From […]

Students Advocate for a Straw-Free Campus

Every day, between 170 million and 390 million straws are used and thrown out in the United States (according to a recent New York Times fact check). Overall, over 8 million metric tons of plastic makes its way into our oceans every year, killing marine life that ingests it, introducing dangerous toxins into the food chain. Student […]

Happy Sustainable Holidays!

[Photo Credit: residentialwastesystems.com] It’s the holiday season – the time of pretty lights, gift-giving and family feasts. While we truly love it, we also know that it’s the time when we tend to consume excessively, creating waste and using greater quantities of energy. Remember, the greenest thing you can do is consume less! From gift […]

WU Beekeepers – A Student Group Revitalized

Back after a period of dormancy, the WU Beekeepers are abuzz with activity once again. Sophomore Kane Koubsky re-started the club last spring, and now leads alongside sophomore treasurer Lucas Dionisopoulos. Koubksy, the club president, started beekeeping the summer before college and came to WashU with the goal of revitalizing the club and sharing his […]

Bon Appetit Sustainability Programs Make it to Campus

This September, WashU Dining Services challenged its chefs to buy and cook even more local and seasonal foods than usual. Two remarkable sustainable food programs initiated by WashU’s main dining provider Bon Appetit Management Company, made their way to campus. The One Ton Tomato Challenge In the United States, more than 20% of the fruits […]

Marc Zornes, Founder of Winnow Solutions

Marc Zornes graduated from WashU in 2004 with a degree in Entrepreneurship and Computer Science. In addition to working with the U.S. Green Building Council and McKinsey & Company, Marc is best known for his founding of Winnow Solutions. Winnow aims to help businesses like hotels, restaurants, and cruise lines reduce their food waste […]

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 […]

WUSM Bon Appétit Cafés Begin Phasing Out Plastic Straws

“The Last Straw” for Bon Appétit The School of Medicine campus has two major dining facilities – Shell Café in McDonnell Medical Sciences Building and Farmstead Café in McDonnell Pediatric Research Building. Both of these cafés are operated by Bon Appétit Management Company, a full food-service management company based in Palo Alto, CA. Sustainability is […]

Summer Garden Membership at the On-Campus 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 […]

Spring has Arrived at WashU’s CSA and Farm Stand

Spring has finally arrived in St. Louis and Dave Smith of Local Farmer CSA is excited for the new produce and beautiful weather the season brings. It’s a great time for WashU community members to check out the CSA and Farmer’s Market offerings. Each season brings new produce in the weekly farm boxes and at […]

New Blended Burgers at WashU Help Cut Down on Meat

Producing a quarter pound hamburger requires 450 gallons of water and emits 6.5 pounds of greenhouse gases, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting. With the introduction of the blended burger, Dining Services is helping cut those numbers in half. A relatively recent addition to the grill stations at the Danforth University Center (DUC) and […]

Tapping for Sugar Maple Sap on Campus

As you walk up Wallace Drive from the South 40, there is a peculiar sight tucked into the landscape on your right. Tubes coming out of trees and emptying into large white buckets are almost reminiscent of an alien harvesting scene if you don’t know that they are for tapping the maple trees for sap […]

Tim Biello, Organic Farmer

Tim Biello graduated from WashU in 2002, where he studied anthropology and biology. He now runs Featherbed Lane Farm located in the Eastern part of New York State, just north of the capital, Albany. Born in St. Louis, Tim taught environmental education and did trail work before setting his sights on owning and operating his own farm […]

The Whittemore House Earns 5 Stars

Whittemore House, Washington University’s Faculty Conference Center,  offers an exceptional menu for breakfast, lunch and special events to their 1,045 members and their guests. They have recently earned additional distinction as a certified-sustainable dining establishment through the Green Dining Alliance (GDA), earning 5-star recognition of its sustainable operations. A program of the non-profit organization St. […]

Crop Boxes CSA & Mini Market Officially on Danforth

It’s official! Local Farmer CSA, in partnership with the Office of Sustainability and the Department of Human Resources, now offers CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) Crop Boxes on Danforth campus! Farmer Dave Smith will set up his farm van and a mini market every other Wednesday from 4:00 to 6:00 PM in the Music Library parking […]

Applications Available for Sustainability Internships

Applications for open internship positions with the Office of Sustainability and affiliated partners are now posted. The deadline to apply is November 12. In-person application reviews are available through November 10. Food Associate – 1 positions AVAILABLE The Office of Sustainability seeks to foster a food system that advances environmental and public health while supporting […]

The CSA Crop Boxes Expand to Danforth Campus!

Background of the WashU CSA program For several years, Washington University’s Office of Sustainability and Human Resources Department have partnered with Local Farmer CSA to offer staff, faculty, and students the opportunity to receive a weekly or bi-weekly Crop Box filled with locally grown produce, fruit, meat, cheeses, yogurt and/or other artisan goods. Signing up […]

The Bottomless Coffee Mug Program Saves Cups!

