Tag: sustainability

It’s time to clean house and get rid of all those old devices that don’t work and all the old bills and documents crowding your closets. Bag it up and bring it to the Electronic Recycling & Confidential Paper Shredding Event, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017.

Due to the success of last spring’s e-cycling and shredding event, the Aramark sustainability team is hosting the event again. Drop off that old desktop computer, phone, and confidential paperwork in front of the Knight Center and Knight Hall on Snow Way Drive, Oct. 25, 7 a.m. – 11 a.m.

“An estimated 175 contributors dropped off approximately 3,500 pounds of paper and 5,000 pounds of electronic items in March,” said Gene Castellitto, Aramark General Manager of The Charles F. Knight Executive Education & Conference Center. “Our sustainability team, in conjunction with the Washington University Office of Sustainability and IT Information and Security Office, is proud to host another event.”

Castellitto adds that university certified vendors will shred any paper on site, and will securely and safely recycle any electronic items. There are some fees for electronic items; see below.

It’s Campus Sustainability Month and there are so many events planned we can’t list them all here. So click on the hyperlinks and find out how to enjoy alternative transportation, bike tours, lectures, and more.

Here are two events happening this weekend:

Saturday,  October 7, 9:15am-12pm, Meet at Brookings Hall Arch

Saturday October 7, Meet at 3pm on Forsyth in front of Hillman Hall, return at 6pm

More Campus Sustainability Month Events:

Any updates related to these events will be posted on this webpage, so keep an eye open on the calendar and get ready to participate! If you wish to volunteer your time to make Campus Sustainability Month a success, please email sustainability@wustl.edu.

We hope you will join us as we celebrate sustainability during #CampusSustainabilityMonth and throughout the rest of the year!

Guest blogger: Joseph (Hyeonjin)Park, BSBA, Class of 2019

Every college student has been told, “find a career that makes you happy.”

Unfortunately, as most college students also realize, finding what makes you happy can be extremely difficult. Even if we know what makes us happy now, how do we know that it’ll make us happy for the rest of our lives? This was a question I had struggled with as my sophomore year came to a close, but instead of starting a search to find my passions, I chose to travel to Madagascar with classmates in a course called, “Sustainable Development and Conservation: Madagascar.”*

I had been working on a project throughout the semester on a four-man team to both improve the lives of the people there and make the country more environmentally sustainable. I’ve always had some interest in social work so I was happy to be there, but the specific project was less than glamorous to say the least.

My team’s project involved burning the feces of a zebu (an animal similar to a cow) to create an alternative source of fuel for fires. One of the methods used to burn animal waste for cooking fuel is pictured above.

Zebu, an animal in Madagascar, similar to a cow in the US.

90% of Madagascar’s plant life is endemic, meaning those species only grow in Madagascar. As a result, preserving the country’s forests is crucial; and while the villagers know this, their heavy reliance on wood-fueled fires for cooking and heating makes it difficult to do so.

To solve this issue, our team found an alternate resource to use to reduce the amount of wood burned. I spent days cooking animal waste, experimenting with different quantities and methods. After many trials and errors, we left the village with a couple of different ways to burn the feces, and laid groundwork for further innovation.

Lunch with the local villagers.

What was surprising to me, however, was the attitude of the villagers who helped us. We were doing one of the crappiest jobs possible, literally, and throughout the two weeks we worked, I heard almost no complaints. As a matter of fact, I witnessed the complete opposite: the villagers joked and laughed about working with animal dung, and were not hesitant at all to get their hands dirty.

It was amazing to me that the job we were doing had such little influence on the happiness of these people. How was it possible that these people could be happy spending their days burning feces, while back in the U.S. so many people are unhappy with their high-paying, air-conditioned jobs?

Even though I wasn’t able to decide on my perfect career this summer, I realized that I don’t need a perfect career to be happy. I feel comforted knowing that whether my job is as prestigious as working at a Fortune 500 company or as crappy as burning feces, my level of happiness will depend entirely on my attitude.

As a person who continually strives for improvement, I often find myself looking to push myself for more and more, and while that is important, I need to take some pauses and have some fun on my journey. On a similar note, I have made it my goal to balance searching for my “perfect career path” and accepting that it doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect. With this mindset, I feel that my career path is much more free, and that as long as I can strike this balance, I’ll be happy.

*Judi McLean Parks, Reuben C. and Anne Carpenter Taylor Professor in Organizational Behavior, has been leading this interdisciplinary course since 2008 in partnership with the Missouri Botanical Garden designed to improve economic development with sustainable and environmentally friendly projects that range from agriculture to energy in the rural villages of the Mahabo region of Madagascar. Mahabo is located on the southeastern edge of Madagascar, an island nation southeast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.

