Rain Garden Dedication | Webster University

Rain Garden Dedication

I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome our guest from Anheuser-Busch, Margarita Flores, Vice President for Community Affairs; as well as their community partners from the Urban League, Who’s Who, the American Red Cross, the YWCA of Metropolitan St. Louis, Casa De Salud, and Harris-Stowe State University; and last but not least, to staff from SWT Design –founded by Webster alum Jim Wolterman and creators of this beautiful space, and to our Webster students, faculty, administrators and Trustees, welcome to the dedication of the Anheuser-Busch Foundation Native Plant Rain Garden at Webster University.

Our purpose today is to recognize the extraordinary generosity of Anheuser-Busch in supporting quality education and sustainability at Webster University. This building that we stand before, our East Academic Building, is a 94,000 square foot LEED Certified Gold building - 1 of only 31 in the region. This building and its site help to define a new quadrangle that will take shape over the coming months and years. And as trustee Tony Thompson mentioned, it serves as a bridge that links historic Webster University with its future sustainable direction.

This high-functioning building houses the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology, the school that has prepared many of the 300+ Webster University alums who work at Anheuser-Busch here in St. Louis and around the world. A special greeting to any of our AB alums in the audience. Welcome back!

Our theme today is “Partners for a Better World“.  Partners for a Better World is a variation on the key phrase that Anheuser-Busch employs to characterize its commitment to quality and corporate citizenship…“To Becoming the Best Beer Company in a Better World.” It is a clear and powerful statement of purpose and it is a call to action for the 118,000 A-B employees around the world. At Webster University we are proud of our longstanding relationship with A-B.  Since 1986, Anheuser-Busch has supported progress and innovation at Webster with gifts totaling nearly $3m.

Iconic buildings on the Webster campus, including the Loretto-Hilton, the Student Center, the library and now the East Academic Building have enjoyed the support of AB; signature programs such as the Holden Public Policy Institute and the Global Internship Experience have thrived with AB support.

We are truly excited about our future with AB as a partner in St. Louis and around the world; a future where we will continue to work together to educate responsible global citizens, mitigate our impact on the environment, and have a positive impact on the communities we serve. We stand here before the first new classroom building erected on the Webster campus since 1984.

There was a very deliberate design intent in staging this magnificent rain garden so that it spans the space between the entrance to the East Academic Building on the east side and what is quickly becoming the community’s main entrance to our campus -that walkway on the west side of the rain garden. That is why we chose to erect two monuments recognizing AB, one on each side, to reach all those coming onto campus either for purposes of higher education or to patronize the University’s Community Music School, the Rep, and Opera Theater of St. Louis all located just beyond that walkway.

We feel strongly that this rain garden is the right place for Anheuser-Busch. It is a prominent space-in deference to the extraordinary generosity of the gift made to Webster by the Anheuser-Busch Foundation.  Equally as important however, it is a space that is dedicated to water conservation.  This rain garden will serve two functions: to educate students and visitors about water conservation, and to actually achieve those ends by mitigating and filtering run-off from the impermeable surfaces that are associated with the building. In the parlance of AB then, the Anheuser-Busch Foundation Native Plant Rain Garden serves both to  “…foster the right conversations and turn that dialogue into meaningful action that drives results.”

The results that AB has been able to achieve in relation to the environmental impact of facilities around the world are impressive, and when it comes to water conservation in particular, their results are extraordinary.  I hope that you will tell us more about those successful efforts this afternoon. Like Webster, Anheuser-Busch has facilities around the world. To have reduced your global environmental impact to the degree that you have demonstrates that Anheuser-Busch has figured out how to have a direct and meaningful impact the work culture at far flung sites with varied cultural backdrops. At Webster, with campuses in 60 cities, in 8 countries and on 4 continents we work with these same parameters.

I can tell you that results such as those achieved through Anheuser-Busch’s Better World goals are the product of an exceptionally vital and cohesive corporate culture, a culture that operates effectively within the context of the many countries where you operate. We can surmise that some of our Webster alums and Global Interns have had something to do with that! Anheuser-Busch is a titan in terms of its commitment to education, in its comprehensive program of corporate citizenship, and particularly in its pursuit of its ambitious environmental targets.

It is an honor to be mentioned in the same breath with Anheuser-Busch in the realm of sustainability.  And now, it is with grateful thanks for their generous support for Webster University that I would like to introduce Margarita Flores, Vice President for Community Affairs for Anheuser-Busch.