Sustainability at Tufts

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Category: Events (page 3 of 65)

Eco Rep Update: Travel Green!

By Danielle Mulligan

Welcome back! Hopefully everyone enjoyed their week off and feels rejuvenated for part two of the spring semester. Some may have stayed on campus while others may have travelled back home or to warmer places in search of actual spring-like weather.   I personally love to travel when possible but struggle to balance that passion with my knowledge of the hugely negative environmental impacts of travelling. Starting from the ride to the airport and then the plane ride, I’m already leaving a huge carbon footprint!  How can we become more environmentally conscious travelers?

Since we’re back at school, it may be good time to just take a pause and think about our past week. Whether we stayed in our dorms, were home or were lying on the beaches of Cancun-what are ways in which we could have made our vacation time a little more eco-friendly?

Here are some tips from my own travel experiences and from the travel section in “The Green Book”-a book filled with different tips on how to change habits in all areas of our lives.

  1. If you are traveling to a place where tap water is not safe to drink, purchase a plaster water bottle with a filter.  It may seem a bit more expensive at first, but buying plastic bottles at every stop adds up and the environmental impact is huge!
  2. Look for alternative forms of transportation! Take a train instead of a plane. Walk instead of taking a taxi or renting a car-you are in a new place, and if it’s walkable why not take that extra time to be outside and explore a little?
  3. Bring a reusable bag for any of your shopping trips to the markets stalls or stores wherever you are visiting.
  4. Try adventure travel or eco-tourism –not only does eco-tourism generally have a much smaller negative impact on the environment, it also frequently channels money to positive environmental initiatives.
  5. Pack your own shampoo, soap and toothpaste and leave the hotels mini-bottles untouched.  To give some perspective, a 300-room hotel in Las Vegas uses more than 150,000 plastic bottles  of shampoo a year!

-Danielle

Eco Rep Update: Recyclemania!

The weather this past weekend was just GORGEOUS and we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did!

We have some exciting news to share… the first round of Recyclemania grades have been released! Woo!

Here are the results…

Screenshot 2014-03-10 13.01.07

Blakely Hall: C

Bush Hall: B

Carmichael Hall: C+

Haskell Hall: C-

Hill Hall: B-

Hodgdon Hall: B-

Houston Hall: C-

Lewis Hall: C

Metcalf: B

Miller Hall: C+

South Hall: C

Stratton Hall: B-

Tilton Hall: B-

West Hall: B-

Wren Hall: B+

The official report can be also be seen here.

It looks as though Wren Hall is in the lead! But have no fear  – If your dorm received a less-than-satisfactory grade, there is another round of grading just around the corner. The winner will be announced at this year’s Earthfest on April 11th! Speaking of which, keep an eye out for a clothes donation box in your dorm where you can drop off any gently used/unwanted clothing. What you may consider a former fashion faux pas may totally brighten someone else’s day. We appreciate very much your donations as we gear up for Earthfest!


Jamie Cordova
EcoRep, Miller Hall

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)

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