In case you missed it: Summer at Wash. U.

and | Senior News Editors

Washington University saw quite a few changes while classes were out of session for the summer. We’ve recapped them here, in case you were on summer brain and missed a few things.

On May 16, Michael Bloomberg announced that Washington University will serve as the anchor for the Midwestern Collegiate Climate Summit, designed to reduce the effects of climate change.

To be held in 2020, the summit will be the largest convening of Midwestern universities. It will be spearheaded by the International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (InCEES).

Himadri Pakrasi, InCEES Director, said that, as an institution of higher education, Washington University can play a very important role.

“We can bring together entities all around us, NGOs, the cities, industries and other academic institutions and have conversations, discussions and, much more importantly, real action,” Pakrasi said. “We’ll have important roles to play in all of those activities because these challenges are huge and just Washington University, or any single city, is not going to solve the problem. We need to be a part of the problem-solving effort, and I think the future is going to be really great if we can take important roles and make those actionable and then get it done.”

The project will also continue over two years, with InCEES working to develop a model for climate leadership for other institutions, as well as initiating student and faculty climate-related fieldwork.

InCEES is also currently in the process of organizing a student-centric portion of the summit, potentially hosting students from other institutions.

“It’s for all of us, what we are trying to do,” Pakrasi said. “The most important people are the students, because the future is theirs, and I sincerely hope that the students participate in this in a very big way.”

Provost Holden Thorp stepped down from his position after six years July 15. He announced his plans to take a year-long sabbatical before returning to the University to take a leadership role in drug discovery and innovation research. On Aug. 19, Thorp was named the editor-in-chief of Science and its family of journals. Thorp will assume his new position Oct. 28 and oversee award-winning writers and editors. He will retain his position as the Washington University Rita Levi-Montalcini Distinguished University Professor, but will be on leave while serving in his new position.

The University announced that Vice Provost and Wiley B. Rutledge Professor of Law at the School of Law Marion Crain will serve as interim provost, July 8. The University also formed a ten-member search committee chaired by Chancellor Martin. The committee began its work in July, but faculty, staff and students will have the opportunity to provide input into the search process this fall.

Following the Washington University Graduate Workers Union’s (WUGWU) months of demonstrations for the University to raise its minimum wage to $15 and provide free childcare for its workers, the University announced its plans to raise the hourly wage to $15 by 2021 for regular employees and basic service contractors June 25.

The University will transition to the $15 hourly wage by first increasing the wage to $12.65 for regular employees and $12.25 for basic service contractors on July 1, 2019 and then to $13.80 for both types of employees July 1, 2020.

The wage increase does not affect graduate student workers.

Emily Almas was appointed assistant vice provost and director of admissions. Almas assumed the position July 22, succeeding former director of admissions Julie Shimabukuro, who left the University in June.

Almas previously served as associate dean and director of recruitment at Swarthmore after working in admissions for Northeastern University School of Law and Duke University.

Within the new role, she aims to recruit groups of students that are geographically, economically and racially diverse, as well as get the current student body involved in the admissions and recruitment process. Almas also said she was most excited to get the know the community and students better once the school year begins.

“This is a really exciting time to be joining the team at Wash. U. —we have a beautiful new building, the Gary Sumers Welcome Center and being able to welcome students and families and others to campus in that new space is really exciting, helping us showcase all of the things that really make Wash. U. distinctive,” Almas said. “We have an incredible community, [and] we have incredible opportunities for students in and outside of the classroom and [for] helping the admissions team build on the ongoing work that they’ve already been doing really quite well to continue to enroll great students here at Wash. U.”

The University’s most visible development this summer was two years in the making: the completion of the East End Transformation. The underground parking garage opened Aug. 1 and the occupants of Jubel Hall, Weil Hall, Sumers Welcome Center and Schnuck Pavilion have all moved in.

The Kemper Art Museum will reopen with an exhibition highlighting Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s work Sept. 28. McKelvey hall will open by the end of 2020.

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