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 […]

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 […]

Launching Your Green Office

Whether you are launching the Green Office Program in your office for the first time or picking it up again after a bit of a hiatus, or even if you are getting a new office space ready for the first time, here are some suggestions for where to start. Whether it is on the individual […]

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 […]

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 […]

SPARKs Fly as We Welcome Class of 2026

Though the mountain of move-in trash seemed insurmountable, WashU Green Ambassador (WUGA) co-director, Lauren Blaydon, rolled up her sleeves and got to work.   “There is something to miss about the sheer chaos of waste sorting at move-in,” said Blaydon, a junior studying biochemistry and psychology. “The mounds of cardboard, Styrofoam, and bubble wrap were discouraging […]

Recycling Water on the East End

Written by WashU alum, Jarea Fang, Class of 2022. As part of our nation suffers unprecedented drought, other parts are deluged with flood waters. If we learned anything from this unpredictable summer (or generation, really), it’s that water–both in deficit and in excess–can be deadly to all.    According to National Geographic, to irrigate means to […]

New Electric Vehicles Zip around Medical Campus

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly more common on the road. You can now even find them on the School of Medicine campus! In 2022, the School of Medicine has taken big steps in transitioning to a more fuel-efficient fleet. Two Ford E-transits, which are fully electric vehicles, were added to the Operations and Facilities […]

Learning and Applying Grassroots Organizing Skills

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 Spring 2022 Impact Interns with Missouri Sierra Club, Brooke Bergman, shares her experience as a Grassroots Organizing Intern below.  I […]

Groundbreaking Commencement Showcases St. Louis & Sustainability

A brass band plays in front of Olin Library.

There was nothing but smiles on the morning of May 20, 2022: graduates posed for photos in front of the giant “2022” blocks, families clutched floral bouquets for their graduates, and a man in a bowler hat walked around campus on stilts. Yes, stilts! We’ll get to that in a moment.  Washington University in St. […]

Invasive Honeysuckle: Not so Sweet

This article was written by Jarea Fang, a Communications & Marketing intern at OOS. Along with several other students and staff, they participated in the ESCC Internship’s Spring 2022 volunteering activity, a honeysuckle removal event at Tyson Research Center.   Bush honeysuckle, also known as Amur honeysuckle, is one of the most destructive invasive species in […]

WashUReuse Surplus Property Program

Does your office, lab, or dorm room have a stockpile of items that are still functional but you no longer want or need? If so, sounds like you could use WashUReuse. Washington University in St. Louis has signed up for an exciting software platform through Rheaply AxM that facilitates the internal recirculation of unneeded furniture, […]

Student Leadership Opportunities

For the upcoming summer and Fall semester, there are a number of opportunities for students to engage in sustainability leadership events and programming. We have compiled some of these opportunities below. Apply to the SPARK student leadership program SPARK: Sustainability Leadership Training Program is a program hosted by the Office of Sustainability. The second cohort will […]

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 […]

WashU Contracts New CSA Vendor

Starting April 7th, WashU will launch a partnership with HOSCO as its new Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) provider.   HOSCO (Holistic Organic Sustainable Cooperatives), is a sustainable not-for-profit business incubator model for food production, entrepreneurship and apprenticeship training. Their mission is to significantly increase access of local foods while creating jobs and economic development by […]

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 […]

Commitment to Staff at WUSM Dining

Written by Office of Sustainability Student Associate, Jarea Fang, Class of 2022  According to the Green Dining Alliance, which certifies and promotes St. Louis restaurants in their sustainability practices including three WashU dining outlets, taking care of your staff is one important hallmark of a green restaurant. This has never been more present today, as […]

Sustainable Swag: The Gift that Keeps Giving

Written by Office of Sustainability Student Associate, Jarea Fang, Class of 2022 Anyone who spends enough time at WashU knows about the importance of free merchandise. Convocation, Residential College Olympics, and college visits are only some of the instances in which free WashU “merch” is gifted to students and staff. Affectionately known as “swag,” these […]

Medical Campus Recognized as Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Business

Transportation, including our daily commutes, is one of the largest global emitters of greenhouse gases. It’s also the emitter that can feel most personal. Many value their morning commute as a rare moment of peace and quiet, others enjoy the ability to hop on a plane to visit relatives, and nothing beats the freedom of taking a spontaneous road trip.   Due […]

