Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.18
Liaison Phil Valko
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Washington University in St. Louis
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Cassandra Hage
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

Undergraduate Student Opportunities

The Burning Kumquat is an organic, student-run garden where members of Washington University come together to cultivate crops, learn farming practices and sell produce to other WashU community members.

The Congress of the South 40’s Sustainability Committee promotes sustainability on the South 40 through events and college council programming and manages the Eco Rep program.

Cultivating Connections is a student group that partners with International Institute’s global farms program to develop urban farms in immigrant neighborhoods in St. Louis. The group engages with these communities on a personal basis through farm support and seasonal potlucks, creating cultural and experience exchange within the broader social dynamics of St. Louis. Awareness campaigns also work to educate the WashU community about immigration policy and the everyday lives of New Americans.

Eco Rep Program
WashU’s Eco Rep program gives undergraduates the opportunity to promote sustainability within their Residential Colleges. In addition, Eco Reps focuses on making College Council programming more sustainable.

Engineers without Borders – Engineering World Health
Engineers without Borders encourages interested students of all schools to apply their academic knowledge to projects in developing communities that focus on the environment, equity and economics.

Gateway to the Great Outdoors
Gateway to the Great Outdoors (GGO) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing urban, low-income, at-risk youth with opportunities to interact with the natural environment through lessons and activities that instill a value of environmentalism, leadership, teamwork, science, and physical activity.

Green Action
Green Action members participate in regional and national sustainability movements, maintaining relevancy and awareness of current events, politics and issues through programming that engages the community and promotes environmental advocacy.

Net Impact
As the premier green task force on campus, Net Impact strives to give students the opportunity and skills to make environmentally and socially responsible change happen on campus. Net Impact grows and strengthens a network of leaders who believe in the power of business to create a positive social, environmental and economic impact.

Outing Club
Outing Club provides outdoor recreation and experiential education for the Wash U community. They host backpacking, rock-climbing, canoeing, hiking and camping trips, organize outdoor community service events, rent outdoor gear to students and run outdoor skill clinics.

Student Sustainability Board
The Wash U Student Sustainability Board researches and promotes sustainability measures for University programs, events and initiatives by offering consulting services and allocating funds.

Trading Post – SWAP (Sharing with a Purpose)
The Trading Post‘s mission is to promote re-use within the Washington University community through the free exchange and affordable sale of donated goods. Trading Post has both a storefront operated during the school year and an annual SWAP collection and sale. Learn more on Facebook.

V.E.R.D.E. (Volunteers for Environmental Restoration, Development and Education) fosters greater awareness about environmental issues among school children and participates in environmental restoration events around St. Louis.

Washington University Co-Op provides off-campus housing for undergraduates with six pillars: community building, environmental sustainability, healthy living, social responsibility, cooperative learning and leadership.

Wilderness Project is Washington University’s student-run pre-orientation program that offers backpacking and climbing trips with social and environmental justice components. Leadership opportunities are available every winter.

The WashU Green Ambassador (WUGA) Program is a student-managed, peer-education program supported by the Office of Sustainability that orients new students to the sustainability initiatives on WashU’s campus. WUGAs play a critical role in training first year student to adopt behaviors that align with WashU’s culture of sustainability, behaviors that they will carry with them during their time at WashU (and beyond).

WUSICE (Washington University Students for International Collaboration on the Environment) is a student-run organization that establishes, strengthens and maintains collaboration with international students on environmental issues.


Graduate Student Opportunities

The Energy & Environmental Law Society (EELS) explores the intersection of law and the environment through educational speaking events, community service projects, collaboration with other campus groups, as well as by promoting sustainability in the use of law school facilities. EELS aims to prepare and inspire students to enter the increasingly complex fields of energy and environmental law.

Environmental Justice Initiative
Students in the Brown School promote dialogue and action around environmental justice through panel discussions and speakers. Contact the Environmental Justice Initiative.

ESWI (Environmental Social Work Initiative) seeks to build awareness, knowledge and practice skills at the nexus of environmental and social problems; to engage the Brown School community in environmental social work and thus establish social work as a field of practice; and to establish the Brown School as a leader in this field.


