WUmester Events

Join the Washburn community for special WUmester events and challenges that will help us examine sustainability and climate justice and take action in our own lives.

Click here  for an overview of all 2021 WUmester events.


Bulb to Blossom Porcelain and Glass Sculpture by Helen Otterson

Sustainability Exhibit at the Mulvane Art Museum

Sustainability | Social, Environmental, Economic exhibit at Washburn's Mulvane Art Museum. Spanning the entire second floor of the museum’s galleries, this exhibition seeks to prompt important conversations about climate change, the socio-cultural significance of topographical sites to different groups of people, the evolving history of landscape and its representation in art, distinct ecosystems, and illustrative biodiversity.

The Mulvane is diligently monitoring COVID-19 and mitigating the spread. Check https://mulvaneartmuseum.org/about/visit.html for the latest on museum hours.

Downtown Topeka Farmer's Market

Explore the Topeka Farmers Market with the Topeka Metro

Did you know Topeka has a farmers market that welcomes hundreds of residents and visitors each Saturday? And Washburn students can take the Topeka Metro bus system (for free) to get there (just show your WU ID). Learn more here.

NEW FOR WUmester 2021: Monthly Sustainability Challenges


Committing to living in more sustainable, environmentally friendly ways can feel overwhelming or even impossible. But small changes in our everyday lives can have a great impact—especially if we all work on them together.

Join us this WUmester in developing habits that are good for the environment. Each month, Washburn will host a different sustainability challenge. These challenges include manageable steps anyone can take to make positive change for our planet. Students, staff, and faculty across Washburn are invited to participate to take action and be eligible to win prizes.

Register to participate, track your efforts, and win prizes.

  1. Register to participate: Submit this form to register.
  2. Track your efforts. Each month, there will be a challenge and many suggested actions you can take to meet this challenge. Once you register, we will send you a form to record the steps you take. 
  3. Participants who complete the challenge by taking at least 3 action steps and who and submit their form at the end of the month will be entered into drawings to win monthly prizes. Participants who complete at least 3 monthly challenges will be entered into drawings to win bigger prizes as part of our Earth Day, WUmester culmination celebration on April 22, 2021.

Challenge for January: Start with some simple changes.

This month I:

    • only used the washing machine and dishwasher when I had a full load. 
    • turned off the water while I was brushing my teeth. 
    • reduced the amount of junk mail I receive (used yellowpagesoptout.com to stop receiving phonebooks; directmail.com/mail_preference/ to remove yourself from direct mail registries; catalogchoice.org to stop getting unsolicited catalogs; optoutprescreen.com to stop receiving pre-approved credit card offers). 
    • bought soda in aluminum cans instead of plastic bottles and recycled the cans. 
    • only printed what I really needed to and printed two-sided whenever possible.  
    • purchased (or made) an eco-friendly cleaning product. Tell us what you made: 
    • purchased at least one non-plastic, reusable product such as a metal straw, cutlery to keep with me when eating out, a cloth grocery bag, swab, reusable mug, etc. (e.g. lastobject.com, netzerocompany.com, etc.). 
    • took other steps to meet this challenge, including the following:  


Challenge for February: Show others you care about the world around us.

This month I:

    • wrote a postcard to at least one politician to let them know that I am a voter who cares about the sustainability of our earth and watch how they vote on issues related to the environment and climate change. To whom did you write? 
    • attended the Harriet Washington Zoom lecture on environmental racism and shared what I learned with someone else. Tell us something you learned from the event:  
    • donated money to an environmental cause. Where did you donate? 
    • used reusable bags when shopping at the grocery store, Target, Walmart, the pet store, etc.  
    • committed to giving at least one gift this year that shows the recipient that I care about sustainability.  
    • signed a petition to support an environmental initiative. What petition did you sign?  
    • volunteered for/joined an environmental organization. Where did you volunteer or what organization did you join? Why did you pick this organization?
    • used refillable mug for coffee (or soda or tea or…) when purchasing it to go. 
    • took other steps to meet this challenge, including the following:   


Challenge for March: Reduce your energy/fossil fuel consumption.