New Way to Explore Campus Sustainability

Written by Office of Sustainability Student Associate, Julia Feller, Class of 2022 This month, WashU is launching the Danforth Campus Sustainability Map, the one-stop shop for navigating all things sustainability at the university. The map is the end product of four different Office of Sustainability interns spanning nearly five years, providing each an opportunity to apply GIS course […]

The Return of CarShare

Written by Becca Gilberg, Sustainable Transportation Coordinator, Washington University Parking & Transportation Enterprise CarShare is back with hourly car rental on campus! Enroll now to enjoy self-service, hourly car rentals available 24/7 from dedicated spaces on and around campus (reservations required). How does it work? Reserve online or via the app, unlock the car with […]

Green Cup ResCollege Competition Returns

What is Green Cup?  Every spring since 2011, WashU’s South 40 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 Wednesday, February 16 […]

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 […]

Bike. Run. Drive: My Active WashU Commute

Written by Rachel Twedt, Multimedia Content Management Specialist, University Marketing & Communications There are many great reasons to actively commute to WashU by foot or bicycle – not having to search – or pay – for a parking spot; no sitting in traffic; saving money on fuel; a reduced carbon footprint – but the reason […]

DocuSign Aims to Impact Sustainability at WashU

Photo of forest taken by Steven Kamenar.

Written by Brian Lallish, Communications Specialist, Office of the Vice Chancellor & Chief Information Officer Does your department or group use written agreements that require ink-on-paper signatures with a printing, faxing, scanning, and emailing process? Washington University in St. Louis uses DocuSign to automate and manage documents that require signatures. DocuSign enables faculty, staff, and students at […]

Making the Best Organic Food Decisions

Written by Office of Sustainability student associate, Jarea Fang A new year often means a chance to start anew, and for many, new year resolutions involve staying healthy – whether it be through exercise, self-care routines, or by eating more nutrient-packed food. As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, it is especially important that we choose our […]

Green Labs Program: The 2022 International Freezer Challenge

Written by Alicia Hubert, WUSM Sustainability Lead and Green Labs Program Coordinator  Research labs rely on a wide range of appliances and electronics to complete their research and function on a daily basis. Chances are, your lab has at least one -20 freezer, -80 freezer, or even a -150C freezer, if not several of each. These […]

Winter Break Carpools

Written by Parking & Transportation’s Alternative Transportation Coordinator, Becca Gilberg. Driving home for winter break or just heading to the airport? Need a ride, interested in helping a student who doesn’t have a car or looking for someone to split the cost of gas? Check out WashU’s commuter platform – WashU Rides – to search Rideboard listings, post your own, and contact potential carpool matches.  Getting […]

WashU Adds Solar to Four East End Buildings

Written by Office of Sustainability Student Associate, Serena Earp, Class of 2024 In mid-September of this year, WashU completed the installation of solar arrays on four buildings on the East End of the Danforth Campus—another step in the right direction for WashU’s sustainability goal of decreasing reliance on fossil fuels. The panels were energized on […]

A Summer on the Farm

Written by Office of Sustainability Student Associate, Stephanie Berger, Class of 2022 While many of my classmates spent the summer working in offices or on Zoom, I spent every day of my summer outside, working as a farm apprentice at Zumwalt Acres (ZA) in Sheldon, IL. Zumwalt Acres’ mission is ambitious: cultivating the land through […]

Ensuring Food Security for Students

Written by Claire Conroy, MS, RDN, LD, Special Events Coordinator – Dining Services & Business Operations At the end of the semester, some students may find themselves running out of meal points.  There is no consequence to running out of meal points, and students have the option to add Bear Bucks to supplement their remaining […]

Microplastics, a Macro Problem

When the first fully-synthetic plastics were invented in the early 20th century, they were a technological miracle. Human manufacturing was no longer confined to nature, and soon plastic made its way into everyday products from food packaging to cosmetic care. Despite the advancement that humanity made with the help of these polymers, however, concerns over plastic waste were […]

Active Commuter Hub Re-opens!

