Sustainability at Tufts

sustainability.tufts.edu

Author: Fannie Koa (page 1 of 18)

Tufts Releases Progress Report on Campus Sustainability

2014 Tufts Sustainability Progress Report

2014 Tufts Sustainability Progress Report

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Tufts University has released its 2014 Campus Sustainability Progress Report, a year after the Campus Sustainability Council issued a report presenting recommendations for the university in the areas of waste, water, and energy use and emissions. The council, established by Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco in 2012, includes students, faculty and staff from across Tufts’ three Massachusetts campuses.

The 2014 progress report highlights sustainability-related developments and achievements made over the past year, including the creation of an energy master plan for the Medford/Somerville campus, establishment of a solid waste minimization program, and improvements in the capital planning process to integrate sustainable design principles in planning construction projects.

“Universities play a vital role in helping the world address challenging environmental issues such as climate change and resource depletion, and sustainability is a strategic priority for me and for Tufts,” said Monaco. “The Campus Sustainability Progress Report shows how our university community has worked together to make significant strides toward achieving many of the recommendations put forth by the Campus Sustainability Council in 2013. We want to build on that momentum and continue to be a leader in the area of sustainability in higher education.”

The report highlights a wide range of current and upcoming sustainability initiatives across the university, among them:

  • The installation of water- and energy-conservation features like Tufts’ first rain garden, an electric vehicle charging station, and solar arrays planned on in both the Medford/Somerville and Grafton campuses;
  • A transportation working group focused on reducing the impact of Tufts-related travel and improving access to multiple modes of transportation to the community;
  • LEED™ certification of two more spaces at Tufts – the Biology Collaborative Cluster at 200 Boston Avenue in Medford and the Sackler building in Boston; certification is also planned for two upcoming projects: renovation of a warehouse at 574 Boston Avenue, Medford, into an classrooms and teaching labs, and proposed construction of a Science and Engineering  Complex near the School of Engineering
  • Enhanced recycling programs which handle laboratory-specific material like Styrofoam™.

Despite 38% growth in Tufts’ built environment since 1990, the university’s greenhouse gas emissions per square foot have decreased 27%. Tufts formally adopted goals in the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan in 2003; these goals call for reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, a goal Tufts has achieved; reducing them to at least 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, and at least 75-85% below 2001 levels by 2050. The Campus Sustainability Council reaffirmed these goals by committing to the Massachusetts Greenhouse Gas reduction goals, which include a target of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Tufts is also working to reduce and reuse waste and cut water consumption. The university’s current recycling and composting programs mean Tufts already complies  with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s waste bans.  Water consumption across all campuses decreased in 2013, while the stormwater regulation features of our ongoing construction projects are designed to exceed federal and state requirements.

“While the university has made great progress, there is still much to do,” said Tina Woolston, Tufts’ Sustainability Program director.  “In addition to highlighting our achievements, our annual report talks about important next steps for Tufts. Examples include performing waste audits on the Grafton campus,  installing a heat recovery system on the Boston campus, and opening more freecycle stations so that students on the Medford/Somerville campus can exchange reusable items this summer.”

To read the progress report and learn more about Tufts’ sustainability programs, visit the Tufts Office of Sustainability website at sustainability.tufts.edu.

Tufts Dining responds to online petition for cage-free eggs

On June 26, an online petition on Change.org was started by Tufts student Jeremy Goldman asking Tufts Dining to switch to cage-free eggs.

The petition inaccurately suggests that Tufts Dining does not offer cage-free eggs nor did they respond to previous requests to do so, stating that “Hundreds of students have signed a petition calling for the switch, and we have passed a nearly unanimous Student Government Senate resolution in support of the switch as well. Our concerns have fallen on deaf ears, and we Tufts students are devastated to see our school lagging so far behind in standard sustainability and public health efforts.”

Tufts Dining does in fact offer offer cage-free shell eggs and egg whites. For over 10 years, they had also purchased cage-free liquid eggs at an annual premium of $30,000 but switched back to regular eggs about three years ago due to mounting pressure to reduce costs. The cage-free shell eggs and egg whites are available to those who want a cage-free option.

On the resolution passed last April by the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate calling for a switch to cage-free eggs, Tufts’ Director of  Dining and Business Services, Patti Klos, told us via email that while  the TCU Senators informed her of their awareness of the issue, they did not indicate that they were going to bring it to a resolution, nor share the outcome of the resolution with her.

Below is  Tufts Dining’s response to the petition, which unfortunately is not posted online:

Tufts Dining Service efforts are aligned with healthy eating, extensive variety, sustainability and ethical animal practices and we champion sustainability wherever we can. We are sympathetic to this particular issue and in fact, we used cage- free liquid eggs – which account for the majority of our eggs — for about 10 years. Unfortunately, the cost-differential between conventional and cage-free eggs grew to the point that it was costing over $30,000 a year– the equivalent of a student scholarship covering one-half of a student’s tuition, fees, and room and board.

Currently, we do use cage free whole eggs and cage free egg whites, so students have an option. We are always looking for ways to increase cage-free egg use and to find suppliers who can meet both our quality and budget needs, recognizing that cost is a growing concern for many students and their families.

