Recycling Behind the Scenes at WUSM

The Sustainability Champions are a group of Washington University School of Medicine custodians dedicated to sustainability. They ensure that your recycling makes the journey from your desk or lab to the dumpster for transport. Our custodians are committed to keeping our campus clean and safe. We would like to give a special thank you to […]

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, […]

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 […]

Custodial Reduces Plastic Throughout WUSM Operations

Reducing plastic use is a critical step to decreasing both waste and greenhouse gas emissions. The custodial department at the WashU School of Medicine has taken this idea and ran with it by reducing their dependency on plastic throughout their daily operations. What started as an initiative to find plastic liners that actually fit the […]

Medical Campus Expands Native and Adaptive Landscapes

As part of an effort to upgrade its campus entrances, the WashU Medical School conducted a major landscape transformation within the two large triangle areas associated with the new “Washington University Medical Campus” signage near the 64-40/Kingshighway interchange. Since its completion in the fall of 2019, the project, which consisted of the replacement of turf […]

Green Carpet Awards Recognize Sustainability Leaders

On February 5th, liaisons representing offices from across WashU campuses gathered to celebrate participation in the Green Office Program and recognized sustainability leaders during the 4th annual Green Carpet Awards. The Green Office Program encourages the adoption of policies and practices that reduce environmental impacts of office operations. This highly anticipated event recognized offices for […]

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 […]

WUSM Gym Floor Gets Repurposed!

A recent heavy rainstorm in St. Louis caused a storm drain backup and minor flooding in the gymnasium in the basement of Olin Residence Hall at the School of Medicine. The WUSM facilities team was able to solve the drainage problem to prevent flooding in future rain events, but the gym floor was not able […]

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 […]

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 […]

WUSM Earth Day Festival A Success

Rain didn’t stop the 2019 WUSM Earth Day Festival from being a hit! On Thursday, April 18th, the WUSM community welcomed representatives from 20+ exhibitors from the St. Louis region. Because of the typical wet spring weather, the event was held inside the BJC Institute of Health lobby and 2nd floor link. Many new vendors […]

Sustainability Action Team (SAT) Relaunches at WUSM

The first Sustainability Action Team (SAT) meeting of 2019 took place on Wednesday, March 27 on the School of Medicine campus. The group has been on pause over the last year while administrators conducted a sustainability survey and worked to better structure all of the sustainability programs on the medical campus. The first SAT meeting […]

Shoe Donation Drive Returns at WUSM

For the 4th year in a row, the WUSM Operations and Facilities Management Department is accepting new and gently used shoes for donation from March 11th through May 31st. Since 2015, the WUSM community has collected over 4 tons of shoes for donation to the ShoeCrew Water Projects, a local non-profit that provides clean water […]

De-icing Solutions at WUSM

Last fall, WashU and the St. Louis Higher Education Sustainability Consortium (HESC) hosted a Brining Workshop to bring together authorities from the St. Louis region to discuss the use of road salt during snow and ice events. The workshop featured speakers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) and a Biologist from SLU to […]

New Opportunity for Students to Engage with Campus Solar Installations

July 22, 2013 - Kevin Denzl works on solar panels on the roof of Brauer Hall. Photos by James Byard

Low costs, consumer demands, and organizational commitments to mitigate climate change have resulted in rapid growth of the renewable energy industry that is transforming how the US and the world generates energy. In response to growing student interest in renewable energy careers, the Office of Sustainability is launching a new program that will provide students […]

Gearing Up to Double WUSM Green Office participation in 2019

The Green Office program is a university-wide initiative that has had great success over the past several years with over 100 certified office spaces across all campuses. The medical school had 15 certified offices in 2017 and is planning to double that number by the end of 2019. With the recent Green Office Luncheons (pictured […]

WUSM Sustainability Student Group Tackles Waste Reduction

Throughout each semester, the medical students at WashU School of Medicine attend daily lunch lectures. The Operations and Facilities Management Department (OFMD) recently supported the Student Sustainability Group in their effort to reduce the waste footprint for these catered events for the first 2 weeks, when lecture attendance is highest. The student group’s leader, Alex […]

St. Louis Transit Moving Forward

The future is bright for transit in St. Louis! Three projects, one completed and two upcoming, aim to enhance Metro’s current offerings and bring exciting new transit options to the region. Cortex Metrolink Station Grand Opening About a month ago, the long-awaited Metrolink station opened in the Cortex Innovation Community, just east of WashU’s medical […]

Free Bike Tune-Up Series Returns on the Danforth and Medical Campuses

Free Bike Tune-Ups

This fall, the Office of Sustainability, in partnership with Parking and Transportation Services (Danforth) and the Operations & Facilities Management Department (WUSM), is bringing back the free bike tune-up series. After construction in the East End and parking changes, alternative transportation has become increasingly significant at WashU, leading many car commuters to drop the car […]

