Cultivating a Sustainability-Minded Community
Published on 15 May 2019
To help address environmental issues and continue a legacy of engagement and leadership in the community, St. Louis College of Pharmacy has made major strides in recent years to cultivate a more sustainability-minded campus community. From LEED-certified buildings to a commitment to safe medication disposal initiatives, the College is working to decrease the campus’ carbon footprint and encourage a more environmentally thoughtful local community.
In August 2015, the college opened the Academic and Research Building. Just two years after, the College opened the Recreation and Student Center. Both buildings were designed and constructed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, the rating system used by the U.S. Green Building Council to Measure a building’s sustainability and resource-efficiency. The two LEED-certified buildings on campus are perhaps the most visible sustainability efforts the College has made, but a variety of seemingly small initiatives are also helping to make a difference.
In recent years, the College’s Jones Hall, as well as the parking garage, have been retrofitted with LED bulbs. The campus has also made the switch to compostable food containers and utensils and participates in furniture and electronic recycling efforts. Ongoing engagement and input from the campus community also continues to further the College’s efforts to cultivate a more sustainability-minded culture and provide the momentum to uncover new ways to improve how the campus community engages with the environment.
One of the newest student groups on campus, Sustainable STLCOP, has hosted recycling events on campus including RecycleMania, a competition that allows different colleges to benchmark against one another to improve efforts to reduce or eliminate waste. The group collected 708 pounds of recycling in just eight weeks for the 2019 RecycleMania competition. The group was also awarded Interest-Based Student Organization of the Year at the 2019 Student Leadership Awards Banquet.
For the last four years, the College has participated in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, benchmarking in different sustainability-practices to create a total score. The College took second place in the leader level in 2018, in great part to the campus-wide contributions to sustainability.
Spearheaded by Amy Tiemeier, B.S. ’01, Pharm.D. ’02, BCPS, director of community partnerships, associate director of experiential education and associate professor of pharmacy practice at the College, the College hosts a booth at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival to educate festival goers on proper medication disposal while also collecting expired and unused medication.
The College also collaborates with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging each spring to conduct door-to-door take-back events at St. Louis area senior living communities a week before National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. In 2018 alone, the take-back efforts resulted in the collection of 210 pounds of unused and expired medications. Over the years, the College has helped collect thousands of pounds of unused and expired prescription and non-prescription medication.
In addition, the College also supports Missouri Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal in their mission to provide an environmentally safe alternative to disposing medications in landfills or sewer systems, while also reducing access to dangerous medications that may be accidentally or intentionally misused.
The College is always looking for new ways to improve campus sustainability, and with the help of the whole College community, the future is looking green.
"Building on our strengths, the College continues to look for innovative ways to decrease our carbon footprint through energy saving programs and partnerships in recycling and landscaping," said Eric Knoll, Ph.D., vice president for operations at the College. "We also have grown the 'green team' on campus to engage more students, faculty, staff and alumni because we know that this is an issue that affects everyone and only with everyone’s help will we achieve our goals."