April showers have definitely arrived and our thoughts turn to that most valuable resource: water. Don’t let that rain outside fool you! Water is still in high demand and any efforts on our part to limit water waste make a world of difference.In fact, the Water, Systems and Society (WSSS) program is holding its 3rd annual symposium on April 27 and the theme is “The Glass Half Full: Valuing Water in the 21st Century“, exploring the various complex and interlinking factors of valuing water throughout developed and developing nations.
Here at Tufts, the Campus Sustainability Council’s Water Working Group has begun reviewing current usage and existing initiatives related to water, such as the installation of rain barrels to capture roof run-off for landscape irrigation and low-flow shower heads and dual-flush toilets as part of bathroom upgrades in residence halls. The group is working towards preparing specific “SMART” goals for the university over the coming months. Feel free to submit your suggestions for any of the Council’s working groups (the other two focus on Waste and Energy/Emissions) – the Office of Sustainability will collect and summarize the suggestions on behalf the Council.
On a related note, the 24oz light blue Nalgene with a water bottle-stomping elephant on it has become a familiar sight around the Tufts Medford campus. You may recall that beginning last fall, the sale of single-serving beverages was eliminated from Hodgdon Good-to-Go, thanks to a campaign by student action group Tufts Against Plastic (TAP). Tufts Dining supported the initiative and even helped promote it by giving away the clear “Choose to Reuse” water bottle for free with the sale a fountain drink during the first two weeks of the semester. (Dining has since made the Nalgene bottles available for sale wherever plastic bottles of water are still sold and they offer a beverage discount for those who bring reusable bottles to Hodgdon Good-to-Go, Tower Café, Mugar Café, and The Commons.)
A full semester after the initial change took place, Patti Klos, Director of Dining and Business Services, estimated a reduction of over 133,000 disposable bottles per semester! That’s 73% fewer bottles from the previous school year when single-serving beverage bottles were still sold in Hodgdon. Read more about this story.
In the meantime, let’s continue to work on keeping our personal water usage to a minimum – from shortening our showers to turning off the faucet when we brush our teeth. See our Green Guide to Living and Working at Tufts for more tips on how to conserve water.
– Anne Elise Stratton
Communications Intern, Office of Sustainability