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 […]

Expanded Incentives Make Living Near Work Even More Attractive

  Live Near Your Work, WashU’s employee housing assistance program, is growing! The program, established 10 years ago, provides forgivable loans to WashU and BJC Healthcare employees who buy homes in certain neighborhoods near campus. Recently, the Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corporation announced the addition of new eligible neighborhoods, including Visitation Park, Academy, Fountain […]

Changes in the Recycling Industry Raise the Bar for Waste Sorting on Campus

[Pile of plastics in China – Photo Credit: Fred Dufour/Agence France-Presse] In 2010, WashU made the transition to single-stream recycling on all campuses, making it easy and convenient for the university community to recycle. At the time, this change helped the university to nearly double consumer waste diversion. Today, about 42% of the waste generated by […]

Summer Blooms in Hope Plaza

If you haven’t walked through Hope Plaza recently, now is the time! The native garden beds are currently sporting their summer best with a variety of bold and subtle floral displays. The WUSM landscape design and maintenance crew focuses on planting native plants where possible because of the reduced irrigation needs and the benefits to […]

Summer Commuter Resource Fair Series Returns, on the Danforth and Medical Campuses

This summer, the Office of Sustainability, in partnership with Parking and Transportation Services (Danforth) and the Operations & Facilities Management Department (WUSM), is bringing back the Summer Commuter Resource Fair series, featuring services and service providers that support employees and graduate students in their transportation choices. Alternative transportation – which includes biking, walking, public transit, […]

A Program to Enhance Transportation Safety

“Walk Smart. Bike Smart. Drive Smart.” – The Pedestrian and Vehicular Safety and Education Program has the straightforward goal of making the WashU School of Medicine campus a safe place for all types of commuters. The WUSM community had the chance to see this program represented at the recent Earth Day festival in Hope Plaza. […]

A New Position for Sustainability at the School of Medicine

A couple of weeks ago, the WashU School of Medicine welcomed Alicia Hubert, who will be the first Sustainability Coordinator for the medical campus. In her new role, Alicia will be in the Operations & Facilities Management Department on the WUSM campus and she will also work closely with the Office of Sustainability to coordinate […]

Volunteer to Green End-of-Year Iconic Events!

Green Events Help educate the WashU community about how to correctly sort waste while ensuring that iconic events are truly zero waste. ThurtenE Carnival April 13-15 // Parking lot in front of Simon Hall and Francis Field Manage waste stations and help attendees correctly sort their waste into landfill, recycling and compost! Volunteers are eligible […]

Students to Compete at the Eighth Annual WashU Green Cup

The Office of Sustainability, in partnership with Residential Life and Facilities, is excited to announce the launch of WashU’s eighth annual Green Cup competition! Among Washington University’s South 40 Residential Colleges and School of Medicine residents, leagues will compete to reduce their energy usage. A Competition to Save Energy On the Danforth campus, electrical energy use from […]

Stories of Campus Sustainability Month

October was Campus Sustainability Month at WashU and in many other universities and colleges across the US. During October, the WashU community was offered a wide variety of events, ranging from festivals to conferences, movie screenings, tours, panel discussions, and more. With sustainability as a driver, the topics covered by these events were also very […]

Active Transportation Month Returns!

Join the Office of Sustainability, Parking and Transportation Services and friends for a month of exciting events centered around Active Transportation! Transportation makes up the largest percentage of the average American’s carbon footprint, making active transportation programming a crucial component of Campus Sustainability Month. But going car-free, by biking, walking, and using public transit, is […]

Solar Powered Waste & Recycling Bins Coming to MCC Building Exterior

Washington University School of Medicine is expanding the use of solar-powered waste and recycling bins on the medical campus. In May of 2017 two sets of the Bigbelly & Smartbelly waste stations will be installed around the exterior of the new Mid-Campus Center. The Bigbelly Waste station is a solar compacting trash receptacle that is […]

Active Transportation = Healthy Lifestyle

  Why Shift Your Commute? Being an active commuter can benefit your life in a number of ways. By incorporating active transportation into your commute, you can save money, reduce stress, and build a healthier lifestyle! Expenses associated with driving to work every day include gas, maintenance, and depreciation of the vehicle, all of which […]

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 […]

Bin Be Gone Campaign

Washington University’s Danforth and School of Medicine campuses have been expanding the concept of ‘No Waste Bins in Offices’ as part of our sustainability commitments. Also known as ‘Bin Be Gone’ is some cities; this fast-growing concept is being implemented by businesses, city governments, and universities in buildings that house predominately office space. Why do it? […]

