|Submission Date||March 4, 2022|
Washington University in St. Louis
PA-2: Sustainability Planning
|4.00 / 4.00||
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in curriculum and/or research?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to academics and the plan(s) in which they are published:
The School of Arts & Sciences, by far the largest of the 7 schools at WashU, has completed their 2021 Strategic Plan, which includes a section on sustainability-related curriculum and research. Excerpt:
A2.5. Invest in Global Health, Sustainability, and the Environment
Metrics of Success: Success measures for this pillar will include the number and amount of external grants and fellowships focused on global health, sustainability, and the environment, the number of faculty and students engaged in research and scholarship focused on global health, sustainability, and the environment, the frequency of public engagement by faculty and students on global health, sustainability, and the environment, the number of students with majors and minors in this area, the engagement across schools and departments (research, workshops, publications, and courses offered or produced jointly between two schools), and the design and development of new learning opportunities, including experiential and community-engaged ones, focusing on global health.
The strategic plans from our other academic schools include specific sustainability, climate, and environmental objectives, but they are rarely communicated as specific, measureable objectives (same with the other priorities they outline within their plans). For example, The McKelvey School of Engineering strategic plan identifies "clean energy systems" and "smart environmental systems" as two of seven research thrusts for future investment. The Brown School of Social Work strategic plan identifies "climate change, environmental health and justice" as one of four priority areas. The Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts identifies "climate resilience and sustainability" as a priority initiative.
Further, the university's draft strategic plan was released in April 2022. It outlines an objective of creating a “Center for the Environment with climate change as a cross-cutting lens”. The Center will “advance our leadership in energy and environmental solutions, biodiversity, environmental justice, and planetary health”. In addition, there is a commitment to “grow areas of established excellence, leverage connections between fields, and identify and nurture emerging research opportunities to contribute to addressing the existential threats facing our planet and its inhabitants.” Further, WashU will “enhance our pursuit of major grants and critical high-risk/high-reward projects in this space.” (p 6) Whether or not the center is created is measurable and spacific. Beyond that, the objective remains at the same conceptual level as all other elements of the plan, but it is not framed as specific or measurable. (More details in part 2.)
Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address student, employee, or community engagement for sustainability?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to engagement and the plan(s) in which they are published:
The following measurable goals are found in the Community Section of the Strategic Plan for Sustainable Operations, under the goal of "Fostering a University Culture in Which Sustainability is a Defining Element of Institutional Identity and Daily Practice"
-Increased number of students and volunteer hours leveraged annually, aligned structure and content of the programs (Ongoing)
-Increased percentage of campus community aware of “Less is More”, measured through literacy assessment (2017)
-100% participation in Green Cup among campus residential halls (Ongoing)
-Increased number of student groups, departments, and schools that participate, and number of events (Ongoing)
-All new employees reached through orientation program (Ongoing)
-Increase diversion rate at events at campus events (Ongoing)
-Certify 100 Green Offices (2017)
- Relaunch an institution wide Green Labs program (2017)
- Collaborate with Student Union's Green Events commission to institutionalize green practices into student events (Ongoing)
Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in operations?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to operations and the plan(s) in which they are published:
[In addition to that below, see Part 2 for a description of the operational commitments to sustainability in the university's draft strategic plan].
The Strategic Plan for Sustainable Operations includes hundreds of measurable outcome and process sustainability objectives. The following measurable objectives and strategies are a small subset taken from the Energy and Emissions Section of the Strategic Plan for Sustainable Operations, under the goal of "Chart a path Toward Carbon Neutrality Without Purchasing Renewable Energy Credits."
-Establish EUI (Energy Use Intensity) targets for various space types for new construction, major renovations, and ongoing building operations.
-Convene a cross-campus energy conservation team that meets no less than bi-monthly
-Conduct third-party energy audits to benchmark against peer group at least biennially
-Participate in national and regional energy benchmarking programs by reporting building energy use to EnergyStar Portfolio Manager at least annually
-Improve efficiency of existing buildings by retro-commissioning existing buildings, giving priority to buildings with the highest EUIs.
-Ensure that all new construction is at least 30% better and all major renovation is at least 20% better than ASHRAE 90.1-2010 energy efficiency standard.
