Search results: "picnic" (page 1 of 6)

Striving for Zero Waste at the 2019 President’s Picnics

Many of our celebrated BYOP-ers are pictured above! Read the blog post below to learn what all of them are smiling about

This year’s President’s Picnics took the various Tufts campuses practically by storm, one happening right after the other at the end of May. A few weeks ahead of previous years, President Monaco kicked off the picnic season on the Medford/Somerville campus. It was a bright early summer day that drew staff and faculty out of their offices, labs, and studios, not to mention a few students that were still around as well. A shuttle was provided for people coming from the SMFA campus, with over 1,700 attendees counted in all.

Keeping in line with the zero waste efforts of years past, the Office of Sustainability coordinated with catering services to see that all of the disposable, single-use tableware provided at the picnic was compostable, including the plates, utensils, and cups (plus napkins too, of course). This also meant going over the menu in detail, recommending cookies over, say, a whipped dessert that might come in a plastic cup which could be too hard to clean of leftover food and ultimately have to be trashed. Condiments for the delicious main fare of burgers/veggie burgers were set out in bulk, to avoid any single serving packets and reduce the overall amount of food packaging. Out under the shade of the trees on the President’s lawn, several compost-only waste stations were set up and staffed by students to help people compost all their unfinished food along with the biodegradable tableware– meaning nothing should have been sent to the landfill on the attendees’ part. An Office of Sustainability intern who is well-versed in recycling and compost rules worked near where catering was set up, sorting the waste generated by food preparation and clean-up into the appropriate waste streams, greatly reducing what otherwise had the potential to be sent to the landfill.

Student worker standing next to Medford/Somerville picnic waste station

For those ready to take their sustainability to the next level, the Office of Sustainability offered a limited number of prizes to attendees that participated in the picnics’ BYOP initiative– Bring Your Own [Reusable] Place-setting. By visiting our table with a complete place-setting of their own– a plate/bowl, a utensil(s), and something to drink out of– each picnic attendee was eligible to take home this year’s prize: a bamboo straw with a cleaner and a carrying pouch to easily tote the set around with you. The bamboo for the straws was sustainably sourced in Indonesia and each one was laser engraved with the university-wide ‘Tufts – sustainability’ text lock-up. We ran out of straws at each picnic, with the Boston Health Sciences campus being the most enthusiastic and emptying our supply in less than half an hour that day.

Even if a picnic attendee didn’t have a complete place-setting, they were still awarded a President’s Picnic sticker printed by the Office of Sustainability and given the chance to enter our raffle drawing for this year’s grand prize of a set of three reusable produce bags. One prize was drawn on each campus, with 132 entries for Medford/Somerville, 96 at Boston Health Sciences, and 74 in Grafton. After moving the Grafton picnic to it’s rain date as a result of temperamental weather and still getting a rather brisk May picnic day, we were especially impressed with the attendees at that campus that kept their BYOP numbers on par with previous years.

A big thank you to everyone who brought a reusable of any type to one of the President’s Picnics this year. To all who earned a straw, we hope that they get put to good use representing the ever-growing culture of sustainability at Tufts, and inspire co-workers, students, and community members around you to carry their own reusable items with them to reduce the waste of single use products. We look forward to greeting everyone at next year’s picnics– and don’t forget to tell your friends to BYOP too!

Grafton Campus Zero Waste Picnic

Today, we headed over to the Grafton campus for the final President’s Picnic of the year! The beautiful scenery surrounding the campus was a great setting for promoting sustainability.



As with the other picnics, the event was a zero-waste affair. In addition to having our zero waste stations, we were also able to reduce waste emitted from our event by serving condiments in bulk rather than in small individually wrapped packages, and by promoting the use of reusable place settings instead of the dishware provided at the event.

Our staff setting up the zero waste stations

As has become tradition, we handed out free door prizes – “I saved a tree at the president’s picnic” stickers and a reusable sandwich bag – to everyone who came to the picnic with a complete reusable place setting. We define a “complete” place setting as being a plate, utensils, and something to drink out of (a reusable bottle, cup, or mug).

Our sticker and sandwich bag prizes

Those who brought their own place settings were also encouraged to enter our raffle. We raffled off our final lunchbox, and had Dr. Joyce Knoll, the interim dean of the Cummings School of Veterinary medicine, draw the winner. Dr. Maureen Murray of the Tufts Wildlife Clinic was our lucky winner!

The lucky winner of our final lunchbox – Dr. Maureen Murray from the Wildlife Clinic!

We have really enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm the Tufts community has for sustainability. Some attendees proudly showed us their OOS swag they got from previous president’s picnics, such as the reusable personal hand towels from last year and the reusable lunch boxes from two years ago!

She brought the lunchbox she got from us two years ago!

Thanks so much to everyone who attended the picnics this year and brought their own place settings. Catered events often have a lot of waste associated with them, so we are so glad that you all have helped us make Tufts events more sustainable. We can’t wait to see you all again next year, and don’t forget to tell your friends — we always bring prizes!

