Update on GW’s Single-Use Plastics Commitment

June 23, 2021

Dear Members of the GW Community,

With the start of summer, it is an opportune time to reflect on our progress in key areas and plan for the months ahead.  To this end, I am pleased to share that we have made significant progress in advancing our commitment to eliminating single-use plastics.

As more students, faculty, and staff return to campus over the coming months, you will notice some changes:

Installation of at least one bottle-filling station (aka “hydration station”) in each building and in convenient pedestrian outdoor locations.  All will be easily identified with branding for the initiative. 

All vending machines have been converted from plastic bottled beverages to canned or glass beverages, which can be recycled indefinitely.

policy to inform members of our community about the university’s guidance regarding single-use plastics, including with respect to procurement, has been approved and will be effective July 1.

We have continued to engage all university stakeholders interested in these efforts, and we are actively planning for the launch of an awareness campaign this fall.  This campaign includes some “merch”—a one-of-a-kind reusable bottle for all students, faculty, and staff as a tangible reminder and driver of our plastics paradigm shift.

Eliminating single-use plastics is a transformative and industry-leading initiative, and GW is at the vanguard of this movement in higher education.  Others have followed and will continue to follow our lead.  Our initiative will have broad, positive implications for our university's sustainability efforts and for doing business better, and I want to thank you for continuing to help us move this critical effort forward.

Best wishes for a restful summer, and I look forward to seeing many of you on campus soon. 


Mark Diaz
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer