Second Annual Sustainability Conference at Webster: Looking Back.

Elizabeth Stroble, David Orr, Oren Yagil

Elizabeth Stroble, David Orr, Oren Yagil


The second annual Sustainability Conference at Webster University was a lot different from the inaugural one, however what stayed consistent is the great interest from the academic audience and the community, and an eager exchange of ideas on various aspects of Sustainability. Once again we hosted a number of brilliant presenters, among those several well-known names in the Sustainability field, who were in fact our featured speakers (Kathleen Logan Smith, Monty Hempel) and our keynote speaker – Dr. David W. Orr. We also had two military speakers, talking about Sustainability in the army and in water management – Lt. Gen. Kathleen M. Gainey and Colonel Christopher G. Hall.

Monty Hempel

Monty Hempel





Conference participants had a chance to listen to an excellent keynote address by Dr. David W. Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Senior Adviser to the President at Oberlin College. His speech was titled Designing Resilience in a Black Swan World. If you didn’t have a chance to attend his presentation at the conference or if you would like to see it once more, you can now enjoy it on or on the conference website.

Tour of Natural Area/Stormwater Retention Basin

Tour of Natural Area/Stormwater Retention Basin with Jeff DePew

Also available online, are the video of the featured presentation by Kathleen Logan Smith, Director of Environmental Policy, The Missouri Coalition for the Environment, as well as the video of the featured presentation by Lt. Gen. Kathleen M. Gainey, Deputy Commander, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.  Kathleen Logan Smith’s presentation was focused on St. Louis, the Common Past, as one of the conference subthemes, and more precisely on the Radioactive Waste Legacy of St. Louis. The title of the presentation by Lt. Gen. Kathleen M. Gainey was USTRANSCOM: Sustaining the Global Force.

Networking at Lunch

Networking at Lunch


We invite you to visit the Conference Program page for more presentations from our second annual conference, that are available in PDF format.

Stay tuned for information on the third annual Sustainability Conference at Webster University in 2014!

A Vision of Sustainable St. Louis in 2063

At the recent second annual Sustainability Conference at Webster University, we had a presentation, called “Our Common Future”: The Stage for Stories In a New World. It was based on the pre-conference survey, asking you how you envision the future of sustainability in St. Louis, and specifically in the year 2063; the survey was used to collect data for this project. For those who saw the presentation and especially for those who missed it, Renga Communications presents a great opportunity to see the results of the project online.

Gateway: the City’s Reason is television series set in a sustainable St. Louis fifty years from now, in 2063. If you like stories with alien invasions, zombies, or apocalypses, this show is probably not for you. But if you’re interested to see how our future generations live in a healthy environment here in St. Louis, definitely check it out. Click here for more information.

Sustainability Conference Overview and Pre-Conference Survey

Sustainability Conference Webster University Sustainability Conference is right around the corner. Next Friday is the first day of the second annual Sustainability Conference, and it promises to be full of delightful activities and engaging discussions. Over the span of two almost full days students, faculty and professionals will be able to attend 30 presentations, 8 workshops and panels, listen to 5 speakers and enjoy an art exhibition at the reception on Friday. Continue reading

A Little Story behind BigBelly

Webster BigBelly Solar Compactor

BigBelly Solar Compactor welcomed on Webster campus

You have probably heard that Webster University has recently joined the big names in higher education, from MIT to Harvard, who have installed BigBelly Solar compactors to reinforce their environmental stewardship. Webster has long been strongly committed to sustainability on campus, and adding BigBelly compactors for trash and single-stream recycling will make their sustainable ways even more efficient, increasing capacity fivefold, while reducing collection frequency by 70-80%.

BigBelly is not just big on “consuming” trash and recyclables, but it also has smart “brains”, allowing it to send alerts to facilities staff when it’s full, while keeping track of efficiency on each location. Webster has four compactor stations at this point. Continue reading

Looking back at Webster University Sustainability Conference 2012

The first annual Sustainability Conference at Webster University was a great success thanks to the brilliant presenters and eager participants. At the beginning of this new year we decided to look back on last year’s conference and reminisce about the things that made it so distinct. One of the amazing things at that conference was the keynote address by Dr. Paul Rowland, Executive Director of AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education). If you didn’t have a chance to attend his lecture at the conference, you can now enjoy it in a video at or here in this post.

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Advancement of Solar Panels in St. Louis Schools

Mehlville School District in St. Louis has finished installation of solar panels on roofs of five schools with a view to fix energy costs for years and reduce their carbon footprint. Solar panels were installed on tops of Beasley and Hagemann elementary schools, Barnard Middle School, Oakville High School and the Witzel Alternative Academy. This renewable energy installation was part of the 20-year lease Mehlville School District signed with StraightUp Solar, which will be likely to cut $130,000 in their energy bills to AmerenUE and significantly decrease air pollution emissions. Continue reading

New Urbanism, Future of Urban Sustainability

It seems over the past year there has been a lot of buzz around sustainable development of cities and towns. People have become more concerned about the health of their urban communities and future for those who will be living in the neighborhoods after them. And even though hundreds of architects, planners, economists, real estate agents and developers, as well as sustainability enthusiasts now concern themselves with greener design practices, it’s not only about LEED-building and use of recycled materials any more, there has emerged a whole new trend of New Urbanism. Continue reading

Webster Ecology Students on Mission to Restore Kiefer Creek

Groups of environmental enthusiasts, agencies and public groups are considering ways to clean Kiefer Creek from bacterial contamination. The creek, flowing through the Castlewood State Park, is currently polluted with a large number of bacteria and chloride, which may have been caused by a variety of sources – leaking septic systems, fertilizers, road salt, and waste from wildlife and domestic animals. The level of contamination was deemed so high, that the waters are no longer safe for swimming or wading, which means that it poses a threat both to humans and animals. Continue reading

Care about St. Louis Sustainability? Have Your Say Nov. 7

Last Monday the City of St. Louis published a draft of its Sustainability Plan with a view to engage the public in the planning process, receive comments and suggestions on how to make St. Louis a more sustainable community.  The development of this Plan was a collaborative effort with the goal of making St. Louis City a better and more sustainable place for its residents and visitors for the present and the future. The next step in the development process is a public hearing held by the Planning Commission this Wednesday, November 7thContinue reading


We are happy to announce that the official Request for Abstracts is open starting today! We will be happy to receive your submissions for the 2013 conference – Sustainability: Our Common Future. Please see Abstract Submission for available topics and guidelines for submission. We invite submissions for presentations, panels, workshops, and posters. Please take this opportunity to submit an abstract for review to present at the conference. Deadline for submissions is Tuesday, January 15, 2013.