Tufts Gets Green

Office of Sustainability's Blog

Category: Food (page 3 of 14)

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!

Program Manager, Greening Forward (various locations)

Greening Forward is a youth-driven, youth-imagined environmental network of 1,500 young changemakers. Our collective impact engages 10,000 community members in campaigns that recycle 60 tons of waste, plant over 200 trees, and save over 155,000 gallons of water. Our Program Manager supports the indirect and direct needs of our program team.

 

There is no deadline to apply, but applicants are encouraged to do so as soon as possible!

 

Learn more/apply.

Sierra Student Coalition Leadership Training (Various Locations)

The Sierra Student Coalition is taking applications for Sprog, its award winning grassroots leadership training
led by and for young organizers. For over 20 years, Sprog has ushered new energy into the environmental movement by creating a safe and fun atmosphere for young people to learn how to run real campaigns that win.
 
The SSC is offering six Sprog trainings this summer:
·         Northwest Sprog (6/23-30 – Girl Scout Camp Evergreen, Longview WA)
·         Mid-Atlantic Sprog (7/10-14 – Baltimore, MD) *note* this Sprog is the only Sprog happening in a city
·         Midwest Sprog (7/14-21 – Bradford Woods, Martinsville, IN)
·         Puerto Rico Sprog (7/22-29 – Campamento Maria Emilia, Añasco PR)  *this Sprog is held entirely in Spanish.
·         Southeast/Gulf-Coast Sprog (7/28 – 8/4 – Girl Scout Camp Wahi, Brandon MS)
·         Southwest/California Sprog (8/11-18 – Foster Lodge, Mount Laguna CA)
 
Applicants may apply directly at the above links. Teachers and mentors may also nominate them to attend here.
Applicants interested in a tuition or travel scholarship may apply for one here.
Got more questions? Check out our FAQ’s or email the SSC’s Training and Leadership Development Director: tim.harlan-marks@sierraclub.org.

Aramark + Student Conservation Association Paid Internships (various locations)

ARAMARK has partnered with the Student Conservation Association to hire 27 part- and full-time paid sustainability interns across the country starting in May. Projects will include nutrition education, sourcing local food, improving waste management practices and more.

 

Learn more and apply.

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