© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

To be 'for' St. Louis, a new Wash U. initiative is now housed in the Delmar DivINe

Washington University’s Brookings Hall on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021.
Brian Munoz/St. Louis Public Radio
Washington University’s Brookings Hall in December 2021.

Washington University has opened the physical and virtual doors to two new spaces meant to demonstrate its commitment to St. Louis.

The new Wash U Community Engagement Office seeks to encourage collaboration with nonprofits and better serve the region. Its opening marks an expansion of the university’s “In St. Louis, for St. Louis” plan.

Lisa Weingarth, the inaugural senior adviser for the university’s St. Louis initiatives, said the office’s location — in the Delmar DivINe, which is the former site of St. Luke’s Hospital, and along the line of the city’s infamous north-south “Delmar Divide” — will give community groups a direct way to connect with the university’s many resources.

“We want to shift the community's perception about Wash U,” Weingarth told St. Louis on the Air on Monday.

Planning for the new office and initiative was based on feedback gathered from hundreds of community members, Weingarth said.

“What we heard is that it is very challenging to navigate the resources of [Wash U],” she explained. “This ‘front door’ makes it easier for our community to find their way to resources that are related to our mission of research, education and patient care.”

The plan is community-centered, said Andrew Martin, the university’s chancellor. He said that he recognizes the university has a perception among some as not being “for” St. Louis.

“I think that perception comes from some of our history,” Martin said, “because many of the people who choose to be part of Washington University come from outside St. Louis.”

Describing the exchanges he had as he began his chancellorship in 2019, he said: “The thing that came through loud and clear is how deeply members of the Washington University community care about St. Louis and are dedicated to making St. Louis an even better place to live. That, of course, makes sense because these are people who are coming here. They're having families, they're building their lives, and they're as deeply committed to St. Louis as those who have been here for many generations.”

For more about the St. Louis initiatives at Washington University, and how their success will be measured, listen to the full St. Louis on the Air conversation on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or by clicking the play button below.

Listen to Lisa Weingarth and Andrew Martin on 'St. Louis on the Air'

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Roshae Hemmings is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org.

Stay Connected
Ulaa Kuziez is a junior studying Journalism and Media at Saint Louis University. She enjoys storytelling and has worked with various student publications. In her free time, you can find her at local parks and libraries with her nephews.
Danny Wicentowski is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air."