This month I:

    • regularly unplugged appliances and gadgets when not using them (e.g. electric can opener, Keurig, phone and computer chargers, etc.). 
    • bought energy-efficient light bulbs.  
    • only washed my clothes in cold water. 
    • used a form of transportation that is environmentally friendly instead of driving my own vehicle (i.e. walked, rode a bike or took the bus). Is this something you would do more often? Why or why not? 
    • participated in Earth Hour (i.e. on March 28th at 8:30pm I turned off all the lights, tvs, computers, etc. in my house/apartment/dorm room/etc. for one hour in solidarity with people across the world who care about our planet). Tell us about what this experience was like: 
    • turn down the heat at least one degree from what it is usually set on. Do you think this could become a habit? Why or why not? 
    • turned off the lights when leaving a room. 
    • made sure that my car was up to date on all maintenance and tune-ups. 
    • took other steps to meet this challenge, including the following: 

Challenge for April: Eat and drink like the world depends on it.

This month I:

    • attended "A Tale of Two Cities: Urban Sustainability in the Hearthland," a virtual WUmester talk, on April 1 @ 6 PM. Register here: https://environmentmissouri.webaction.org/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=1094.
    • went to the local Farmers Market at least once to purchase fresh and local food/vegetables. What did you purchase? 
    • eliminated meat from my diet at least once a week. Do you think this is something you will continue to do? Why or why not?  
    • used the Seafood Watch Consumer Guide (https://www.seafoodwatch.org/seafood-recommendations/consumer-guides) or asked if the seafood I purchased was sustainably harvested. 
    • drank tap water instead of buying bottled water. 
    • reduced the amount of animal derived dairy products I consumed (e.g. goat cheese, cow milk, etc.). 
    • planted a “garden” (e.g. actual backyard vegetable garden, at least one container garden for apartments or other small places such as a container of tomatoes or salad greens or strawberries, flower garden with plants for pollinators). 
    • did not use plastic straws or plastic silverware at all this month. Tell us what this was like.
    • walked, biked, car pooled, or took public transit instead of drove by myself. Provide some examples of where you went. You can also log your miles as a bonus challenge (see below).
    • attended Washburn's WIFI film festival and caught some of the films in the sustainability category (learn more here: https://www.washburn.edu/wifi/).
    • took other steps to meet this challenge, including the following:   


Semester Bonus Challenges: Other things you can do.

This semester I:

    • signed up to receive a sustainability/environmental e-newsletter (e.g. World Wildlife Fund (wwf.org), Earth Day (earthday.org), Sierra Club (sierraclub.org), etc.). What e-newsletter did you sign up to receive? 
    • stopped getting paper bills and statements by choosing paperless delivery from banks and companies. 
    • bought less “stuff” and, when I did, at least once checked out second-hand first (e.g. Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Goodwill, garage sales, ebay, etc.). Tell us what products you gave up, or what you found at second-hand stores.
    • logged the miles I walked, biked, car pooled, or took public transit instead of drove by myself.
    • threw away less “stuff” that was still usable by someone (e.g. donated it to charity, gave to a friend, etc.) or that I could reuse creatively (e.g. glass candle container as a planter for succulents or holder for spare buttons, turning newspapers or pieces of cloth into wrapping paper for gifts, using old socks as dusting  or shoe-shining cloths, etc.). 
    • attended at least one WUmester panel discussion or book talk. Tell us what event you attended and one thing you learned.
    • took or audited one of the courses being offered as a WUmester recognized class. What class did you take? What did you enjoy about the class?  
    • completed a course project related to the topic of sustainability even if it was not for a WUmester class. What did you learn? Have you considered applying to present your project at Apeiron? 


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