Active Commuter Hub

The Active Commuter Hub is a campus amenity available to WashU community members. The Hub had been opened initially for only a few short months before being closed due to COVID. The Hub is located in the basement level of Schnuck Pavilion and features daily cubbies that are openly available and four shower rooms and […]

Med Students Making Moves in Sustainability

One of the key phrases that continuously circles through the Office of Sustainability is waste reduction. Students across WashU’s campuses are advocating for the university community to reduce waste wherever possible. The WashU School of Medicine’s (WUSM) Sustainability Group is especially concerned about waste reduction, considering their chosen field is notoriously one of the more wasteful industries in the nation.   […]

U.S. Declares 23 Native Species Extinct

By Julianne Aronson, Talia Ogliore, Angela Yokley The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced on Sept. 29 that 23 species endemic to the United States are now extinct. Among this declaration are eight freshwater mussels, eleven birds, one bat, two species of freshwater fishes, and one flowering plant.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s proposal for […]

WashU Student Develops Environmental Justice Tool for The Nature Conservancy

During the spring semester of her junior year, Julia Feller, an intern with the Office of Sustainability, worked for The Nature Conservancy in Missouri. There, she created the St. Louis EcoUrban Assessment, an interactive project that maps environmental racism in our region. Using ArcGIS technology, she compiled, processed, and analyzed environmental and demographic data, and made a […]

October is Active Transportation Month!

October is Active Transportation Month (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 month. If you are […]

A Decade in Sustainability

Phil Valko is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Sustainability at WashU. He is a WashU alum, avid bicyclist, proud girl dad, and champion of sustainability efforts across WashU’s campuses and the St. Louis region. Phil just celebrated his 10 year anniversary working at WashU, so we thought we would take advantage of the opportunity to learn more […]

New Students Welcomed to WashU’s Sustainability Culture

Students pose in front of recycling compacter. They stand amidst trash that has yet to be sorted.

The class of 2025 is the largest and most diverse class in the history of the institution. A record 1,987 first-year students have joined our vibrant campus, and we look forward to the richness they will bring to our community. First-year students were met warmly by Washington University Student Associates (WUSA) and offered professional assistance by movers […]

Demystifying Sprinkler Usage at WashU

By Jarea Fang  The grass is greener where you water it, and that is certainly true of WashU. Danforth Campus, which is known for its park-like landscape and plots of green, uses irrigation to water about two-thirds of its green space. Every year irrigation becomes a familiar sight to WashU eyes, and passersby have long learned to swerve in their […]

Rethink Your Commute

The absence of a daily commute has been an unexpected perk of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as WashU staff and faculty are slowly transitioning back to campus offices, daily commutes are once again becoming a widespread reality. This transitional time is a perfect opportunity to upgrade your commuter habits into a more sustainable, social, and […]

Shutting the Sash: The Easiest Green Labs Habit

By Jarea Fang  Labs account for over 1.6 million square feet of space across WashU’s campuses, and in some cases, they can use 5 to 10 times the amount of energy an office space does. Lab energy use comes from built-in equipment and systems, such as specialty HVAC units, humidification systems, and more; these systems, for the most part, […]

In Celebration of the Plastic Free Ecochallenge Community

By Jarea Fang  Jarea Fang, Communication Associate at the Office of Sustainability, is one of the 90 WashU Plastic Free team members who participated in the 2021 Plastic Free Ecochallenge. She shares about planning the Ecochallenge, the community she built with her teammates, and most importantly, the long-term importance of an individual’s plastic free journey.   The July Plastic Free […]

Participate in Strategic Planning!

Beginning in early 2021, Washington University in St. Louis launched an 18-month strategic planning process to develop a roadmap that will guide the university’s direction over the next decade. The planning process has been organized with working groups exploring nine issues that cut across any one school or department, including a working group focused on […]

New Director Position opens for WashU School of Medicine

WashU School of Medicine has created a new position: Director of Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure. This position will be housed within the Operations and Facilities Maintenance Department. Now with two dedicated full-time staff, the visibility and impact of sustainability initiatives on the Medical School campus have expanded leaps and bounds, and highlights the importance that […]

The 2021 Plastic Free Ecochallenge Begins

By Jarea Fang Finally, it is that time of year: Plastic Free July, during which citizens around the globe raise awareness about plastic waste and advocate for ways to reduce single-use plastics in our daily lives. In celebration of July, our WashU Ecochallenge team is once again gathering its members to #breakfreefromplastic by participating in […]

Share our Stuff: WashU’s Impact on the Greater Community

This summer the Office of Sustainability celebrated the 12th anniversary of the move out donation program, which includes both Share Our Stuff (SOS) and Lighten Your Load (LYL) programs at WashU. Partners like Residential Life, The Office of Government and Community Relations, and Quadrangle Housing provide students with an outlet to engage in sustainable practices […]