This Monday, the Bottomless Mug program has returned to all dining facilities serving coffee on campus. Thanks to an ongoing partnership between Bon Appetit and WashU Dining Services, coffee drinkers can save money and prevent hundreds of disposable coffee cups from going to the landfill by buying a “Bottomless Mug”, providing unlimited access to fresh […]

Connecting Students and Faculty to Local Farmers

Last spring, Washington University’s Office of Sustainability and Human Resources Department partnered to offer a second pick up location for a community supported agriculture (CSA) program provided by Local Farmer CSA. The pick up at the West Campus parking garage is an option that builds on a very successful model that has been operational at the […]

Apply to be Washington University Green Ambassador

The WashU Green Ambassador (WUGA) Program is a student-managed, peer-education program supported by the Office of Sustainability that orients new students to the sustainability initiatives on WashU’s campus. WUGAs play a critical role in training first year student to adopt behaviors that align with WashU’s culture of sustainability, behaviors that they will carry with them during […]

Green Cleaning Guide for Offices and Home

Green Cleaners Finding environmentally-friendly cleaning products can be incredibly confusing from the glut of “green” advertising, especially around products often used in the home. However, third party certifications usually indicate that a product’s self-claimed sustainable promotions are trustworthy. Green Seal, Safer Choice, EcoLogo, and Design for the Environment are some of the most well-known certifications […]

Green Cup 2017 Comes to a Close

WashU’s annual energy reduction and sustainability competition has come to a close! Green Cup is a four-week competition to reduce energy use among South 40 Residential Colleges, North Side housing, fraternities, and the School of Medicine’s Olin Dorm and Farrell Learning and Teaching Center (in four separate leagues). Throughout February, leagues competed to reduce their energy […]

Spotlight: Green Dining Alliance

Celebrate the start of the weekend and warmer temperatures by visiting one of St. Louis’s many local, sustainable restaurants! The Green Dining Alliance (GDA) is a program of the non-profit organization St. Louis Earth Day. The GDA helps area restaurants assess and determine a path for meeting sustainability needs and goals. All GDA restaurants participate in a […]

Apply to be WUGA Team Leader

Are you interested to enhance your student leadership skills while fostering a sustainability culture on campus? Apply to be a team leader for the 2017-18 Washington University Green Ambassador (WUGA) program! The Office of Sustainability launched the Green Ambassador program in 2013, and it transitioned to being a student-managed program in 2015. Under the guidance of […]

Welcome New Office Associates

The Office of Sustainability is pleased to welcome ten new part-time associates this semester. From left to right: Sam Emery, Jenna Schnitzler, Alexis Vidaurreta, Ankita Bhalla, Camille Rieber, Sofia Joison, Annalise Wagner, Sean Fallon, Channing Hunter, and Ashwin Sundaresan. This dynamic group of students will work alongside 12 returning associates and 3.5 staff members to […]

Get Caught Green Handed!

WashU’s annual energy reduction and sustainability competition is back! Green Cup is a four-week competition to reduce energy use among South 40 Residential Colleges, North Side housing, fraternities, and the School of Medicine’s Olin Dorm and Farrell Learning and Teaching Center (in four separate leagues). Students compete to reduce their energy usage below a baseline. […]

Become a Recycling Genius

In the fall of 2016, the Office of Sustainability introduced a new volunteer program called Recycling Geniuses in response to recurring contamination issues across campus. A significant number of recycling and compost loads were being rejected from their respective collection facilities due to cross-contamination with other waste and improper sorting. The WashU community is committed to lowering contamination rates, […]

First Annual Green Carpet Awards

On January 27, the first annual Washington University Green Carpet Awards recognized the 55 university offices that certified or re-certified with the Green Office Program in 2016. To certify, an office must first fulfill requirements that promote a sustainable workplace and environment, ranging from sourcing recycled-content paper to eliminating individual space heaters. Since the program […]

Help Reduce Food Waste and Hunger

The holiday season is in full swing! As you catch up with family and friends over meals, we encourage mindfulness about food waste. From uneaten leftovers to blemished produce, far too much edible food goes to waste; in fact, in the United States, food waste is estimated at between 25-40 percent of the food supply. Food waste is a […]

Is Your Coffee Sustainable?

For many of us, coffee is essential. A cup in the morning is a common ritual, and without it, the morning wouldn’t be complete. For something so central to our daily routines, the selection of a coffee machine can be especially important. While some look for economy, others prioritize convenience. However, daily routines are also a perfect […]

Wrapper Recycling Program Expanded

Alpha Phi Omega (APO) is WashU’s community service fraternity. Last spring, members started a program to collect granola and protein bar wrappers. The project keeps foil-lined wrappers out of the landfill. Most recycling companies, including WashU’s provider, do not accept foil-lined wrappers because they are too costly to sort. By having participants pre-sort the waste, TerraCycle […]

Winter CSA and Farmers Markets

WashU students, staff, and faculty can participate in a year-round Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program partnership with Local Farmer CSA. Program members receive a weekly or bi-weekly Crop Box filled with locally grown produce, eggs, and/or other artisan goods. Options start at $20 per box for students and $29.99 per box for employees, with pick-up sites at […]