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 […]

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

April and May are always busy times at the Office of Sustainability. Its also a great time for folks to get involved to help support outreach events and “green event” operations. Take a look at the opportunities below and sign up to offer your support. St. Louis Earth Day Festival, April 23-24, 11a – 5p […]

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 […]

Landscape Solutions Transform Problem Area on S40

Students making the journey to pick up packages from the Hitzeman Hall mailroom on the S40 may have noticed some subtle changes as they cut across the newly-laid flagstone. The campus grounds team has transformed the space over a two-phase project. Unlike the quick visual impact of a new building, new landscape takes a bit […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Green Office Program Relaunches

After pausing during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Green Office Program has officially relaunched! During this truly unprecedented time, the pandemic has changed WashU’s office life completely. About 25% of green office participants responded to a survey designed to understand how offices shifted during the university’s pandemic operations, lessons they’ve learned, and what […]

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 […]

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 […]

WashU Approved Suppliers Meet Minimum Requirements for Sustainability and Human Rights

Promotional products, commonly known as “swag” are abundant at WashU. Virtually every department or office has apparel or mugs, water bottles and reusable bags are popular giveaways, and everything from pens to umbrellas to lunchboxes show up at events or in office storage rooms. All of these items have a cost – their quality, utility, […]

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 […]

Magnolia Allee Replaces Invasive Monoculture

If you have been exploring the flowering trees coming to life across campus, delighting in the rich smells, colors and textures, you may have noticed one corridor that is conspicuously absent. The path between the DUC and Simon Hall has brightened many springs with the dense white clusters of Bradford pear blossoms, lining a favorite […]

April is Earth Month!

Check out what’s going on during Earth Month 2021. Office of Sustainability Join the WashU Ecochallenge! | ongoing through April The Story of Plastic panel discussion | April 1, 6 pm Gephardt Institute Walk and Talk | April 14, 3 pm E-waste and Confidential Paper Shredding, Danforth | April 20, 7:30-10:30 am E-waste and Confidential […]

The Grow Solar Program Returns

Washington University, Missouri Botanical Garden and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) are partnering on a third phase of Grow Solar St. Louis, a solar education and group-buy program that makes it easier and less expensive for residents to pursue solar on their homes. If you or anyone you know has considered solar for their home or […]

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 […]

Thank You, #WashU20

This year’s Postcards of Appreciation released by Public Affairs to express WashU’s gratitude to the Class of 2020 include many students with whom we had the chance to work with! To Natia, Jacob, Scott, Tessa, and the MANY others from the Class of 2020 who contributed to sustainability efforts at WashU, in the St. Louis […]

The Office of Sustainability Adjusts to COVID-19

WashU is now one of the many institutions who has closed its campus doors to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The suite of radical measures that have been so rapidly adopted in the past week put priority on the health and safety or our community, which is the most important thing. The world’s […]

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 […]

Taking a Stand: WashU’s Bottled Water Ban

Washington University became the first North American university to ban the sale of bottled water on its West, North, and Danforth campuses in 2009. Five years after the ban was rolled out, purchasing order history for bottled beverages across these campuses showed bottled water purchases fell by 86%, a savings of over 125,000 bottles of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Green Cup Challenges Students’ Energy Habits

March 5 marked the end of WashU’s 9th annual Green Cup, with LeeBeau residential college coming in first place, and Brookings and HIG Residential Colleges coming in second and third place, respectively. For almost five weeks, Green Cup challenged residents of the South 40 to reduce their energy use, while engaging in a broad range […]

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 […]

Stories From the Carpool Launches

A carpool is an arrangement between two or more people to share a trip in a single vehicle. You can carpool on your commute to work or school, to events and errands, on your way to/from your hometown for school breaks, or anywhere else you need to go! For those who don’t have a car, […]

WashU Students: Join Us This Summer!

Still looking for summer internships in the St. Louis area? We have you covered! Our student associate program is one of the highest impact internship programs at WashU in terms of the caliber of work students produce; professional development and leadership training provided to prepare students for high-impact lives and careers; and the number of […]

Chris Wheat, Director of Strategy and City Engagement for the American Cities Climate Challenge

Chris Wheat graduated from WashU in 2004 with a degree in Political Science. Today, he serves as Director of Strategy and City Engagement for the American Cities Climate Challenge in Chicago, Illinois. As a part of our Alumni Series, communications intern Selaam Dollisso spoke with Chris to learn more about his journey to a career in sustainability […]