Written by Green Office student associates Julia Borcher, Class of 2025, and Elizabeth Sklaire, Class of 2024.
On Thursday, October 27th, the Office Of Sustainability celebrated the 5th Annual Green Carpet Awards–the first time since 2019. Office of Sustainability staff were graciously joined by Dr. Shantay Bolton, Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration and Chief Administrative Officer and Dr. Richard Stanton, Associate Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance at the School of Medicine to celebrate the honorees. Offices from across the institution met at the Eric P. Newman Education Center to celebrate the joint efforts of the Green Offices that certified during 2021 or participated in the program during the pandemic.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Sustainability, Phil Valko, kicked off the ceremony with a presentation on the journey of sustainability at WashU, including how WashU surpassed its 2015 goal to reach 1990 levels of carbon emissions by 2020 despite doubling in building square footage. These successes are critical to the goal setting included in WashU’s recently launched strategic plan: Here and Next.
Following Valko, Dr. Bolton announced that Washington University achieved AASHE STARS Gold certification, a sustainability standard for higher-education institutions. The program serves as a rating system to provide a framework for institutions worldwide to build sustainable campus communities. Then Rick Stanton provided some sustainability highlights from the School of Medicine (WUSM), providing guests with more insight about the campus hosting the event.
Executive Director of Strategic Projects at WUSM, Steve Sobo, and Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities, JD Long II, presented the WUSM and Danforth offices’ certifications.
The Green Office program consists of an annual certification process which identifies champions in sustainable office environments and provides guidance for improvement through a self-calculating spreadsheet. Since the foundation of the program in 2012, over 130 offices have been certified. Following the certification, offices are awarded a plaque and invited to the Green Carpet Awards. To familiarize yourself with the program and become involved in the Green Office community, please visit this site.
Each office has the power to influence the campus culture around sustainability, and championing programs such as the Green Office Program and Green Event Certifications are a fantastic way to begin. Cross-campus partnerships and collaboration are integral to this program, connecting ideas and successes across WashU. In Dr. Bolton’s words, “It is about the collective power of us as a community.”
Dr. Bolton left event attendees inspired, reminding the room that community collaboration is what leads to greatness:
“In closing, I want to leave you with this: as we continue to embark on a transformational journey, at WashU and in our individual lives…, each of you matter to that success and each of you are here today because you have done something to contribute to going from where we were, to where we are now. These efforts are important and they are vital to ensuring that we foster a community.”