While the economic climate does not yet enable us to use only cage free eggs, we continue to implement many other sustainable dining initiatives. We source locally and increase our sustainable food procurement every year. We have also made great strides in recycling, composting and waste reduction. We do our best to thoughtfully balance costs with the need for an extensive variety of fresh, nutritious food choices produced with as little impact on the earth as possible. Our practices will continue to evolve and we are always open to thoughtful suggestions and discussion.

– Patti Klos, Director of Dining and Business Services

For the record, Dining has responded positively to student petitions in the past – Trayless Dining and banning the sale of single-use plastic water bottles from Hodgdon Good-to-Go were student-led initiatives that got the green light. Both were started by students from the Ex-College class on Environmental Action, going through a long process that involved careful research, meetings with administrators, and campaigns to raise awareness as well as support implementation.

Dining is one of our office’s strongest partners for sustainability initiatives at Tufts, and while we applaud the students’ passion and initiative to make change, using an online petition in this manner casts a distinctly one-sided and unfair light on Dining – not to mention Tufts as a whole.

My biggest concern is this type of tactic is how it may affect other student initiatives that are in the process of being responsibly vetted, planned and executed. The petition cc’s 21 people, including all Dining managers, the President’s Office and Public Relations. Every time someone signs the petition, an email falls into several inboxes. Needless to say, the petitioners have gained attention – but what did this exercise cost them in terms of respect and credibility?

Bike Week at Tufts

Bike Week Poster webAlthough the weather may lead you to believe otherwise, it is now officially spring – and do you know what that means? It’s bike season! To celebrate, we have declared this week to be Bike Week at Tufts!
The Office of Sustainability and Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE) have teamed up to encourage everyone to get on a bike this spring! Whether you are looking for a bike or need help getting your bike roadworthy again, join us on March 27 (Wednesday) at the Upper Patio of the Campus Center during open block (12-2pm).   We have invited folks from Bikes not BombsBike BoomTUPDfBIKEMassRides, and our very own TuftsBikes to join us (see below).

We are also proud to introduce a Bike Map for the Medford campus to help you avoid the nastiest uphill climbs and improve your biking experience here at Tufts. Whether you bike for fun, to save time, save money, reduce your carbon footprint, or simply exercise, we think you’ll find something here to interest and help you.

Happy Spring! (It’s about time, right?)

New Eco-Ambassadors & Eco-Reps + Recyclemania 2013

2013 Medford January Eco-Ambassadors receive their certificates of completion from instructors Tina and Dani

As we continue to thaw out from the snowstorms, the Office of Sustainability is also shaking off its winter hibernation. We would like to congratulate our five new Eco-Ambassadors: Barbara Eisenhaure and Jennifer Carland, both from the Office of the Vice Provost; Sara Hepburn of Technology for Learning in the Health Sciences (within the School of Medicine);  Amey Callehan from Tisch Library; and Elizabeth Erenberg from the Music Department. They are now part of the group of Tufts staff and faculty who champion sustainability in the workplace and serve as “green” resources within their offices or departments.

We are also excited to welcome four new Eco-Reps this spring – “meet” them in the section below and read about what they are up to this semester! You may spot them at Dewick on Wednesdays from 6-7pm promoting Meatless Meals, but look out for Eco-Rep events within the dorms.

RecycleManiaStudent residents who think their dorm/house is the greenest on campus will get a chance to prove it: Tufts is once again competing in the annual RecycleMania Tournament. TuftsRecycles interns will be walking through Tufts dorms and off-campus houses grading recycling efforts. (The exact prize for the winning dorm is still under wraps, but you and your hallmates could win a party with incredible food and entertainment!) Interdorm recycling results and Tufts’ live Recyclemania standings are available online, so check them out and make sure to recycle everything you can – and tell your neighbors!

Finally, please remember that you are always welcome to drop in at the Office of Sustainability! We share a space with the Tufts Institute of Environment and Environmental Studies Program in Miller Hall (across the parking lot from Tufts Hillel). Among many other resources here at the Office, you can compost; recycle your chip bags, energy bar wrappers, batteries, and light bulbs; and even take a spin on a bicycle generator to charge your cellphone. We hope you visit us soon.

Stay Green!
Tufts Office of Sustainability

Tisch Library Undergraduate Research Award (Deadline: Mar 8)

Applications are now being accepted for the Tisch Library Undergraduate Research Award, recognizing outstanding use of the library’s collections and experts in the production of an exemplary research paper or project.

All currently registered undergrads are eligible. Winners must agree to contribute materials to a Tisch display and to submit their entry to the Tufts institutional repository. Projects/papers completed between January 2012 and March 8, 2013 (the deadline) are eligible. 

One $500 first prize and one $250 second prize will be awarded in each of three categories

·    Projects/papers completed for the first year writing program (ENG 1-4 or any course taken to fulfill the college writing requirement)

·    Projects/papers completed for 001-99 level courses

·    Projects/papers completed for 100-200 level courses

For more information

View the award information site (http://www.library.tufts.edu/tisch/award/info.html)

View last year’s winners (http://www.library.tufts.edu/tisch/award/winners.html)

Email the committee (tischlibraryawards@elist.tufts.edu)

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