Participants in the Eco-Ambassador program are eligible to receive a sustainability grant of $200 towards a sustainability initiative or project in their office or department.
Last year, Lynne Ramsey, an Eco-Ambassador in the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO), noticed that participants in the Center’s summer workshops for children were using up to 5 disposable cups a day during snack breaks. So for this summer’s sessions, Lynne used her grant to purchase CEEO-branded reusable plastic cups from a local producer. All workshop attendees, instructors, and CEEO’s undergraduate student workers received a cup. Lynne estimates that the initiative eliminates the waste of over 5,000 disposable cups.
The cups not only replaced single-use paper cups during the event but also display information about the waste and deforestation created by paper cups every year. In this way Lynne’s initiative fulfilled a key principle of sustainable events: to extend sustainable behavior and awareness beyond the single event and into the future.
Lynne and CEEO hope to continue the initiative into the future, incorporating reusables into all of their summer workshops.
For more information about sustainable event principles as well as checklists to guide you through hosting your own events, review or download our Green Event Resources ebook.
Learn more about the Eco-Ambassador program and consider applying to become a sustainability leader in your office.
So a few days ago, the microwave in our office broke.
*This is a dramatic reenactment using an image from the interwebs and NOT what actually happened to our microwave.
Naturally we were all pretty upset. We all bring lunch from home and many of us like to heat up our soups, casseroles, and other leftovers.
Before we could panic, though, someone had the great idea to ask the Tufts Freecycle Elist to help us out!
The Freecycle Elist was started by an Eco-Ambassador, Stacie Simon, and anyone from the Tufts community can join. Whether you’ve got furniture or office supplies you no longer need but that is still in good condition or you’re looking for something specific (like a microwave!), the e-list is a great first resource. It’s all about reuse and free exchange.
Sure enough, the same day we sent out our plea for help, another Eco-Ambassador, Lynne Ramsey, wrote us back with a microwave to offer! We had it in our office and up and running within a couple of days. It was totally free and we helped Lynne clear out her basement a bit. 😉
Our new-used microwave looks much better and is working great!
You could have success with the Tufts Freecycle E-list too! Sign up today to not only get emails whenever someone posts about an item (chairs, rugs, printers, ink, lamps, etc.) they’re giving away — but also reach out when you’re looking for something! You never know what treasures someone else is holding onto.
Grafton will be celebrating Earth Day at Elm’s Cafe from 12:00-1:00 PM on Friday, April 22.
Be sure to stop by the celebration for the chance to win prizes!
Zero Waste Challenge
Zero Waste Week will take place from April 18-22. Bring your bag to Elm’s Cafe on Friday, April 22 from 12:00-1:00 PM to be entered into a raffle for an earth-friendly gift!
To get your Zero Waste Week kit, fill out this form or re-use a clear bag.
- Put any waste you do not recycle or compost in the bag
- Exception: 1 time use water bottles go in the bag!
- No biohazards (tampons, used condoms, etc.)
- The bag should be attached to the outside of your backpack or bag at all times.
In the 2013 Campus Sustainability Council Report, Tufts committed to increasing the amount of items that are reused at the university as part of its broader waste reduction efforts and commitment to fostering a cradle-to-cradle economy. Tufts’ Freecycle Elist was created by Eco-Ambassador Stacie Simon and is an important tool for increasing the reuse of items at the university by diverting still functional equipment, furniture, and supplies from the waste stream.
The elist provides a platform for exchanging items that individuals or offices at Tufts no longer need but might be of use to others, and it is open to all members of the Tufts community. The elist can be used for the exchange of work-related items or personal items – all for free.
Examples of items that might be exchanged include the following:
- AV equipment (not owned by TTS)
- Lab equipment (not owned by school)
- Office lamps
- Bookshelves and filing cabinets
- Computer chairs
- Appliances for kitchenettes/breakrooms
- Personal copiers/printers
- Office workstations and desks
- Conference tables
- Area rugs
- Office supplies (e.g. printer cartridges, file folders)
- Children’s items and toys
- Personal electronics (e.g. printers, TVs)
- Home furniture
Click here to sign up for the elist, and search for the Freecycle list. Once you have subscribed to the list, you will be able to send messages to the group regarding items you would like to freecycle and receive messages from others. Messages should include an item description, location, and photo (if available).
A Conversation with Karin Barry and Anita Robbins
The Green Team and Eco-Ambassadors at Tufts Support Services (TSS)—located in the blue and white structure and sandwiched between the Hangar and Pearson Hall—have been working hard to implement more sustainability initiatives within their new building. Karin Barry and Anita Robbins, along with their team members Lauren MacDonald, Maureen Hallett, and Andrea Carlino, have been able to implement composting in the office, which was originally received with skepticism but is now in such high demand that they need to empty their compost bin two to three times a week; light sensors and prompts to remind employees to turn off lights when not in use; water filters to encourage use of reusable water bottles and glasses; and the end of disposable utensils and dishes in the office—employees bring in their own flatware to use and clean at the office or utilize communal options. They are currently looking into vendors to help the office go paperless, which would make a huge impact on the waste in the office. They are also making strides to incorporate the ease of a Keurig without the waste of the disposable cups by testing out different reusable cups options.
Karin Barry (right from center), Anita Robbins (right of Karin), and others from Tufts Support Services receive the Office’s Gold level Green Office Certification.
Both Karin and Anita have been involved in sustainability for years now. They were in the first few classes of the Eco-Ambassador program and started due to an interest in the environment. In fact, Anita first enrolled because of her time as a temp at a recycling center, and because she “used to be a hippie.” Together with their team, they have figured out a system for successfully running sustainability programs in their office. They take turns emptying compost and meet regularly to address any issues brought to their attention from coworkers and to work on their Green Office Certification checklist.And the key to the TSS Green Team’s success is that the different departments in the building share the same upper management. With encouragement from President Monaco, upper management has fully endorsed sustainability initiatives, which as been instrumental in bringing about more success with colleagues in adopting changes.
This is not to say that their work has been easy; reactions to the group’s efforts started off rocky, but the TSS director stepped in and spoke up. The Green Team feels motivated when they encounter pushback, seeing office behavior change as a challenge or even a game. And they say that witnessing the change in people around them is the most rewarding part of their work. Now, they notice colleagues asking more questions and have watched people pick up new sustainable attitudes as second nature. They have hope that their colleagues will eventually work to bring these behaviors and habits home with them.
Tufts Support Services makes a pledge to go Platinum by the end of this year!
To have a successful office sustainability program, Karin and Anita recommend getting upper management on board when starting on this path. Upper management can work to reinforce the programs and initiatives which gets the ball rolling and bring integrity and respect to the projects. They also advise starting small and building up from there. But, above all else, Karin and Anita emphasize the importance of collaborating with others in the office and working as a team and support system to affect behavioral changes.
Want more resources for making sustainable changes in office spaces or encouraging colleagues to live green? Sign up to be an Eco-Ambassador to make real changes in your office and reduce your environmental impact.