Phil Valko

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Sustainability

As Assistant Vice Chancellor for Sustainability, Phil works with senior administrators, faculty, staff and students to incorporate and implement sustainable practices into the university’s strategic planning, operations, and resource management. Since joining Washington University in August 2011, Phil and his talented team have significantly expanded Washington University’s sustainability work through strong partnerships with staff, students, and faculty throughout the University.

Phil is a social entrepreneur who enjoys tackling challenging problems with interdisciplinary groups of collaborators. A 2003 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Phil worked as a climate change researcher at UC Davis before his passion for community development brought him back to St. Louis to develop The Urban Studio Cafe, a nonprofit focusing on community building, arts, and job skills training. Concurrently, he worked at Rise, a nonprofit developer working to revitalize communities, to create a neighborhood indicators database for tracking the impacts of community development investments. Prior to joining Washington University, Phil served as the Active Living Program at Trailnet, a nonprofit working to create walkable, bikeable, and livable communities. In that role, he collaborated with a number of organizations to develop a transdisciplinary approach to community development that sits at the crossroads of urban planning, public health, and public policy — the Healthy, Active & Vibrant Communities Initiative — which was replicated in seven communities in Missouri with support from the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Even as a WUSTL student studying biology and environmental studies, Phil worked with others students and administrators to advance sustainability at the university. He co-founded of The Wilderness Project pre-orientation program, Volunteers for Environmental Restoration, Development, and Education (VERDE), and the first Committee on Environmental Quality.

Phil and his wife Cheryl are rehabbing a 150-yr old historic home in St. Louis utilizing many of the same green building principles, including reclaimed materials and energy-efficient design, that he works towards in university construction. Phil moonlights as a drummer and is working to beat his PR in the 5K.