Tufts Gets Green

Office of Sustainability's Blog

Date: March 26, 2012

Sustainability Intern: Cambridge Public School Department

The Office for Sustainability at the Cambridge Public School Department seeks an intern to assist the Sustainability Manager for 10-15 hours or more per week. Hours flexible, work can be done off-site sometimes. This is an
unpaid internship.

. The intern will be assisting primarily with program implementation of the Cambridge Green Schools Initiative.

. The position requires very strong written, verbal, and communication skills.

. The intern must be good at independent work, and writing e-mails, meeting with students and staff in the schools, and writing short 1-page progress reports.

. The candidate should be a current undergraduate or graduate student seeking work experience in the field of policy, sustainability, or education.

. You must be pursuing a degree or have a strong interest in the following fields: education, environmental science, energy management, engineering, sustainability, policy, or administration.

. Length of Time Total: 10-15 hours per week, flexible.

.  May or June 1st through August 31st 2012, with potential to expand into the fall of 2012. Dates flexible.

. Time per Week: 10-15 hours per week.

Please send resume and cover letter to:
Kristen von Hoffmann, Sustainability Manager
kvonhoffmann@cpsd.us

Kristen von Hoffmann
Sustainability Manager
Cambridge Public School District
work: (617) 349-6856

The good news on reusable mugs and paper cups

"Recycle meeeeee!"

You may have already heard the good news: paper cups are now recyclable! That’s right—the hot cups you use for tea or coffee can now be placed in paper recycling bins. All hot cups are made with a thin plastic lining that seals them and makes them waterproof, but since plastic only comprises less than 5% of the whole cup, the cup can be recycled as paper.

Some things to note:

  • Rinse out your cup before putting it into the recycling bin in order to remove residue that could be harmful in the recycling process.
  • Wax-lined cups are still not recyclable. In order to tell the difference between a wax and a paper-lined cup, you can simply scratch the lining of the cup with a fingernail and if anything comes off under your nail, the lining is likely wax.

Of course, while this is great news, the best way to lessen your impact with your morning coffee is to use a reusable mug. The Eco-Ambassadors at University Advancement (UA) are leading the charge.

Meaghan shows off her reusable glasses

Kim Moniz, Mini Jaikumar, and Marny Ashburne recently pioneered a UA Green Team and one of their goals is to convert their office to using only reusable mugs. The UA Green Team’s founding members have been recruiting others in Advancement to join them in thinking up ways to “make University Advancement more sustainable, raise awareness of green initiatives, and encourage people to adopt habits that will help make UA more eco-friendly.”

Their first program was a Mug Drive and Raffle. The Green Team asked office members to start the New Year by bringing in reusable cups and mugs to use at work. Every person who brought in a cup or mug could then register with a member of the Green Team and receive a sticker for their mug or glass announcing that “[Name] Thinks Green.” Then every Friday for a month, the UA Green Team pulled a name from the list of people with registered mugs to win a $25 Target gift card.

Andy's mug has something to say

At the time of the last drawing, 114 people had registered a mug or reusable cup. With 171 people in the office, about 67% of office staff participated! Some final steps in the plan included encouraging office members to bring in cups and mugs from home to donate to the office so that there would be enough reusable cups and mugs for everyone. The UA Green Team is now looking into discussing with senior management the idea of eliminating the purchase of paper cups in Advancement altogether.

The Eco-Ambassadors/UA Green Team’s success really shows how far a little initiative can go and how successful office environmental campaigns can be! However, it is important to note that although paper cups are now recyclable, they are still not the most sustainable option. It is best to still try to use reusable mugs and glasses whenever possible, but now if you cannot avoid using a paper cup, at least you can remember to recycle it.

Campus Sustainability Council update: Water Working Group kicks off


Since the official announcement from President Tony Monaco last February, members of the Campus Sustainability Council have been getting busy as each of the three working groups (focusing on Water, Energy/Emissions and Waste) began holding their regular meetings.

The Water Working Group met for the first time on March 2nd and reviewed its roles and responsibilities, which include reviewing current usage, existing initiatives and goals, as well as creating recommendations for goals and implementation plans to present to the Campus Sustainability Council.

The group found that very few institutions of higher education have any public water-related goals.  In fact, Johns Hopkins is one of a rare few that have a specific goal (to decrease university wide potable water consumption by 3%). The members also learned that many water-saving initiatives at Tufts are already underway, including:

  • Efforts to use ground water for irrigation
  • Low-flow shower heads in all Medford and Boston residence halls
  • Bathroom upgrades in Medford residence halls which include dual flush or low flush toilets
  • On‐going Medford campus condensate loss reduction efforts
  • Front Load washing machines requiring less water, energy and detergent installed in most residence hall laundry rooms
  • Rain barrels installed at 520 Boston Avenue to capture roof run‐off for landscape irrigation

The working group members discussed the differences between Tufts’ campuses, regulatory and compliance issues, the environmental impact of wastewater, ways to evaluate proposed solutions and appropriate metrics for evaluation.

Scott Horsley, a lecturer in the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning department, and Bob Burns, Director of Tufts Facilities Services, are the co-chairs of the water working group and will be working to guide the group towards specific “SMART” goals for the university over the coming months. Sustainability standards will be incorporated into all proposals for new construction and renovation projects.

As always, Tufts community members are welcome to add their own suggestions for the working group through the easy, on-line form available on the Office of Sustainability’s website.

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