Staff Profile: Melanie Strowmatt

Melanie Strowmatt has been appointed the communication and program coordinator at Washington University’s School of Medicine in the Operations and Facilities Management Department (OFMD). Melanie has been with the University for nine years, starting in the Department of Medicine. In 2010, she transferred to Facilities, recently serving as the lead for the Facilities service center. She has […]

Campus Tree Planting Planned for Late Fall

In an effort to increase the canopy on Washington University’s School of Medicine campus, a fall tree and shrub planting project is planned for early December. Various locations on campus have been identified as sites that will receive a combination of shade trees, ornamental trees, and large shrubs. Some of these locations will be included […]

Solar Powered Trash Compactors

Nearly a year ago, Washington University School of Medicine installed seven Bigbelly waste and recycling units near the 4515 McKinley Research Building.  During this time, the cloud-connected platform that is part of the Bigbelly system has been gathering data pertaining to the collection efficiency of the unit and also measuring the diversion rate of trash […]

Staff Spotlight: Roger Davis

Roger joined Washington University School of Medicine as the Assistant Director of General Services in August of this year. Immediately prior to joining the Washington University team, Roger was the Director of Custodial Services in the Facilities Department at the University of South Carolina. When asked why he chose to come work at the University, […]

Ultra-Low Temperature Lab Freezers: Quiet, Small, and Energy Efficient

The university’s Resource Management Department hosted a presentation by a manufacturer of ultra-low temperature lab freezers that highlighted information about it’s newer, energy efficient model that has been designed to be environmentally-friendly. The presentation highlighted sustainability features of the process to manufacture it, the materials it is constructed from and the energy it takes to operate […]

Employee Picnic Achieves Zero Waste

On Friday September 30, the Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) celebrated its employees by hosting its annual Employee Picnic. Beginning at 11a, thousands of employees started lining up to enjoy BBQ from Kendrick’s Meats and Catering, Ted Drewes custard, and a variety of carnival games for prizes. Since 2013, the Office of Sustainability has worked with […]

Active Transportation Month In Full Swing

Week one of Active Transportation Month (ATM) is underway and has featured several exciting events. On October 1, the Office of Sustainability collaborated with the Outing Club for a bike trip to Grove Fest. Attendees (shown above) enjoyed a ride through Forest Park en route to this annual event, which features street performers, live music, and a variety […]

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 […]

Employee Picnic Strives for Zero Waste

On September 30th, the Office of Sustainability and the Operations and Facilities Management Departments will team up with the Employee Picnic Planning Committee to pursue zero waste at the Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) Employee Picnic. Betsy Snyder, Chair of the Employee Picnic Planning Committee, worked with vendors, including caterer Kendrick’s and frozen custard provider […]

Detention Basin Performs During Heavy Rain Events

Nearly a year ago, at the corner of Scott and Taylor Avenues, a detention basin was constructed as part of the landscaping associated with the newly constructed 4515 McKinley Research Building. Since then, the St. Louis area has received periods of heavy rain including a couple of record-setting events. Detention basins are a low-lying area designed to […]

Staff Spotlight: Paul Williams

Paul Williams has joined Washington University’s School of Medicine in the Operations and Facilities Management Department (OFMD) as the Communications and Program Coordinator. “This is a great opportunity to contribute to such a diverse and energetic organization. Truly honored,” he said. Paul received his Bachelor of Science from Harris Stowe University. He brings years of […]

Volunteers Needed: WUSM Employee Picnic

The annual WUSM Employee Appreciation Picnic will be held in Hudlin Park on Friday, September 30, from 11a to 2p. The picnic will feature a BBQ lunch, frozen custard from Ted Drewes, music, and games. To minimize waste associated with the picnic, planning staff have worked with the caterers to ensure that compostable serviceware (plates, […]

Sustainability at WUSM Orientation

The School of Medicine’s Student Sustainability Committee works to make sustainability a priority on campus. On August 1, committee members presented to first-year medical students as part of their orientation. In addition to reviewing the importance of energy efficiency and waste reduction, members touched on the impacts of climate change on public health, such as the link […]

Dermatologist Seeks Research Partners

GOAL: To better understand how alternative diapering solutions can help to resolve the issues of diaper need. ABSTRACT: Diaper need is defined as the difference in the number of diapers a baby requires and the number of diapers a family can provide. Diaper need results in unsafe diapering practices that have been correlated to postpartum mood disorders […]

A Thrifty Approach to Equipment Upgrades

WUSM’s Facilities Custodial Department has demonstrated innovation and thrift when getting rid of old equipment and supplies. Rather than throw it away, they sold it! The WUSM Facilities Custodial Department has been upgrading and removing old equipment in order to provide custodians with reliable equipment to carry out their daily duties. During this process, WUSM […]