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Blog Update: “Unwrapping Building 574″ is Now Available!

The Office of Sustainability is proud to present Part 1 of Unwrapping Building 574, a three part blog on Tufts’ current building project.

Building 574 represents the future of sustainability on Tufts Campus, with green initiatives designed into the building. Due to the uniqueness of the site and age of the building, the project requires some unique initiative and planning to make such a concept feasible. Communications intern Timothy Grant interviewed Ray Santangelo, the project manager, and one of the building’s head architects, David Kasdish, on 574 and what it means for sustainability. Even without a background on the subject, the interview is fascinating and easy to follow. Part 1 includes the history of building and some initiatives to include sustainable design. Part 1 is Available Now!

Lunch and Learn Recap: Elena Naumova, Environmental Indicators of Enteric Infections and Water Safety in Southern India

Elena Naumova, director of the Tufts Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases (InForMid) and Associate Dean for Research at the Tufts School of Engineering, spoke last week as part of the Tufts Environmental Studies and Tufts Institute of the Environment Lunch and Learn program. Her presentation on the Environmental Indicators of Enteric Infections and Water Safety in Southern India covered student research projects sponsored through a collaboration between the Tufts School of Engineering and Christian Medical College in Vellore, India.

 A mathematician by training, Naumova emphasized the importance of translating data into usable information that allows for action and policy.

Naumova began by laying out the importance of preventing waterborne diseases. Globally, there are 4 billion cases of diarrhea annually, 2.2 million of which lead to death. Of those 2.2 million, 80% of the deaths are among infants. Unsafe water is a large factor in these diseases.

Modern mathematical tools allow for an understanding of waterborne outbreaks in “temporal and spatial patterns”, Naumova said. “Practically all waterborne diseases exhibit strong seasonal patterns distinct for a specific pathogen in a given population [and] locality”, in a phenomenon known

as seasonality. An example familiar to New England residents, of course, would be the peaks of flu that occur in the winter. “Variability in seasonal characteristics can provide clues on important factors influencing disease occurrence, exposure, [and] spread.” These environmental factors, when they are within human control, could be a key to disease prevention. Climate change, however, will affect our ability to use these seasonal indicators as the patterns we have come to recognize begin to shift radically.

Naumova further presented statistics on the seasonality of cryptosporidiosis in the United States and the United Kingdom, salmonellosis in the United Status, and rotavirus in India.

She then laid out two studies conducted by some of her students, Dr. Stefan Collinet-Adler, Andrea Brown, Alexandra Kulinkina, and Negin Ashoori. Both studies examined the transmission of infectious diarrhea in 300 urban and rural households in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, India. The first study focused on the role of flies, which can carry pathogens such as norovirus, salmonella, and rotavirus. In the tests conducted, 72% of the flies tested positive for potential human pathogens. The second study used GIS to map ground water quality and distribution systems in Vellore.

Naumova here noted the importance of recognizing the difference between water quality and quantity: the focus of these studies was on quality, for lack of water leads to other severe problems but obviously cannot cause waterborne diseases.

Elena said she is always looking for students who are interested in going abroad and conducting research and will do whatever she can to make that possible!

Eco-Reps Update: Green Campus!

-by Angie Bell

If you’ve mastered composting and are looking for more ways to show your sustainability spirit, now is a great time to start! There are some really awesome events coming up soon that are sure to get you pumped to go green.

As you may already know, RecycleMania is in full swing! Keep up that meticulous recycling because trash is still being graded until the end of March. Preliminary grading put Tilton, Carpenter House and Wilson House in the lead with A minuses, but it’s not too late for your dorm to take the lead! If you have any questions about what is recyclable in your dorm, your Eco-rep is here to help! Also, keep in mind that the whole of the Tufts Meford campus will get a collective grade and then be compared to other schools. This is a great chance to show that environmental responsibility is a priority here at Tufts!  Results will be out the first week of April, and the winning dorm gets to bounce around in one of these babies:

If that doesn’t spark your competitive spirit, I don’t know what will!

If you are interested in energy usage (we know we are!), the Tufts Energy Conference is another event coming up on March 8-9. The theme of this year’s conference is “Shifting Dynamics in Emerging Markets” and it will feature several experts and professionals as keynote speakers, an energy showcase of innovative projects and technologies, interactive small-group discussions, and an exciting competition where student innovators can pitch projects to win seed funding.  Whether you’re already an expert or you just want to get your toes wet, this is a great opportunity to learn from the pros!  If you want to learn more about the conference or register to attend, visit the conference website. And while you’re at it, reduce your energy usage in the dorm by:

  • Unplugging electronics
  • Turning of your power strip
  • Turning off your laptop overnight
  • Turning off the lights when you’re not around
  • Choosing the woolens setting on the washing machines (they do the same job with less energy!)

