Sustainability at Tufts

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Category: Food (page 1 of 9)

Eco-Reps Update: New Events!!!

There have been many Eco-Rep Events this month all that involve sustainability, environmental awareness and empowering Tufts students.

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Compost and Mud Pies

Last week a composting event was held at Houston at which residents learned how to compost, what to compos,t and the purpose of composting. To give a creative spin, the Eco-Rep Rachel Grudt and residents made delectable compostable deserts called ‘mud pies’.

Environmental Jeopardy

On Thursday, Bush and Hodgdon hosted a joint event of Environmental Jeopardy, where residents from both dorms participated in answering Jeopardy questions about composting, recycling, and basic environmental facts. This event also had a make-your-own-fajita Chipotle bar!

Get ready for Earthfest happening on April 11th—and look out for the clothing swap where second-hand clothes are free for the taking! Hang out on the academic quad starting from 11 to 2 pm to see it for yourself!

 

-by Hayley Ernyey

Tufts Eco-Reps Keep Busy This Week!

We don’t know how we did it, but the Tufts Eco-Reps managed to survive another week of environmental overload! In a good way, of course!

We kicked off the week on Tuesday with a Hodgdon-Bush movie night! First, a talk was given by Maragaret Garcia, a PhD student with the Civil Engineering Department and member of the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) water diplomacy program.

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She shared her personal experiences and motivation for pursuing a career focused around water diplomacy and concluded with a question and answer session. The talk was a unique opportunity and provided a wonderful segue into the movie Last Call at the Oasis, written and directed by Jessica Yu, which urged viewers to be more conscious about the world’s current and impending water crisis.

 

Following on Thursday, the Eco-Reps teamed up for shifts at the Dewick-MacPhie dining hall where a display was set up to educate diners about our program. The display featured the compost program within the dorms and dining halls, a compost continuum showcasing the progression from food waste to nutrient-rich soil, the benefits associated with meatless meals, and a general introduction to the Eco-Rep program for any interested students.

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The table was a success with almost all of our program’s stickers being handed out to students who eagerly slapped them onto their newly received “Choose to Reuse” reusable Nalgene water bottles. The bottles were provided courtesy of the university as part of an initiative to reduce the use of disposable plastic water bottles.

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Friday proved to be no less hectic when the Eco-Reps were asked by the non-profit Reverb to host another table at the Eco-Village for the Campus Consciousness Tour featuring Grouplove. Before the concert started, the Reps attended a meet and greet session with the members of Grouplove.

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The team then set up a table next to other volunteers and organizations such as Ben & Jerry’s where concertgoers could explore sustainability both within and outside of the university. The concert was a loud success, as we rocked our way to a greener tomorrow.

Finally, the week wrapped up with free smoothies in Bush Hall! The Eco-Reps paired up with the ACE fellows to show students how to eat sustainably and stay healthy during the coming exam period. The event was a refreshing end to what was another crazy week for the Tufts Eco-Reps.

Keep an eye out for us on campus, and until next week, don’t forget to stay green, stay fresh, and stay kale (…what?).

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?

Earth Week – Past and Future!

We here at the Office of Sustainability have trouble containing our excitement about all things environmental. So we decided that the best way to celebrate Earth Day was with not one but TWO weeks of activities! If you missed the first week, you can still get in on the fun with a variety of happenings (see below!).
Clothing Swap
Last week our Eco-Reps held a session on natural spas, and on Sunday we joined student groups on campus for EarthFest 2013! It was a beautiful day – the Eco-Reps held another successful clothing swap (look at all those clothes!), we tested students’ recycling IQs, students from a Climate Justice course presented their final project, and MORE!
Workhorse Reusable Shopping BagWe have also extended our Earth Week Scavenger Hunt for another week! Snap some cool pictures of specific items and people around campus, post them to our Twitter or Facebook pages, and you could win a cool reusable shopping bag that folds into its own pouch and is small enough to carry in a purse or pocket.

It is important to remember, however, that Earth Day (Earth Week, Earth Month) is just a greater surge in what should be a year-round effort. Make a change today, small or large. Take advantage of the many resources available on our website and blog, submit events and comments to help us improve, and always feel free to actually stop by to talk! Many thanks also to Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE), the Environmental Studies department, and Tufts Sustainability Collective for all that they do!

Also happening this week:
If you live in a dorm at Tufts, don’t forget to take our short survey about the Tufts Eco-Rep program. By completing the survey, you will be entered into a raffle for $50!

Earth Week Events

Please join the Office of Sustainability for a free viewing of YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip! “Called to action by a planet in peril, three friends hit the road – traveling with hope, humor, and all of their garbage – to explore every state in America (the good, the bad…and the weird) in search of the extraordinary innovators and citizens who are tackling humanity’s greatest environmental crises.” Expect to laugh, learn – and enjoy some FREE Flatbread PIZZA while you’re at it!
In addition to the  screening of YERT, here is a selection of Earth Week events happening on the Tufts campus or in the area!

And as always… Stay Green!

Real Food Challenge GIM 2/27

REAL FOOD CHALLENGE GIM

Are you interested in sustainability,

social justice, or just eating good food?

Do you care about how or where your food was grown,

who grew it, or what it tastes like?

Does “real food” mean anything to you?

 

Whether “real food” already means a lot to you, or you just want to learn more about what it is and how we can bring more of it to Tufts, come to our GIM!

 

When: Wednesday, February 26th, 7pm

Where: Eaton 202

Who: A group of enthusiastic, committed food-lovers who want to work to be in control of what we eat in the dining halls while also acting as catalysts to transform the way our food system works on a larger scale.

What: A GIM to learn more about the Real Food Challenge, its platform, and how we as students can work with this organization to initiate change within the food system on campus.

 

Additional Info: http://db.realfoodchallenge.org/schools/150

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