Washington University in St. Louis’ goal is to foster a university culture in which sustainability is a defining element of institutional identity and daily practice.


The WashU community’s engagement in sustainability efforts has rapidly expanded in the last five years. A myriad of new initiatives, new resources, and major accomplishments have come to pass since 2010. Here are a few highlights:

23 Student groups With a Focus ON SUSTAINABILITY IN 2015



  • Students now run more than 20 sustainability-focused organizations, have created dozens of new sustainability leadership positions in long-standing organizations, and have advocated for change locally and internationally.
  • Staff have championed a broad range of efforts, including creating zero-waste events, promoting the Green Office Program, and driving much of the progress highlighted throughout the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan for Sustainable Operations.
  • The Green Ambassador program launched in 2013 with 33 students. They introduced 1,700 incoming freshmen to campus sustainability practices and played a pivotal role creating a cultural shift on the Danforth Campus.
  • The School of Medicine Sustainability Action Team (SAT) meets quarterly to learn about and then disseminate new initiatives and publishes a monthly newsletter.
  • The Office of Sustainability developed a student intern program, including 16 student workers during the academic year and three to five over the summer.
  • Residential Life’s Congress of the South 40 developed an Eco Rep program, which is integral in the Green Cup energy reduction competition.
  • Faculty members have created new interdisciplinary sustainability courses, including Earth’s Future: Causes and Consequences of Global Climate Change, sustainable design-focused architecture studios, the experiential Sustainability Exchange, and Urban Ecosystem Principles Integration.

Green Office Program

office greeningThe Green Office Program empowers office teams to reduce their impact and costs. The program features a self-assessment checklist that offices use to evaluate their current practices, set goals and track their progress. As offices reach certain milestones, they become a “certified green office.” As of Fall 2015, 47 offices located across the university’s two academic and two administration campuses have been certified as green offices — 24 are certified at the Bronze level, 15 at the Silver level, six at the Gold level, and two at the Platinum level.

Learn About The Program


Student Funding

students gardeningThe Student Sustainability Fund (SSF) is a small grants program run by students that provides funding for graduate and undergraduate students’ sustainability projects. To date, 37 projects have been successfully funded through the SSF. The SSF is supported by the Student Union and the Office of Sustainability.

Learn About the SSF »