Boston Campus Zero Waste Picnic

Another president’s picnic, this time on the Boston campus! Although it was forecast to rain, we luckily didn’t feel a single drop throughout the duration of the event.

As with all of our zero waste events, all of the trash bins normally available in the green space next to the Jaharis Building for Biomedical and Nutrition Sciences on the Boston campus were covered so that attendees would not be able to use them.

Something that was different about this particular zero waste event was that everything given to the attendees including cups, plates, utensils, and napkins were all completely compostable. While we usually have both recycling and composting toters at our zero waste events, at this event we simply needed to direct people to place all their used items and leftover food into the compost.

Michelle with the free reusable sandwich bag she got for bringing her own place setting!

As has become tradition, we handed out free sandwich bags to the lucky first 50 people who came to the Office of Sustainability’s table with their own reusable place settings from home (or from their office!).

President Monaco picking the raffle winner!


Additionally, everyone who brought a component of a reusable place setting was invited to enter our raffle. President Monaco picked the lucky winner, Dorothy Vannah, the director of the Simulation Learning Center at Tufts School of Dental Medicine.

The lucky winner with her new lunchbox!

In addition to handing out flyers about commuting benefits and becoming an Eco-Ambassador, we also had Michelle Lee-Bravatti, a second-year graduate student at the Friedman School help spread the word about the new composting program at the Boston campus that she initiated this past spring. Not only are there composting bins in several locations throughout the Boston campus, individual offices can also inquire about getting an office composting bin. Be sure to contact for more information.

Next week, we’ll be in Grafton for the final President’s Picnic of the year!

Zero Waste and BYOP at the 2018 Medford President’s Picnic

Wednesday was a picture-perfect day for promoting sustainability on the Medford campus! President Monaco hosted another picnic on the Medford campus. Faculty, staff, students and new graduates gathered to eat a delicious lunch provided by Tufts catering and enjoyed the beautiful day outside.

To make the picnic a zero-waste event, staff from the Office of Sustainability helped attendees sort recyclable and compostable items at the numerous zero-waste stations located throughout the venue.

Catering also helped with sustainability efforts by providing condiments and drinks in bulk, as opposed to the smaller, individual packages that are commonly seen at such events. This helps reduce packaging waste produced by the event.

Plastic film and bags will be recycled separately at Whole Foods

In addition to the standard recycling collected at all zero-waste events, plastic film and bags were collected separately to be recycled at Whole Foods!

In order to take our sustainability efforts a step further, we promoted the event as BYOP – Bring Your Own Place-Setting. While using compostable and recyclable items are a great first step to reducing waste, bringing your own place setting from home or work helps reduce waste even more efficiently.

The first 90 attendees who visited the Office of Sustainability’s table had the opportunity to show the plates, knives, forks, and cups they had brought with them to claim a free, reusable sandwich bag as well as an “I saved a Tree” sticker. To our delight and surprise, we ran out of the sandwich bags after just twenty minutes!

Everyone who had a complete place setting was also invited to participate in our raffle to win an insulated, multi-compartmental, bento-style lunchbox. Over 140 people entered our raffle!

The grand prize of the raffle -- a cool lunchbox!

We loved seeing the diversity of the place settings people brought with them, and couldn’t be happier with the number of people who enthusiastically stopped by our table.

Folks with their own plates and silverware

Head to our Facebook page to see all the photos of everyone who stopped by our table on Wednesday with their place settings.

If you are a faculty, student, or staff at the Boston or Grafton campuses, be sure to bring your own plates, cups, knives, and forks to the President’s lunches next month for a chance to get a reusable sandwich bag and to enter our raffle for the grand prize lunch box! For everyone at Medford, thanks for helping make the event a sustainable one, and we hope to see you next year.

5 Items You Need to Stay Waste-Free at the President’s Picnic

We’re already counting down the days to the 2016 President’s Picnics!


Can you believe it’s almost that time of year? We certainly cannot. As part of Tufts’ university-wide commitment to sustainability, the events will once again be zero waste! If you can, we encourage you to BYOP (bring your own reusable place setting) to help Tufts reduce as much waste as possible. Learn why it’s important in our post from 2015.


Zero Waste President’s Picnic Checklist:

  1. Reusable silverware or bamboo ware
  2. Cloth napkin
  3. Reusable water bottle
  4. Reusable plate or jar (lid allows you to carry without spilling)
  5. …and a bag to carry everything in!

All attendees who BYOP will be entered in a raffle to win a special grand prize at our table. The first 50 people on each campus who BYOP and visit our table will also receive individual prizes.


This reusable lunch container could be yours if you’re one of the first 50 people to bring your own placesetting!


If you’re the GRAND PRIZE winner, you’ll receive this stainless steel & bamboo ware kit!

Need a little more inspiration? Learn how a family of 4 lives a zero waste lifestyle & discover the unexpected benefits that come with it:



« Older posts