In an effort to capture ongoing environmental justice work on campus, and potential future projects, The Office of Sustainability and Environmental Studies partnered to create “Washington University’s Environmental Justice Faculty Network: A Summary.” This report was informed by in-depth interviews of faculty and staff across different schools and departments on campus.
Summary and Conclusions
Interviewee’s definitions suggest that environmental justice work contains the following three ideas: (1) an understanding of the social, cultural, economic, and political context in which you are entering to do environmental justice work, (2) allowing marginalized communities to self-determine the direction of what projects they want to help them achieve environmental justice, and (3) a final product that includes an equal distribution of environmental burdens and equal access to environmental benefits.
Within the context of this definition, three main themes emerged throughout the interviews: (1) faculty felt as though their research, curriculum, and/or service was tangentially related to environmental justice, rather than directly related; (2) faculty experienced similar hindrances (lack of collaboration, funding, and time) to potential environmental justice work; and (3) faculty emphasized the importance of community engagement.
The purpose of the report is to aid ongoing interests and efforts on campus, and to provide an Environmental Justice Steering Committee with a starting place to create specific action items. Importantly, this report is intended to be a living document that will receive regular updates as environmental justice work on campus evolves, and different individuals get engaged. As such, we are in the process of conducting further interviews of faculty and staff members to capture ongoing work in teaching, research, and service.
The full text of the report can be found here: Environmental Justice Faculty Network Report.
Faculty members interested in working with students, faculty, and/or staff on environmental justice-related work are encouraged to fill out a faculty profile on the Environmental Justice Initiative website.
For more information about the Environmental Justice Initiative and ways to get involved, or to gain support for environmental justice-related projects, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.