Tufts Gets Green

Office of Sustainability's Blog

Month: October 2012 (page 1 of 2)

Campus Sustainability Council Fall 2012 Update

During the summer, the Tufts Sustainability Council’s various working groups met to discuss goals for Tufts in the areas of water, waste and energy/emissions reductions.

The Water Working Group envisioned Tufts having an integrated water management approach that reduces consumption, promotes reuse, and minimizes impacts on the environment enabling Tufts to become a leader in campus water management in higher education.

To reach this goal, the Water Working Group recommends that Tufts meets and exceeds federal, state and local regulations regarding runoff, sanitation, and sewer systems; implements LEED standards for water use and quality; and ensures that Tufts students, faculty, and staff are knowledgeable of how their actions impact water use and quality and know how to mitigate negative impacts on their watersheds.

The Waste Working Group’s primary goal as discussed during their Summer meetings is an overall reduction of waste at Tufts by 3% a year through source reduction, improved waste management strategies, and a general culture change on campus with regards to waste.

Part of the Waste Working Group’s proposed strategies involves improved purchasing practices to ensure that an increased percentage of environmentally responsible products are purchased by the university.

The Energy and Emissions Working Group discussed ways for Tufts to demonstrate leadership in responsible climate action through energy efficiency, emissions reduction and adaptation. Under the New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action plan, the Energy and Emissions group is committed to seeing Tufts reduce emissions to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020 and reducing emissions to 75-85% below the 2001 levels by 2050.

To do this, the Energy and Emissions group is developing a laundry list of energy efficiency measures and is committed to supporting a transition away from fossil fuels and teaching the Tufts community about the importance of energy efficiency, reduced energy consumption, and reduced emissions.

The groups stressed a need for reporting, feedback, and community outreach to ensure that all of Tufts sustainability efforts and goals can be reached.

Over the remainder of the semester, the Water, Waste, and Energy/Emissions groups will be meeting to discuss progress towards these goals, ongoing sustainability efforts, and additional strategies the university could use to meet their goals. A draft report will be available on February 1st, 2013 for comments. The comment period will end on March 1st and a final report will be prepared for the end of the academic year.

- by Robert R. Lynch, Campus Sustainability Council Administrative Intern

Oct 27: MassBike’s Bikeable Communities Trainings

Bikeable Communities Trainings are geared towards people who want to create improvements and see changes towards safer bicycling in their communities. There are two trainings: part one focuses on the decision making process, and part two focuses on specific programs, policies, and projects. If you want to read more about the trainings click here!

On Saturday, October 27th, we are going to be hosting both part one and part two of the training here at the MassBike office. We would love if you could help spread the word, and if you are interested in coming, please RSVP. These are the last ones we have scheduled for the foreseeable future, so please come! I have attached the flyers if you are interested as well. See the details below, and I hope to hear from you soon!

When: Saturday, October 27th
Part 1: 9:00AM-12:00PM
Part 2: 1:00PM-4:00PM
Where: MassBike Office, 171 Milk St. Suite 33, Boston, MA 02109
Cost: FREE and open to the public!
RSVP: Please email Price@MassBike to register or call 617-542-2453

Call for Submissions: Exploring Urban Identities in De-industrialized Cities

Time of Exhibition: January-February 2013  

Submission Deadline: December 03, 2012  

Medium: Photography

New Bedford Art Museum, New Bedford, MA

As a once thriving industrial center which has struggled to regain its position in the 21st century economy, New Bedford, Massachusetts is exemplary of what the independent think tank MassINC has termed a “Gateway City.” Offering inexpensive commercial real estate, an eager workforce and an existing infrastructure, the gateway cities of Massachusetts maintain a unique potential for growth. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Department of Art History is inviting artists to submit photographic works in response to the theme: the changing urban identities of post-industrial mid-size American cities. Send submissions and to find out more, contact and by December 10, 2012: Attn: Professors P. Karimi and T. Stubblefield College of Visual and Performing Arts, Group VI: Room 313 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747

Tips for Zero-Waste Week

It’s easy to do the Zero Waste Challenge when you are at a place like Tufts, where recycling bins abound and compost drops are available on campus. Still, here are some good tips to keep in mind:

  • Snack on fresh fruit – it’s healthier AND it’s compostable.
  • Carry a small tupperware to put food to compost later.
  • Bring your lunch and use the container to get takeout for dinner.
  • Get your drinks without a straw.
  • Avoid individually wrapped tea or drink loose leaf tea.
  • Always bring a reusable mug or water bottle.

    Photo courtesy of Tufts Dining

    • Save 20 cents at Mugar Cafe, Tower Cafe, Brown & Brew, Hodgdon Good-to-Go & Commons Deli if you bring your own mug.
    • The Tufts “Choose to Reuse” clear water bottle will get you a discount on any fountain beverage at Mugar Cafe, Hodgdon Good-to-Go, Commons Deli, and Tower Cafe. Water and sparkling water will also be discounted at Hotung Cafe.

A few things to remember:

  • Aluminum foil and yogurt cups are recyclable.
  • All napkins are compostable.
  • Any rigid plastic can be recycled – including coffee stirrers. (It doesn’t have to fit through the openings of the recycling bin, by the way – just lift the cover.)
  • Energy bar wrappers and chip bags are recyclable. Tufts has Terracycle brigades on campus.

For more information on recycling and composting at Tufts, visit the TuftsRecycles! website.

Good luck and have fun!

Eco-Reps Weekly Updates

Zero Waste Week

Today, October 17th, is the start of Zero Waste Week! From October 17th to October 24th, 200 students will participate in this challenge to raise awareness that trash doesn’t just “disappear.” Participating students will place all trash that will not otherwise not be recycled or composted in a clear plastic bag that they will carry around with them for the week. Students should feel less compelled to create waste since they’ll have to carry it all with them! The plastic bags will be dropped off on the RezQuad at Mt. Trashmore on October 24th and the amount generated by the participants will be compared to the trash generated from a comparable sized dorm.  Visit the Office of Sustainability, the Crafts House, or find your Eco-Rep to be a part of the challenge!

Sustainability Day

October 24th, the end of Zero Waste Week, is also Sustainability Day! This event, taking place from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, focuses on raising awareness of what has been done and what needs to be worked on to become a sustainable campus. Events for this year’s Sustainability Day include Mt. Trashmore, which will feature individual piles of trash taken from Miller, Houston, Carmichael, and Hill Halls, and “The Story of Bananas” dinner at Dewick. “The Story of Bananas” dinner seeks to educate students on the path of the dining halls’ most eaten fruit from farm all the way to compost. Check out the five stations, play the fun foodie game to win banana themed prizes, and enjoy foods with bananas! In addition, Annie Leonard, the author of “The Story of Stuff” will be holding a talk, question and answer, and book signing session in Cohen Auditorium from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Eco-Rep Events

Last night Eco-Rep Sidney May, the Eco-Rep for Wren Hall, held her first event. She set up a tap water vs bottled water taste test and raffled off a Brita reusable water bottle! Sidney threw residents a fun curve ball by serving only tap water. Residents had fun doing the test and were almost always surprised they tried two cups of tap water. Way to go, Sidney!

Hill and West residents, don’t miss the Sustainability Dinner event tomorrow night put on by Eco-Reps Chantal Davis and Laina Piera. The dinner will focus on sustainability of the food in the dining halls. You can’t miss the delicious Flatbread pizzas they’ll be serving for dinner! The event takes place from 6-7pm in the Hill Hall Lounge.

Plus, look out of Do It In the Dark, an inter-dorm competition to see which can reduce their energy consumption the most over a one-month period! More information to come in our next post!

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