Author: Elyssa G. Anneser (page 1 of 6)

Earth Lovers

Happy Valentine’s day from the Office of Sustainability! Who is your special Valentine this year? This year (and every year) our valentine is the Earth! We love the Earth, because it is our home and like any home, we have to care for it and show our appreciation every day. The Earth gives so much to us and asks for so little in return, but every now and then, our beautiful home could use some help and appreciation.

Valentine’s Day may only be one day a year, but you can show the Earth how much you love it every day!

These are just some of the things we do to show Earth love today and every day:

  • Conserve energy: turn off the lights!
  • Grab a reusable mug to get some coffee.
  • Bundle up, instead of turning up the heat.
  • Be prepared: carry a reusable shopping bag everywhere!
  • Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot
  • Compost: turn spoil into soil.
  • Unplug all electronic devices and spend time with friends and family.

How do you show your love for the Earth?

We asked the Eco-Reps to send us their thoughts about loving the Earth. Here are a couple of their responses:

Plastic Bag Ban in Boston

The other day, I was walking home with a friend when suddenly she stopped and grabbed my arm “Look, its an owl in the tree!” she exclaimed! Upon closer inspection, our owl was really a white plastic bag perched in the branches. Unfortunately, this experience is not a novel one; every day, we walk past plastic litter in the streets and without thinking twice about it, but the City of Boston has decided to do something about this. This past December, Boston became the 60th community in Massachusetts to introduce a “ban” on plastic bags. The “ban” that will go into effect December of 2018, but it isn’t exactly a ban. Consumers will still be able to use plastic bags in the city, but there will be a 5 cent charge for each bag used. This ban is essentially a tax on plastic bags, incentivizing consumers to bring their own bags while shopping in Boston.

There is strong evidence that these plastic bag bans are extremely effective at reducing the amount of plastic waste in the environment. According to Scientific American, the plastic bag tax which was implemented in Ireland in 2002 has to lead to 95% reduction in plastic bag litter in the Irish environment. In San Jose, a plastic bag ban has reduced the amount of plastic bags found in storm drains by 90%.

Only time will tell how effective the ban will we at reducing plastic waste in Boston, but there are simple actions that consumers can do to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment. The easiest way to reduce your plastic consumption is to bring reusable bags whenever you go shopping!

For more tips on reducing your waste while shopping checks out some tips from Bea Johnson!

Apply to Live in the Green House!

Did you know that Tufts has a Green House? Located in the D tower of Latin way is the Tufts Green House, which is a specialty housing option for people who want to live an intentionally sustainable lifestyle. The group of ten who live in the Green House work together throughout the year to reduce their environmental impact by preventing waste, composting, and learning together about more sustainable habits.

Each year the Green House also undertakes a few sustainability-themed projects. This year the house helped run the Brown and Blue Pass It Down sale at the beginning of the school year. All of the items that were sold during the sale were collected during move-out the previous spring.  All of the items that were sold would have likely ended up in the landfill if they were not collected. The house has also partnered with groups on campus; last semester, they partnered with the Eco-Reps to put on a “Sewing & Saving” event to save and up-cycle clothing, the house also partnered with Students for Environmental Awareness to organized a clothing swap before the Sustainaball. Early awareness and education about sustainability is vital for building the next generation of environmentalist, that is why the Green House has been partnering with local elementary schools to promote a more sustainable early education. Finally, the Green House has been working with the Office of Sustainability to propose the new Green Fund, which will be a fund that students can use to fund sustainability-themed projects on campus.

When living in the Green House students also have the unique opportunity to meet and work with others from different backgrounds and viewpoints for the common goal of a more sustainable future. Megan Bateman, the manager of the Green House, describes her experience living in the Green House:
The best thing about living in the Green House is getting to create an intentional space with like-minded people. Setting rules and goals for ourselves creates structure and stability during a time that can be confusing and difficult to navigate. Our love for a sustainable living and desire to continually improve has made the Green House a place of positivity, growth, and mutual support. My favorite part has been watching all of us grow closer together and learn how best to support one another as each of us strives to support our planet.

Paul Henjes, another Green House resident is also the Assistant Coordinator of the Eco-Reps explained his favorite part about living in the Green House:
My favorite things about living in the Green House are the people. I always feel welcomed whenever I walk into the House and I always feel supported by the community. Also, the Green House residents all have different backgrounds and interests, and this mix allows me to gain new insights into topics I don’t know about and expand my knowledge of ones I do know about.

Interested in living in the Green House next semester? Apply now!

STARS Sustainability Data Intern, Tufts Office of Sustainability Spring 2018-Fall 2018

Position Description:

The Tufts Office of Sustainability is seeking a graduate student to serve as a STARS Sustainability Data intern. STARS is The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System. From “The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS®) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS is composed up of credits that span the breadth of higher education sustainability and include performance indicators and criteria organized into four categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration. An institution may pursue credits that are applicable to its particular context and earn points toward a STARS Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum rating.” Tufts received a STARS Silver level in November 2015 and we are looking to meet or exceed that level in fall 2018.