As always, if you have any questions regarding these events or sustainability in the dorms, contact your friendly neighborhood Eco-rep for answers! Hope you all have a wonderful (and environmentally-friendly) week!

–Angie (Eco-rep for Carm)

The Latest From the Eco-Reps!

by Ellen Osborn

Hey there Tufts greenies!

recyclemaniaThe Eco-reps have been busy this week, just as I’m sure you have been! The semester is in full swing, especially with the kick-off of RECYCLEMANIA!!! The competition is officially on, so start obsessively sorting trash everywhere you go, but especially in your own dorm to win the inter-dorm competition and claim the epic prize at the end!

This week, residents of Hodgdon Hall taste-tested bottled and tap water during the Superbowl to see if they could taste the difference, as many big bottle companies claim most can. As Eco-Rep Arshiya Goel predicted, her residents mostly preferred the tap water! So fill those water bottles at the fountain without fear, Jumbos: you’re getting a great deal and saving the planet one plastic bottle at a time! Thanks to our guinea pigs, the wonderful residents of Hodgdon Hall, who were multi-tasking, taking their Superbowl time to create some fascinating new data in favor of sustainability!

cups morecups evenmorecups

Wren Hall is making green strides this week as well with the kick-off of a new DORM BAGS campaign. Piloted last semester, the project is back in full swing with lots of new bags and potential users! Residents are very excited for this new resource as thawing sidewalks start to make a trek to Whole Foods actually realistic. The bags can be signed out for a day and are set up in the lobby. They can be seen as you stroll by uphill, so take a peek! And, if you live in Wren, enjoy the new bags!

signupbags

-Ellen

 

Register Now – Local Environmental Action Conference 2014!

On Sunday, March 2nd, Northeastern University will host Local Environmental Action 2014, New England’s premiere environmental grassroots conference. Join community leaders, environmental advocates and activists from across New England for an exciting day of skills training, workshops, networking, and inspiration. This year’s event will be hosted by MCAN and Toxics Action Center. Student admission is $20.

Whether you have been to every conference or are attending for the first time, be sure not to miss this opportunity to connect and grow Boston’s grassroots movement. Eager participants should register here for the event!

Eco-Reps Update: SoHa Really is SoHawt

by Murvi Babalola

There’s a crazy rumor going around that South Hall is one of the hottest dorms (if not the hottest dorm) on campus. In the past few months that Jesse and I have been Eco-Reps here, I’ve come to the conclusion that if this is, indeed, a fact, it is largely due to the Eco-Reps’ presence in the dorm.

The Eco-Reps have been very active in South Hall these past few days. We revamped our compost facilities, re-launched our FreeCycle campaign, and hosted our Meet-and-Greet for the semester. One of our goals this semester was to keep the compost fresh, and what better way to do that than to put on the face of the Fresh Prince himself? By the end of the month, we plan to have compost bins on every floor with the faces on Will and Carlton on each of them, reminding residents to keep the compost fresh simply by closing the lid.

compost compost

Our Meet-and-Greet was great! We served milk and cookies in some compostable cups left over from our smoothie event last semester. Everyone that came through made a sustainability pledge, committing to perform at least one day-to-day action in a more sustainable way. They put these pledges on paper leaves, which will soon go up on the SoHa Sustain-a-Tree in the lovely eco-nook.

meetandgreet meetandgreet meet and greet

When SoHa residents heard about the Sustainable Selfie Contest, they were only too happy to pose with me, giving their best selfie faces. You saw it here first, folks; this is the start of a beautiful union between South Hall and the Eco-Reps.

selfie Selfie2 selfie selfie

It might be a little early to be talking, but to all the other dorms, WE’RE TAKING THE RECYCLEMANIA PRIZE THIS YEAR!

There’s really nothing cooler than being green.

captain planet

Until next week!

 

-Murvi

Apply to Live in the Tufts Green House Today!

Do you love our beautiful blue-green planet? Do you have a passion for the outdoors or a hankering for increased efficiency indoors? Do you enjoy windowsill gardens and casual kitchen conversations? If you answered YES to these questions… Today’s your lucky day because the application deadline for the Tufts Green House in Latin Way has been extended! The application, which you can fill out online, is open until this Thursday, February 13 at midnight. Take some time to fill it out if you have an interest in living in the house next year. Message the current residents of the Green House at their Facebook page or email them at tuftsgreenhouse@gmail.com with any questions about applications!

