Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Phil Valko
Submission Date March 6, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Washington University in St. Louis
EN-7: Employee Educators Program

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

Total number of employees (staff + faculty, headcount):
14,802

Number of employees served (i.e. directly targeted) by a peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program (avoid double-counting):
3,600

Percentage of employees served by a peer-to-peer educator program:
24.32

Name of the employee educators program:
Green Office Program

Number of employees served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (headcount):
1,600

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities:

The Green Office Program aims to encourage offices across all campuses to be champions of our university sustainability ethic. The program is a point-based, self-assessment checklist with which offices can evaluate their current practices, set goals, and be recognized for their sustainable practices. The checklist is divided into seven categories: energy, waste, transportation, purchasing, documents, awareness, and innovations. When an office earns points above a set threshold, it is certified as Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. Offices must re-certify every year to continue participating in the program.

The checklist incorporates strategies from the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan for Sustainable Operations. For example, the energy section lists several small actions that employees can take that will contribute to our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.


A brief description of how the employee educators are selected:

Each participating Green Office has a staff representative that acts as a liaison between their office and the Office of Sustainability. The representative meets with Green Office student associates when new to the program, communicates with associates and/or staff annually to continue participating, and shares updates and news with office colleagues through the Green Office newsletter and other activities.


A brief description of the formal training that the employee educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach:

Green Office Liaisons utilize the checklist to survey their peers. Each item on the checklist has a resource link to guide them. For example, one checklist item is establishing 2-sided printing as the default. There is a link on the form that gives step-by-step instructions on how to change the default settings on macs and PCs.

Additional resources and guides are available on the Green Office website. Two student associates are designated to field questions and develop guides as needed. Students and sustainability staff regularly provide consultations and give presentations to recruit new offices and serve as a resource to all offices.


A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or paid faculty/staff coordination):

The program is endorsed by the Chancellor and receives budget allocation from the Office of Sustainability. The program is run by two part time interns and one staff member. An annual formal awards luncheon is hosted to recognize all certified offices; a mid-year casual luncheon is hosted to build community and connectivity. Incentive prizes are raffled off to participating offices 3 times a year: $100 to support a green office initiative (like an office bike or reusable dishes).


Name of the employee educators program (2nd program):
Active Transportation Month and the Active Transportation Challenge

Number of employees served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (headcount) (2nd program):
1,000

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (2nd program):

Every April and October, the Washington University community is encouraged to kick the car habit and try active, low-carbon means of transportation. Activities throughout the month include free bike tune-ups, weekend bike trips to local parks, a photo contest for commuters, personal transportation consultations, a signature event, and the Active Transportation Challenge.

The Challenge offers individuals and teams support to shift their commutes and a tool to track their progress in calories burned and CO2 saved. In the spring of 2016, the Active Transportation Month planning team (consisting of Office of Sustainability and Parking & Transportation staff) invited Challenge participants to serve as Active Transportation Month Ambassadors. The role is designed to allow for peer-to-peer engagement and contribution. The role also presents an opportunity for staff to liaise with the Office of Sustainability and participate in event programming throughout the month. Below is an overview of the Ambassador's responsibilities:

1. Recruit team members for the Active Transportation Challenge
2. Attend orientation meeting
3. Serve as liaison point between the Office and team members
4. Organize and coordinate team participation in events
5. Collect feedback on event structuring
6. Be a positive role model in terms of energy, confidence, and commitment to a sustainable commute
7. Build team dynamics and encourage enthusiasm
8. Promote general active transportation culture on campus

The Active Transportation Month planning team promotes Ambassadors as sustainability champions in marketing campaigns and via email and social media. The Ambassadors and team members are invited to attend an awards ceremony lunch and are eligible for prizes based on number of commutes and amount of CO2 saved from the atmosphere.


A brief description of how the employee educators are selected (2nd program):

The Active Transportation Month planning team invite staff to participate as an Ambassador via email and an online form. The planning team targets past participants via email but also opens the opportunity up to new participants within the Challenge registration form. Only registered participants are able to serve in the role.


A brief description of the formal training that the employee educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach (2nd program):

Ambassadors attend a kick-off orientation event and received a packet of resources to distribute to their team members. Resources include bike maps, bike bells, t-shirts, a calendar of events, and rules and point structure for the Challenge.


A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or paid faculty/staff coordination) (2nd program):

The Active Transportation Month planning team has a modest budget for supporting Challenge participants. The team provides resources as outlined above, along with awards and a free lunch at the end of the Challenge. Staff and student interns coordinate the Challenge approximately 10 hours per week over a 6-week period.


A brief description of all other employee peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs, including the number of employees served and how employee educators are selected, trained, and supported by the institution:

The Washington University School of Medicine’s Sustainability Action Team (SAT) meets quarterly to learn about and then disseminate new initiatives and publishes a monthly newsletter. Meetings feature guest speakers and are open to all staff, students, and faculty.

The SAT also coordinates sustainability efforts for several annual events at WUSM, including Campus Sustainability Day, Earth Day, the Health Fair, and the Employee Appreciation Picnic.

SAT serves an estimated 1000 employees through meetings and event outreach. It is a volunteer-based program, with volunteers getting trained from Office of Sustainability staff on-site at events.


Total number of hours employee educators are engaged in peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education activities annually:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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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.