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The Burning Kumquat is a student-run micro farm on the Danforth Campus. The group provides students and community members with hands-on organic food production experience. It also serves as a hub for food knowledge; hosting classes, work days, and community potlucks. Group members sell produce to Dining Services and the campus community, as well as the North City Farmers’ Market. In summer months, they also host Camp Kumquat, which brings dozens of St. Louis school students to the farm to explore food, nutrition, and gardening.

In April 2016, Washington University’s Office of Sustainability and Human Resources Department announced a new CSA program partnership with Local Farmer CSA. Washington University staff, faculty, and students at the West, North, and Danforth campuses are invited to sign-up as a CSA member and receive a weekly or bi-weekly Crop Box filled with locally grown produce, dairy, and/or other artisan goods.


The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

Grounds for Change (GFC), located in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, is a cafe that serves eco-friendly coffee, pastries, fruit, and snacks. All proceeds from the operation are sent to the school's Student Coordinating Council, which coordinates events related to social justice that raise awareness of environmental, labor, and social justice issues. GFC promotes social justice and diversity within its practices, products, services, and staff through sustainable business practices and governance.

Sharing With A Purpose (SWAP) is Washington University's first student-run nonprofit business through the Student Entrepreneurial Program (StEP). SWAP provides affordable and convenient room essentials (furniture, appliances, electronics, etc.) to Washington University students through an annual sale during fall semester move-in. Items are collected from students during the prior semester's move-out collection, called Share Our Stuff, and all proceeds from the sale are used to run an on-campus store called the Trading Post. The Trading Post functions similarly to a thrift or consignment store, but follows the principles of “freecycling,” a global sustainability movement aimed at facilitating the free exchange of goods


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

The Student Sustainability Board (SSB) allocates Student Sustainability Fund money towards funding graduate and undergraduate students' sustainability projects. The Fund supports projects that benefit the student body and promote an ethos of sustainability and stewardship of the environment through education, events, or research. Over 35 projects have been successfully funded on campus through the SSF to date.


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

Washington University hosts frequent sustainability-themed events. 30+ events are hosted each semester.
In Spring 2017, WashU hosted the regional OneSTL conference, a 2-day conference and workshop to work towards regional sustainability metrics.

In fall 2016, the Office of Sustainability co-hosted speaker Van Jones for several campus and community events. The Office plans to bring similar speakers to address the intersection of social justice, public health, and sustainability (at least one speaker annually). The Office of Sustainability will also begin hosting a sustainability-focused conference or major speaker on campus every two years starting in 2017.

In the Spring of 2016, Net Impact hosted a Solutions Lab event, where over seventy students, professionals, and community members worked with food system experts to create innovative ideas, products, and services that leveraged the power of business to make nutritious food options more accessible and affordable. Green Action hosted a panel about problems at a local landfill.

WUSTL hosted the 3-day Sustainable Cities Conference in fall 2012 to explore the critical role that cities must play mitigating global environmental and public health issues. The conference featured addresses by author and activist Bill McKibben, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Ron Sims, founder of the Living Building Challenge Jason McLellan, and food activist Anna Lappe. Over 1000 people attended.

McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environment Partnership (MAGEEP), a consortium of 28 universities and corporate partners working together in energy, environmental and sustainability research, education, and operations, has hosted 5 international symposium's since 2007. In addition, faculty, students and staff meet informally to discuss energy and environmental issues that the world faces each month.

The International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES) was created in June 2007 to encourage and coordinate University-wide and external collaborative research on energy, environment, and sustainability that cannot be done by single investigators or by single disciplines alone. I-CARES hosts conferences and events throughout the year with this focus.


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

Sam Fox School of Art & Design hosts events that relate to sustainability.

In 2017 Prof. Jesse Vogler led The One Tree Project an interdisciplinary landscape architecture design studio focused on the historic pin-oak alley at Washington University’s Danforth Campus. The team included architects, horticulturalists, photographers and other professionals. https://theonetreeproject.org/

The Student Sustainability Fund has provided resources for two projects by a student group called Material Monster:

Packaging Purgatory – The project’s cradle-to-grave research of recyclable laboratory packaging from Washington University’s School of Medicine (WUSM) included a tactile inquiry into the re-purposing of objects into a public art piece. Colorful rectangular plastic pipette plates were communally woven together and displayed outside of Olin Library and Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts on the Danforth Campus and then moved to the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center at WUSM.

