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, […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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? […]

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 […]

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! […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]