Students in greenhouse

Invest in Global Health, Sustainability, and the Environment

A Strategic Pillar

Novel Solutions for Ongoing Problems

We are living in a time of enormous environmental change that threatens the lives and well-being of humans and ecosystems across the globe. The consequences are unequally distributed, and the dangers and impacts loom largest for the poor, the marginalized, and the vulnerable.

These problems are not new, though the risks continue to rise. For many years, Arts &Sciences has been developing award-winning research in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities to understand and address intersecting challenges of global health, environmental systems, sustainability, and environmental justice. Our research in environmental systems, climate solutions, human health, and biodiversity all complement scholarship focusing on the cultural, psychological, and political determinants of human behavior. Each aspect helps advance the health of the planet’s social, biological, climatic, and economic systems.  

In addition to this work, St. Louis is home to community organizations and renowned institutions focused on these issues, including the Danforth Plant Science Center, the Saint Louis Zoo, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The time is ripe to enhance these resources and link them together, partnering across departments and with the community to strengthen our focus, broaden our knowledge, harness student excitement surrounding these programs, and develop novel solutions to significant and ongoing problems.

With new investments, Arts & Sciences at Washington University has the opportunity to become a leading institution in these critical areas. Our expanded research will benefit communities locally, regionally, nationally, and globally; our innovative programs will educate future generations of scholars and policymakers; and our interdisciplinary teaching and high-impact practices will equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to solve ongoing challenges of global health, sustainability, and environmental justice. 

Seismic study reveals key reason why Patagonia is rising as glaciers melt

Seismic study reveals key reason why Patagonia is rising as glaciers melt

Metrics of Success

Success measures for this pillar will include:

  • Number and amount of external grants and fellowships focused on global health, sustainability, and the environment
  • Number of faculty and students engaged in research and scholarship focused on global health, sustainability, and the environment
  • Frequency of public engagement by faculty and students on global health, sustainability, and the environment
  • Number of students with majors and minors in this area 
  • Engagement across schools and departments (research, workshops, publications, and courses offered or produced jointly between two schools)
  • Design and development of new learning opportunities focused on global health, including experiential and community-engaged opportunities

Learn how this pillar will be put into action.

View our Inaugural Initiatives