Climate Change: Stories for Social Change – As finalists of the Washington University I-CARES competition, Material Monster intends to inspire local action against climate change by leading and investigative art and research exhibit depicting regional social injustices in direct consequences to the environmental exploitation that contributes to global climate change.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

Wilderness Project is Washington University’s student-run pre-orientation program that offers backpacking and climbing trips with social and environmental justice components. Leadership opportunities are available every winter.

The Outing Club is dedicated to providing outdoor opportunities to all Washington University students while promoting a strong stance of environmental and social responsibility. They aim to help students break out of the often city-centric college experience with trips of all varieties to local and distant outdoor attractions. In recent years, they’ve ventured out for backpacking in Missouri’s beautiful Ozarks; climbing in stunning Illinois, Arkansas, and Kentucky; spelunking in the endless caves that stretch though the state; rafting in Tennessee; cycling; floating and canoe trips; and star-gazing.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Themes rotate, typically focusing on big-picture societal challenges and introduces students to a broader way of thinking.

In fall of 2008, all incoming students were required to read "Field Notes from a Catastrophe," by Elizabeth Kolbert, as a part of the Freshman Reading Program. The book focused discussions among freshman floors related to sustainability. In addition, Kolbert visited Washington University and addressed the campus community in an Assembly Series lecture.


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

The Green Rehab project is now in an outreach and education phase, including educating building occupants about specific ways to reduce their energy consumption in an off-campus apartment living context. A User Guide to Energy Efficient Living was produced to support education for participants in the study; the guide will be made widely available in Fall 2018.

Green Ambassadors play a pivotal role in creating a cultural shift on our campus through tasks such as helping educate students about waste sorting and promoting the Eco To-Go reusable to-go box program.

Green Cup is an annual student energy reduction competition. The 4-week competition to reduce energy use among South 40 Residential Colleges, on-campus apartments, and fraternities takes place each February.

Earth Month in April and Food Week in October host DIY workshops and sustainability fairs.

Group trips on the Metro help new students navigate the public transit system.

Recyclemania - Over an 8-week period each spring, WashU participates with colleges across the United States and Canada to report the amount of recycling, composting, and trash collected each week. Participants are in turn ranked in various categories based on who recycles the most on a per capita basis, as well as which schools have the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which schools generate the least amount of combined materials.

Eco Reps - The Eco Rep program was founded in 2011 to empower students to educate their peers and to better weave sustainability into the undergraduate experience. The program provides a leadership opportunity for students interested in sustainability. Each year, 12 Eco Reps increase student awareness and help to institutionalize environmental stewardship within the student body.

Green Monday - Each Monday, the Office of Sustainability features weekly messages around food, including agriculture’s role in climate change, water consumption, waste generation, and global hunger. Weekly messages also highlight the university’s efforts, such as composting and sustainable food and dining certifications. Students are encouraged to take the Green Monday pledge to eat vegetarian one day per week and reduce their 'foodprint'.

Skillshare Sunday offers workshops on sustainable life skills including Basics on Bike Repair, Wilderness Hard Skills, Upcycling Wood, and Yogurt Making.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

The Office of Sustainability manages a team of approximately 20 part-time, paid student interns during the school year, and 4-6 full-time, paid student interns over the summer to support the university’s efforts to be a sustainability leader. Over 75 students have held internships since the programs inception in 2011.

Interns work in teams across a number of domains, including alternative transportation, waste diversion/reduction, renewable energy, food and dining, environmental justice, Green Office program facilitation, climate, and communications.

Additional positions have recently been funded within the Environmental Studies Program and the International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (student research).

Stipends are also available through the Career Center and the Gephardt Center to support unpaid internships within area nonprofits.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
No

A brief description of the graduation pledges:
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The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
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Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
Yes

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

Share Our Stuff (SOS) is Washington University’s annual move-out donation drive. It is a university-wide effort designed to make it easy for all students to donate their unwanted items at move-out in a manner that benefits our community and keeps usable goods out of the landfill.

Net Impact students have worked with Dining Services and Bon Appetit on the Eco To-Go program since the spring semester of 2013, when the program was first piloted. Inspired to reduce the enormous proportion of post-consumer waste coming from cardboard to-go containers, the student group approached Dining Services with the idea for the reusable to-go container exchange system.

The Olin Case Competition is an annual competition through the business school that encourages interdisciplinary student teams from across campus to develop creative solutions related to sustainable on-campus solution.


The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):
Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.