University introduces new effort to help students go green

| News Editor

In Washington University’s continued effort to remain green, the Office of Sustainability has developed a plan that it calls a “pledge for sustainability.”

The pledge aims to deal with the issue of sustainability on a micro level, teaching the University community to take small steps toward becoming green.

Students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to join the pledge by registering to participate online.

The pledge is broken down into five categories: energy, food, water, transportation and waste. It offers 24 recommendations to students who aim to incorporate more sustainable habits into their daily lives.

These recommendations include taking shorter showers, increasing familiarity with recycling laws and using the power saver mode on computers.

“I think the point is to give people an opportunity to learn more about the small parts about leading a sustainable lifestyle,” said Will Fischer, assistant coordinator for special projects and fellow in the Office of Sustainability.

The Office of Sustainability hopes that this pledge will make a lasting impact on students’ abilities to lead sustainable lifestyles.

“We are hoping to inspire students to make a change now and to retain it for the rest of their lives,” Fischer said.

Many students see the importance of this initiative and plan to support the pledge.

“I think I will do my best to follow the suggestions,” freshman Marcy Koonce said. “There are always ways to improve, and this will give me more ideas of what I can do to be greener.”

Other students plan to use the recommendations to build upon their existing efforts to be green.

Sophomore Andrew Tsai already turns off the lights when he leaves a room and uses the power saver mode on his computer. He hopes the recommendations will help him to expand his efforts.

Tsai has noticed that many Washington University students do not seem concerned with sustainability.

“Sometimes I feel like I am the only one doing it when I see the people using plastic knives and forks,” Tsai said.

Tsai expects that the pledge will raise awareness of sustainable actions on campus.

Deborah Howard, interim director of the Office of Sustainability, hopes that students will recognize the effects that their actions have on the environment.

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

To broaden the outreach of the pledge, students are given the opportunity to invite friends and acquaintances to join the effort.

“I hope people spend ten minutes to look through it. Hopefully in that short period of time, people can learn something from it. This is a learning experience. It is quick and really quite easy,” Fischer said.

Students can register for the pledge at

  • Matt Davies

    Now this is the type of effort that will make a difference. Al Gore zipping around the country in his private jet does absolutely nothing except make Al Gore rich. Having people do the little things will make the biggest impact. There may not be a correlation between human activity and climate change, but we should jump at the opportunities where we can be more efficient and produce less waste — and save a little money too.