The STARS Sustainability Data intern will manage all data collection for the STARS reporting process and will be contacting various Tufts staff, faculty, and students in order to obtain information to fulfill each STARS credit. This will involve managing a large spreadsheet with 64 different credits that Tufts can earn, ranging from the number of courses teaching sustainability across the university to Tufts building energy consumption and much more. The intern will contact anywhere from 40 – 70 people from Tufts and its vendors to find the data and then will record that data in an organized spreadsheet. The intern will read each of the 64 credits in full to figure out the data they will need to collect from the Tufts community.

Hours & Timeframe: The STARS Sustainability Data intern is expected to work approximately 8 – 12 hours per week (between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM) through the academic year. Preferably, the student could work at least 20 hours per week during summer 2018.

Pay: $15/hour

Required Skills & Qualifications:

  • Mastery of Microsoft Excel
  • Experience with data collection and management
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
  • High attention to detail
  • Very organized
  • Tufts graduate student

Preferred Skills & Qualifications:

  • Experience in Sustainability


Please send a cover letter and resume to

Get Involved with Sustainability


Do you want to get more involved with sustainability this semester? Good news! There are dozens of “green” organizations on campus that help foster a more sustainable world! In the next few weeks, there will be plenty of General Interest Meetings (GIMs) to check out. These are just a few of the amazing groups on campus to join.

The Tufts Mountain Club (TMC) encourages all students to explore outside, whether that means a quiet walk in the Fells or a hiking trip to the Loj in New Hampshire. TMC helps students with all ability levels get outside. TMC has owned and operated the Loj in Woodstock, New Hampshire for over 75 years, which allows for the Tufts Community to explore the great White Mountains of New Hampshire. Josh Cohen, who is currently a Junior and an Education and Verification intern here at the Office of Sustainability, is also the TMC Historian. Here is what TMC has meant to Josh over his time here at Tufts:

I’m currently serving my second term on the TMC executive board, now as the Historian and previously as the Loj Director. I was introduced to TMC through the climbing program, and I spent much of my first year at Tufts climbing at Metro Rock. I have spent many weekends up at the Loj hiking in the White Mountains, and that space really feels like home to me. TMC’s tradition of teaching skills and leading trips has given me the ability to enter outdoor spaces and feel confident, and I also have met many of my closest friends through the club.

Max Migdail, who is the Bush Eco-Rep, is also currently on the TMC executive board. He has been a member with TMC since his first semester at Tufts:

I’m very involved in TMC. I spend most of my weekends at the Loj and am the Loj Director for the club. This means I oversee caretakers, groups at the Loj, Loj upkeep, and other various goings on around the New Hampshire property…. When I got to Tufts, I sought out the Mountain Club and started developing relationships within the club and just going outside….The club has been like a home to me as well as the source of many of my deepest friendships. Perhaps most importantly though, the club has been an incredible resource to aid me in going outside, fulfilling both the purpose of the club and many of my own ambitions.

There is no set date for the TMC GIM yet, so be on the look out for it in the next few weeks!

If generating grassroots support for divestment from the fossil fuel industry, then Tufts Climate Action (TCA) is perfect for you! TCA is hosting their Spring GIM on Sunday, January 28th from 7-8pm in Eaton 201. Celia Bottger, who is a Programing intern for the Office of Sustainability, is also an organizer for TCA. Celia explains what the club has meant to her during her time at Tufts:

I have been involved in TCA since the fall of my freshman year…. I wanted to be a part of a group on campus that was doing work on climate change past sustainability initiatives. TCA has introduced me to the concept of climate justice, which highlights the intersectionality of climate change and social, economic, and racial justice struggles around the world. It has revealed to me the deep truth that climate change is above all a human issue, and that climate change work is inherently about working to support and sustain communities over corporations. I value the passionate and socially minded people I have met through TCA, as well as the fresh and worldly perspectives I continually encounter as co-leader of the group.

Is biking your main mode of transportation? Have you heard of Tufts Bikes? Tufts Bikes teaches students proper bike safety and upkeep and fosters a community for fossil free transportation. Tufts Bikes is hosting their GIM on January 28th in Campus Center Room 219 at 1pm. Mandy Rosengren, who is Metcalf’s Eco-Rep, is also involved with Tufts Bikes. Mandy explains here involvement in the club:

I am Head of Communications at Tufts Bikes and have been a member since Fall Freshman year. I signed up on a whim because my friend was in charge of the Tufts Bikes booth at the student club fair, and I love being a part of the club. It is so satisfying to fix someone’s bike, and it is part of the reason that I decided to switch into Mechanical Engineering for my major.

Would your friends call you electric? Have you ever considered joining the Tufts Energy Group? The Tufts Energy Group educates students about the surrounding energy. They are hosting their Spring GIM February 10th in Eaton 208 at 8pm.

The Tufts Food Rescue Collective helps prevent food waste and provides food for those in need. Students package leftover food from Dewick and Carmichael every day of the week and partner with Food for Free to deliver the meals all around the Medford/Somerville area. The Food Rescue GIM is apart of the Lenard Carmichael GIM, which will be on February 6th fro 9-10 pm in Cabot Auditoriums.

What more information about green organizations on campus? Check out our Get Involved publication!


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