Vanpooling: An Inspiring Commuter Story

Donna Krekel, Senior Research Administrator in the department of Otolaryngology, and Gary De Wet, Technical Support Specialist at the Office of WUSM Chief Information Officer, have been vanpooling to and from the WashU School of Medicine campus every day of the week for over 20 years. Their vanpool party, which has been running since 1999, […]

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 […]

St. Louis: the New Hub for Sustainable Laboratories

In late 2019, a group of 10 individuals from a variety of organizations and companies in the St. Louis region came together to form the board of the new St. Louis Chapter of the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL). St. Louis is a hub for scientific research and has some of the world’s best […]

A Successful Series on Sustainable Living

Since the onslaught of Covid-19, the Office of Sustainability is among many groups who have had to come-up with creative ways to engage with the WashU community. Transitioning to virtual content has presented some challenges, but it also came with new opportunities for increased accessibility and creative use of digital tools within our programming. To […]

Students Lead Charge for Off-Campus Composting

Increasing access to composting has been an ongoing effort at WashU. Responding to a popular student demand, composting came to the DUC in September 2019, at the same time as the pilot program for residential composting on the South 40 became a permanent service. While these programs offer a robust composting infrastructure on campus, a […]

Local Demand Response Program Cuts Carbon & Saves Money

How does Demand Response work? During the hottest days of summer, residents and businesses simultaneously use more energy than usual to cool their buildings, which puts stress on the electric grid. To ensure adequate electricity is available, specialize power plants called “peaker plants” are brought online when the grid approaches maximum capacity. Peaker plants are […]

Climate Solutions: New Commercial Solar Program

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 […]

Consider Public Health When Choosing your Commute

When COVID-19 became a worldwide pandemic in mid-March, putting a stop on long-distance travel and reducing dramatically vehicular traffic, we witnessed a direct and significant improvement of our air quality. Photos of unusual blue and clear skies over large metropolitan areas were one of a few things that cheered us up in these dark times. […]

WashU Together’s Plastic Free Journey

In celebration of Plastic Free July, staff and students from the Office of Sustainability came together to participate in the virtual Plastic Free Ecochallenge, inviting the broader WashU community to gather in the “WashU Together” team. Building up on the success of the Earth Day Ecochallenge, this virtual program ended up being the perfect opportunity […]

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 […]

Climate Solutions: St. Louis Encourages Climate and Energy Action with Policy Toolkit

In recent months, St. Louis has made headlines for the adoption of several climate-forward policies and initiatives. These include the City’s passage of a solar-ready ordinance and Building Energy Performance Standard, St. Louis County’s adoption of updated building energy codes, and the success of the first phase of the regional Grow Solar residential group-buy program […]

Rethinking the Way we Dress

Being stuck indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic has made many of us realize something tremendously important: Our closets are too big. The scheme of fast fashion, cheap and trendy clothing that are quick to produce and quick to become unstylish, has caused us to simultaneously buy and throw away at an increasingly quicker pace. In […]

What we’re Reading on Racial Justice and the Environment

The global mobilization for Black lives and racial justice that we are experiencing today brings us to take a close look at how our disciplines have been perpetuating white supremacy and racism. We are challenged to take every action possible to dismantle these mechanisms, and to ensure that the work we do deliberately and simultaneously […]

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 […]

70+ Homes Went Solar with Grow Solar STL Phase 1. Now to Phase 2!

WashU is partnering with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association to offer a second phase of Grow Solar St. Louis! Grow Solar is a group-buy program for residential solar that makes it easier for homeowners and small businesses to install solar and slash their carbon emissions. The program is designed to […]

STL Agencies Accepting Donations

Prior to students moving out of their St. Louis housing as the academic year came to an unusual close, we surveyed local non-profit agencies to see who was accepting donations and to learn more about what they needed. As a result of the health and economic burdens created by the COVID-19 pandemic, these agencies are […]

Periods are a Pain, but less so with Reusable Products

For about half the human population, menstruation is, or has been, a monthly part of life. But for many, adequate period management is still beyond reach. Unicef reports that 2.3 billion people around the world lack access to basic sanitation services, like clean running water and soap, which are essential to keep healthy while on […]

Climate Solutions: LED Lightbulb Replacement at Home

Upgrading your lights to LEDs is one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon emissions and reduce energy costs. More time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to develop a priority list of home energy efficiency and decarbonization projects that you can work through in the coming months and […]

The Green Labs Program Gains Momentum

With over 200 people in attendance, the Green Labs Program was officially kicked-off with a party earlier this month.  Most of our lab supply vendors, local lab sustainability groups, and departments presented their options for greening our lab spaces. Some vendors displayed high-efficiency lab equipment, others had samples of products made with recycled content, and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

New Exchange Platform Avoids Waste

With frequent office moves, remodeling, and other changes in the fast-paced university setting, high-quality furniture, equipment and supplies can become a burden rather than an asset. In an effort to address this opportunity and better utilize these items, Washington University has signed up for Rheaply, an exciting new software platform that facilitates the internal recirculation […]

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 […]