WUSTL Sustainability Pledge debuts

Pledge seeks to promote sustainable working, living among WUSTL community

Washington University students, faculty and staff can show their commitment to sustainability by taking the WUSTL Sustainability Pledge at SustainabilityPledge.wustl.edu.

The pledge asks those who sign it to live more sustainably at their workplace, school and home by reducing personal energy consumption, producing less waste, conserving resources and recycling.

The pledge contains 24 points and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. A university-wide e-mail was sent Monday, Jan. 24, announcing the pledge. The text of the e-mail can be found here.

Sustainability Pledge

Underlying the pledge is the belief that each individual can make a difference in the world through his or her individual choices, says Deborah Howard, interim director of the Office of Sustainability, which led the development of the pledge.

“People may think that one person recycling bottles or unplugging idle appliances doesn’t make much of a impact,” Howard says. “But when large groups of people take these actions together, the positive effect on our world is substantial.”

Sustainable choices by faculty, staff and students — for example, turning off a light in an empty room, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, and using reusable cups or mugs — are a significant part of the university’s strategic plan for sustainability, along with its research and operational initiatives, says Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor for administration.

“Both the Danforth Campus and Medical School facilities and operations have made great strides toward sustainability; for example, the university has installed very energy-efficient lighting, heating and cooling systems and instituted single-stream recycling,” Webber says.

“However, without help from students, faculty and staff, there’s a limit to what the university can accomplish,” Webber says. “To truly become sustainable, we need effort and support from the entire university community.”

Those who take the pledge will receive an e-mail containing their pledge responses and a link to download an e-mail signature that community members can include in e-mails to show support for sustainable living.

The School of Medicine has offered a sustainability pledge for its students, faculty and staff since spring 2010 at powerofone.wustl.edu. The School of Medicine community is invited to also take the WUSTL pledge at SustainabilityPledge.wustl.edu.

For more information about the Sustainability Pledge, e-mail sustainability@wustl.edu.