-Continue to enhance staff knowledge and skills for energy management
-Foster a culture of energy awareness and conservation though programs such as the annual Green Cup energy reduction competition.
-Explore next generation and low carbon campus energy systems
Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainable investment/finance; or wellbeing?:
A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to administration and the plan(s) in which they are published:
WU Equity and Inclusion Council (WUEIC): https://equityinclusion.wustl.edu/council-membership/
• Consists of a role based executive committee including the Provost, Executive Vice Chancellor for administration, etc. The council also includes members at large with folks from all corners of the University.
• The following executive summary is publicly published (Dec 2021). https://wustl.app.box.com/s/bjf4w893gxunm9aepcxq203qkl423v0k which reports on progress towards specific and measurable objectives since May 2021. Other documentation about the original goals and progress towards them can be found here: https://equityinclusion.wustl.edu/get-involved-2/progress/.
See Part 2 for a specific description of how IDEA is incorporated into the university's strategic plan.
Within the university's draft strategic plan, Pillar 2, People, there is an emphasis on wellness, equity, inclusion, and access, as well as leadership development for students and employees. As a whole, the plan does not list specific or measurable objectives, but sets a high-level vision for the university community to align with, and identifies the wellbeing of people within the community among the highest priorities of the institution. https://wustl.app.box.com/s/qw4zv7tkf44sg0txdf6qpgatoqft5bqf
Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
The institution’s highest guiding document (upload):
Website URL where the institution’s highest guiding document is publicly available:
Which of the following best describes the inclusion of sustainability in the highest guiding document?:
The institution's sustainability plan (upload):
Website URL where the institution's sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body?:
The formal statement in support of sustainability:
In April 2022, Washington University released a draft version of the strategic plan for the university. Planning efforts took place throughout 2021. There was a period of open comment, and a final draft was submitted to the Board of Trustees in May. A final version of the plan will be unveiled to the campus community in Fall 2022.
Across the three conceptual pillars that make up the core of the plan, content related to sustainability appears in all three sections. In Pillar 1, Research, Scholarship, and Creative Practice, Environmental Research is specifically addressed with a commitment to establish a “Center for the Environment with climate change as a cross-cutting lens”. The Center will “advance our leadership in energy and environmental solutions, biodiversity, environmental justice, and planetary health”. In addition, there is a commitment to “grow areas of established excellence, leverage connections between fields, and identify and nurture emerging research opportunities to contribute to addressing the existential threats facing our planet and its inhabitants.” Further, WashU will “enhance our pursuit of major grants and critical high-risk/high-reward projects in this space.” (p 6)
Pillar 2, People, there is an emphasis on wellness, equity, inclusion, and access, as well as leadership development for students and employees.
Within Pillar 3, Communities, a commitment to improve sustainability within university operations is specified: “Improve the environmental impact of our operations by reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions at the maximum practicable rate and advance innovations in energy efficiency, energy management, and renewable energy deployment.” (p 10)
Pillars 1, 2, and 3 all specifically call out diversity, equity and inclusion, embodying the guiding principle of IDEA that was articulated since the beginning of the planning process (1 out of 5 such guiding principles).
Further, "Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability" was one of nine strategic working groups commissioned by the chancellor’s office to contribute to the creation of the strategic plan, building on nearly a decade of commitment to this strategic priority.
Washington University has issued many formal statements throughout the last decade related to sustainability, climate change, biodiversity, and public health.
The University's mission statement currently include the following regarding equity: "...to build an inclusive, equitable, respectful, ethically-principled environment for living, teaching, learning and working for the present and future generations"
Mission statement: https://wustl.edu/about/mission-statement/
The institution’s definition of sustainability:
Development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
|Yes or No|
|The Earth Charter||No|
|The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI)||No|
|ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter||No|
|Pan-Canadian Protocol for Sustainability||No|
|Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment||No|
|The Talloires Declaration (TD)||No|
|UN Global Compact||No|
|Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below)||Yes|
A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:
-We Are Still In
-Member of the University Climate Change Coalition
-Founder and member of the Midwest Climate Collaborative
Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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 or simply email your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.