WSSS Research Fellowship

DEADLINE: Monday, Feb. 17, 11:59AM
 The Tufts Institute for the Environment (TIE) is pleased to announce that the application period for the 2014 Water: Systems, Science, and Society (WSSS) Research Fellowship is now open. WSSS Fellowships are given to top students enrolled in Tufts’ WSSS program, and are meant to support interdisciplinary research with a core area of focus in the WSSS program. The Fellowship provides up to $4,000 for research purposes, access to academic and career support, and support to advance student research in professional publications and conferences. 

     Please see the WSSS Request for Proposals, which describes the Fellowship program and its requirements. Submit your proposal before the deadline to Theresa Silver at theresa.silver@tufts.edu. If you have any questions about the program or the application process please do not hesitate to contact any of the TIE staff.

Sustainable Selfies Contest!

sustainable.selfies.logoYOU’RE INVITED… TO TAKE SELFIES! 

Who: Tufts University students, staff, and faculty

What: A contest involving selfies, sustainability, and prizes!

When: All semester long!

How: IT’S EASY!  Each week on Monday, we’ll post a prompt on Facebook (“take a picture of yourself negotiating a climate change action treaty” – they’ll be a bit easier than that). Post your selfie to our Facebook page, then encourage your friends, family, colleagues, pets, etc. to like your photo. Whichever photo gets the most likes before the next prompt will win one of our weekly prizes! Plus, whoever takes the photo with the most likes over the course of the semester will win our GRAND PRIZE!

So just to reiterate: snap the selfie, post it to Facebook, accumulate likes, win big!

Why: Prizes! Glory! Plus you’ll learn a ton about sustainability at Tufts and beyond in the meantime.

Some logistics: You need to be in each photo (it’s a selfie!), but feel free to do group pics. Also, you can only win one weekly prize, but make sure to keep participating for the GRAND PRIZE!

GET STARTED NOWLike us on Facebook for the latest info. The first prompt will be up on Monday, February 3rd! Get your polaroids/digital cameras/phones/Google Glasses ready!

Here are some of the prizes at stake:

Spaghetti Scrub

Spaghetti Scrub

Black + Blum lunch box

Black + Blum lunch box

Citrus Zinger

Citrus Zinger

Three Days of TELI-G

For a graduate interested in environmental concerns, it doesn’t get much better than the TELI-G workshop.

Originally designed as a week-long conference for educators, the 2014 TELI-G seminar was a condensed format that ran from January 17th-19. Held in the Chase Center, it also had the unique distinction of being designed for graduates, allowing Boston students to partake in the Tufts Institute of the Environment’s (TIE) prestigious event.

Photo Jan 19, 1 52 01 PM

As a student personally interested in Water issues, I was fortunate enough to be chosen in the handful of participants for the year. True to TIE’s advocation of inter-disciplinary  study, the students were from a large assortment of academic backgrounds: The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts Engineering School, Tufts Medicine, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy were a selection of the schools represented amongst the students.

Led by the charismatic and enthusiastic director of TIE, Antje Danielson, as well as staff from the TIE office, students were exposed to a variety of issues and methods for

considering complex water issues in our Environment. Friday was composed of a day long introduction to Water considerations, led by Tufts academics highly versed in the problem. Saturday culminated in a day long negotiation simulation on water crisis, with students participating in a multilateral exercise to understand the complexity of such a dilemma. Sunday involved discussions, information sessions, and opportunities for students to create feasible water projects with the opportunity to be funded by a TIE grant.

I was personally impressed by both the breadth and utility of the information provided. Students were able to gain useful skill sets to apply to their studies. Over the course of three days, I learned about Systems Thinking, Systems Mapping, and Social Network Analysis, all under the umbrella of environmental water concerns but capable of being adapted to any field of study. We were even instructed on utilizing online technology for finding research by one of Tufts’ highly skilled librarians.

Photo Jan 19, 1 51 18 PM

Overall, by the end of one weekend, I found myself resolved to studying the issue further. I came out of TELI-G not only with the ability to speak credibly on the complexity of water issues, but also with developed skills useful for any range of academia. Most importantly, I was educated on a complex issue and taught to look at the concept from multiple perspectives in order to create an effective solution.

Timothy Grant
Communications Intern, Tufts Office of Sustainability
Graduate Student, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy