Spotlight On: St. Louis College of Pharmacy and COCA

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With fall in full swing and the threat of a Red or Orange air quality day behind us for a while, the importance of taking action to help keep the air clean may not be top of mind. But we think it should be something people focus on year-round. With that in mind, we’re continuing to recognize businesses and organizations that have gone to measurable lengths to engage employees in voluntary measures to reduce environmental impact through their participation in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge (GBC). This month, we shine a spotlight on St. Louis College of Pharmacy and COCA for their sustainable innovations and efforts to make environmentally conscious practices a focal point in their communities and help clean our air in the process.

St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP) has been preparing students for expert practice and leadership in pharmacy and health professions careers for over 150 years. As current and future health professionals, faculty and students at STLCOP know the importance of healthy living and how environmental practices directly relate. Thus, the group has been an active participant in the GBC and received the Achievement Award in the Star Circle of Excellence and an Award of Merit at the Leader Level in 2018.

STLCOP students created an organization – Sustainable STLCOP – that leads the campus in green initiatives. Sustainable STLCOP successfully held one large paper-recycling event on campus and continues to work towards raising their paper recycling efforts each month. Another notable initiative at STLCOP includes new copier programming aimed at reducing on-campus printing by 22 percent. The College has also seen a nearly 40% reduction in off-site printing costs since the implementation of the programming on July 1, 2018, showing that greener choices can be as good for the balance sheet as they are for the environment.

To raise awareness for these initiatives, STLCOP has created their own Green Team to engage students, faculty, staff and alumni in creating a sustainably-minded campus community that focuses on environmentally friendly living in their day-to-day lives.

Another GBC finalist in the “Leader” track is COCA, a nonprofit whose arts-based events, training, and programming encourages people to see, think and express themselves in new ways. As the fourth largest multidisciplinary community arts center in the country, the organization annually serves more than 50,000 people of all ages, backgrounds and ability levels.

COCA is committed to doing its part to make St. Louis a great place to work and live, which means caring for the environment for future generations. The nonprofit has taken many steps to preserve energy, recycle, reduce waste, and go green, striving to continually take action to reduce their eco-footprint and remain attentive and thoughtful about how they use their space in an environmentally responsible way.

As part of recent renovations, COCA converted nearly 200 lights from incandescent to LED. Now, approximately 47% of all COCA’s interior light fixtures are LED. During the renovation, all appliances in COCA’s kitchen were replaced with new ENERGY STAR high efficiency models, and its kitchen and hospitality stations have been equipped with reusable dishware and utensils to discourage the use of disposable versions of these items. In effort to help improve indoor air quality, air purifying plants were also added in communal spaces, including meeting rooms, lobbies and offices!

To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair. For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by St. Louis College of Pharmacy and COCA, as well as how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, visit