Category: Eco-Ambassadors (page 1 of 3)

Freecycle to the Rescue!

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. 😉

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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 Earth Day Celebration & Zero Waste Week

Pledge - Cummings

Earth Day

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.

Challenge Rules:

  • 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.

Join the Tufts Freecycle Elist

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).

Sustainability Spotlight—Tufts Support Services:

A Conversation with Karin Barry and Anita Robbins

 

Sustainability Spotlight

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.

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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.

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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.

Unexpectedkindness is themost powerful,least costly, andmost underratedagent of humanchange

Sustainability Spotlight—Provost Office:

A Conversation with Mac Montana

 

Sustainability Spotlight—Provost Office- A Conversation with Mac Montana (1)

When Mac Montana, Special Projects Coordinator at the Provost’s Office, set out to complete the checklist for Tufts’ Green Office Certification Program, he didn’t realize the wide range of sustainability initiatives he would be working to bring to the Provost’s Office.

To get started, Mac identified a number of objectives on the checklist for the office to work toward. Thanks to this effort, the Provost’s Office has now made a commitment to buy 100% recycled paper and run meetings and events with little to no disposables (thanks in part to a permanent set of glassware and staff-donated food storage containers). The office even provides pre-filled MBTA cards that can be signed out for travel between campuses; this incentive to use public transportation comes at a low cost to the office and no cost to employees. Mac also put together a Living Green Agreement for employees to select their own sustainability goals to keep up with, while helping to track the office’s changes in sustainable attitudes and behaviors. These efforts culminated in the Office of the Provost’s Silver Green Office Certification.

01/29/2016 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. - The Eco Ambassador and Green Office Certification Ceremony and Reception on January 29, 2016. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

Mac Montana (center) and others from the Office of the Provost receives Green Office Certification from President Monaco.

Mac is a part of the Ballou Hall Green Team, which has introduced compost bins on every floor of the building. The team also hosted an event in October called “Trick or Trade.” Employees were encouraged to trade in their personal electronic waste (e-waste), to be recycled by Facilities, for fall goodies. This event was such a success that the employees who weren’t able to bring all of their e-waste did their own e-waste disposal projects at home.

Encouraging sustainable behavior is no easy feat. Along the road, Mac has encountered some challenges. In fact, he was not always part of the effort towards environmental sustainability. There was a time, when he worked in the Office for the Dean of Arts and Sciences, that he thought making the changes suggested by the office’s Eco-Ambassador took too much effort and didn’t matter much. But, he is a self-described convert to the cause. He got involved and realized the work he was doing is both important and rewarding.

Office of the Provost makes the pledge to get the Gold level Green Office Certification by the end of this year!

Whenever Mac encounters barriers in his sustainability efforts, he responds to negative reactions with humor and positivity. He feels that these small behavioral changes are a small price to pay for the benefit we all get from them. For instance, even though compost can be stinky, a huge volume of waste gets diverted from the landfill because people choose to compost their food scraps every day. And Mac finds a reward in seeing people’s definition of normal change over time. As he describes enthusiastically, “It’s cool to watch people save one-sided paper to print on the other side, and even ask for someone else’s when they have run out.” That is a significant shift in behavior from when he first started.

To anyone looking for advice in making sustainability a priority in your office, Mac has a few pieces of advice. He recognizes that “change is hard, but it is easy to keep going once [colleagues] start adjusting. Inertia is a beautiful thing.” He also says to look for low hanging fruit. There are a lot of possibilities for change, but based on the office’s behaviors, some may be easier to start with than others. So, work to change culture bit by bit, and people will be more open to making more changes. Who knows? They may even begin to bring these behaviors home with them. After all, as Mac wisely notes, “Sustainability rocks!”

Want more resources for making sustainable changes in office spaces or encouraging colleagues to live green? Check out our Green Office Resources for a list of simple changes you can make in the office to reduce your environmental impact.

 

 

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