Calling all St. Louis natives and newbies alike: What are your favorite places in St. Louis? We are updating our St. Louis Neighborhood Guides, and we are crowd sourcing favorite destinations.

The Neighborhood Guides, which provide public transit and bike routes to each area, are designed to instill students with a sense of place beyond the University and introduce them to a few of the distinct and diverse neighborhoods that make St. Louis unique. Even for those who are well traveled in the area, the guides can serve as a means for discovering new ways to experience the city.

Three separate guides cover the following neighborhoods:

  • Clayton
  • Central West End
  • The Grove
  • The Hill
  • South Grand
  • Grand Center
  • Cherokee
  • Old North
  • Downtown
  • Soulard

The updated set of St. Louis Neighborhood Guides will be distributed through the Gephardt Institute for Civic Engagement, the Office of Sustainability, and the First-Year Center. You can contribute to the guides by submitting your suggestions through this form.

Thank you for your input!

Source: WashU Sustainability website

Sustainability champions Nick Annin, Elise Fabbro and Nicola Salzman graduate this month from Washington University in St. Louis poised to fight the globe’s most pressing problem with a powerful tool: the free market.

Though these students support laws and treaties that protect the environment, they also recognize that markets can move faster. And, in this battle, every second counts.

Nick Annin plans to pursue a Masters in Finance at Olin after earning his undergrad degree. Majors: Environmental policy and writing in Arts & Sciences. 

“There is a myth that the economy and the environment are inherently at odds,” said Annin, a senior in the environmental studies program in Arts & Sciences. “We know, in fact, the opposite is true. A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment.”

The three advocates share much in common, including an early admiration for former vice president Al Gore. Each said Gore’s 2006 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” transformed climate change from a vague cause for concern into, for each of them, a call to action.

Annin remembers watching the film in fourth grade with his father Peter Annin, a renowned environmental journalist. Annin felt as if he might vomit.

“All my life, I had gone camping and the woods were my home,” said Annin, a native of Madison, Wis. “The idea that all of that was threatened was horrifying.”

Nicola Salzman Majors: Environmental policy in Arts & Sciences and leadership and strategic management in Olin Business School.

Salzman, also a senior in environmental studies in Arts & Sciences, was in high school in Boston when she read a book version of “An Inconvenient Truth.” She remembers looking at the adults around her thinking, “Wait? You knew about this? And you’re not doing everything you can to fix it?”

And Fabbro, a law student, remembers her Palo Alto, Calif., high school inviting Gore to deliver his “Inconvenient Truth” presentation live.

“I walked out of there changed,” Fabbro said. “Since then, the environment and our impact on it is what I think when I go to bed at night, and when I wake up in the morning.”

In 2013, they would all arrive at the same time at the Danforth Campus. Annin came to play football for Coach Larry Kindbom; Salzman liked the campus culture; and Fabbro transferred to the School of Law when an admissions officer serendipitously called the day she learned her current program was losing two environmental law experts.

Once here, they all applied to participate in the international climate negotiation seminar. They also each attended the global climate talks, known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences of the Parties (COP) as a delegate from Washington University.

Elise Fabbro Degrees: JD, School of Law and MBA, Olin Business School

It’s a unique opportunity, one that few universities extend to undergraduates, said Beth Martin, senior lecturer in environmental studies in Arts & Sciences. At the conferences, the students tracked specific articles of the agreement such as mitigation or finance, and attended negotiations and forums featuring climate leaders such as Gore and former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

“They see how diplomacy works and how words matter,” said Martin, who teaches the international climate seminar and leads the Washington University observer delegation. “The students also meet people whose daily lives and homes are profoundly impacted by climate change. It is both an incredible educational and emotional experience.”

All three students consider the conference the capstone of their academic careers. “We participated in history,” said Fabbro, who attended COP 21 in 2015 in Paris with Annin.

“I asked myself over and over again, ‘How am I here?’” said Salzman, who attended COP 22 in Marrakesh in 2016. “It was an experience unlike one I could ever have in a classroom.”

Fabbro, Annin and Salzman left their respective conferences buoyed. The innovations of engineers, the research of scientists, the resolve of diplomats — the gains were real. And yet each returned, more convinced than ever, that global talks and international treaties can only take us so far. The private sector can — and must — play a pivotal role.

For a closer look at Washington University’s leading sustainability champions and their vision for world for a healthy environment and economy, link to their Class Acts profiles.