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Eco-Rep Update: End-of-Year Festivities!

-by Savannah Christiansen

The Eco-Reps are closing out the year in celebration of sustainability! We had a successful clothing swap at Earthfest on April 11th on the Academic Quad and many students walked away with new styles in hand. Why have a clothing swap anyway? Manufacturing new textiles can put a pretty heavy burden on the planet in terms of the amount of resources needed for manufacturing the fabric, putting it together and then shipping them to retail locations. Clothing swaps are an easy way for people to share existing clothing without using up any new resources!

We spoke with potential future students at Jumbo days on April 17th, 18th and 25th about the Eco-Rep program and the Office of Sustainability and encouraged students to keep their college move-in green with tips such as bringing reusable mugs to campus, using power strips and many more that you can check out here.

Savannah

On Sunday, April 28th the Reps enjoyed an end of the year celebration with sushi and bouncy castles on Fletcher Field. Wren Hall also got to participate in the festivities for winning Recyclemania. We hope all of our residents are ready to look out for us next year with more composting, in-dorm campaigns, eco events and more. See you then Tufts!

Sushi  EcoReps

Eco-Rep Update: Where We Eat, Live, and Play

The environment can be defined in many ways but my favorite is: where we eat, live, and play. I think it makes a lot of sense because the environment is not some abstract concept but our very surroundings, where we live, eat, study, and go to class. Our environment is Tufts! And it is undeniable that we love to keep our campus pretty. So it makes me wonder where the resources come from to keep our environment in tip top shape, the people who work here, and where our waste goes? What does it take to keep our environment clean?

Tufts does a great job of working to make Tufts a sustainable living space. However there are many improvements we can make as a community to ensure the impact we make is equitable and fair. In my Environmental Justice and World Literature class, we spoke about the many privileges we have of living in such a healthy environment and the disproportionate cost that can have on communities around us. We took a survey to see if we know for example, where our trash goes, where the salt we use to melt ice is stored, when the workers who help with upkeep of our environment come to work and where they live.

These are important questions to ask to understand how we affect our communities that surround Tufts and better understand the impacts we have. For starters, the salt is stored in Chelsea, and our waste is incinerated in Saurgus. These are communities that have been historically disproportionately affected by industries and have lower economic mobility. It is easy to think about the invisible processes that create the space we live in when we don’t always have to deal with them.  Our trash and snow don’t just disappear off campus. I am sure we can all remember the incredible workers who came to shovel snow off our roads to help make it safer for us to get to class at 3 AM in the morning, working in the biting cold.

This coming week, on Monday the 28th, the students in the Environmental Justice and World Literature class are holding an event to increase awareness of these issues of how our living practices at Tufts affect our surrounding communities. Hopefully, once we start thinking about the effects we have on other communities, we can start thinking about how to decrease these impacts. Knowledge is empowering and I hope that it will empower us to make the changes we should to promote sustainability at home and our surrounding communities!

-by Aparna Dasaraju

Eco-Rep Blog Post Double-Header!

Because it’s Earth Month, we actually have TWO Eco-Rep blog updates this week! Here’s your second:

Spring is here and it’s super busy for the Eco Reps! Recyclemania ended last Sunday (March 30) and the results of both the final round recycling scores and the overall winners of the competition can be found HERE. Remember, the dorm and house  that receive the highest recycling grades overall get to hang out in an inflatable bouncy house, which is totally awesome!

Individual Eco-Reps have been busy hosting their individual events in their dorms. Last Monday I hosted a composting-focused event where Houston Hall residents could grab a personal compost bin, eat chocolate “dirt” pudding and learn about composting in the dorm. I also know that a bunch of other Eco-Reps had their events this past week, like a ‘pot a plant’ event in Carmichael, a clothing swap in Wilson House and a jeopardy event in Hogdgon.

One big upcoming event this week is Earthfest. This Friday, April 11th, from 11 am to 2pm on the Academic Quad Tufts Sustainability Collective (TSC) will be hosting its annual Earthfest. Activities include bike riding, a green photo booth and local (free!) food. This will be an amazing opportunity to celebrate spring and learn about sustainability at Tufts and in the surrounding community. Also, the Eco Reps will be hosting a clothing swap, so be sure to swing by our booth to find some cool new additions to your spring wardrobe!

-Rachael (Houston Eco Rep)

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

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

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)

Eco-Rep Update: Living a Green Life

by Arshiya Goel

This week the Eco-reps had Dr. Jack Barbash as a guest speaker. A research chemist for the U.S. Geological Survey, he spoke to us about his job and his views on the green movement. I was especially inspired by his dedication to living sustainably. When he visited Boston from California, he took the train (a three day journey) instead of flying! We were all impressed by the amount of patience this takes and what a big difference it makes. Airplanes are the worst gas-guzzlers and have humongous carbon footprints, while trains use only a small percentage of that energy for the same distance travelled.

It’s not easy to forgo the ease of flying for long train journeys in order to reduce your carbon footprint, but the key to sustainable living is baby steps towards those big commitments! Here are a few simple ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and live green during college!

  • Recycle! Tufts recycles everything from paper, cardboard, hard plastics to aluminum foil and metals. Just look at the front of the bins on your floors.
  • Use CFL or LED bulbs. They use less energy and last for decades. Take your old bulbs to the Office of Sustainability (on the back of Miller Hall) to trade them in for a CFL!
  • Use cold wash when doing laundry. This is better for your clothes and uses a lot less energy.  To do this in the dorm laundry machines choose “woolens” or “bright colors”.
  • Plug your electronics into a power strip and remember to turn it off when you leave your room. This stops them from leaking “vampire energy”.
  • Compost your food scraps! Our dorm composts can compost nearly everything (but no meat, dairy or eggs, please).
  • Try to cut down on your shower time or just turn the faucet off while shampooing.
  • You can recycle batteries, ink cartridges, cell phones, and even electronic chargers. Look for the white boxes in your dorms and in some other buildings on campus!
  • REDUCE! Think about the packaged things you are buying and make choices that decrease the waste you produce.

For more information and tips you can ask any Eco-rep for a Green Guide. These are just small steps towards creating a sustainable lifestyle. Every decision you make can make a difference. With every step we take, we aim to collectively reduce our negative impact on the climate as a species. It’s not always easy and it’s rarely comfortable, but it is essential for our future on this planet. And maybe next time you need to travel from Boston to New York or Seattle to Portland you can consider taking a train and enjoying the beautiful scenery from ground level!

-Arshiya

The Latest From the Eco-Reps!

by Ellen Osborn

Hey there Tufts greenies!

recyclemaniaThe Eco-reps have been busy this week, just as I’m sure you have been! The semester is in full swing, especially with the kick-off of RECYCLEMANIA!!! The competition is officially on, so start obsessively sorting trash everywhere you go, but especially in your own dorm to win the inter-dorm competition and claim the epic prize at the end!

This week, residents of Hodgdon Hall taste-tested bottled and tap water during the Superbowl to see if they could taste the difference, as many big bottle companies claim most can. As Eco-Rep Arshiya Goel predicted, her residents mostly preferred the tap water! So fill those water bottles at the fountain without fear, Jumbos: you’re getting a great deal and saving the planet one plastic bottle at a time! Thanks to our guinea pigs, the wonderful residents of Hodgdon Hall, who were multi-tasking, taking their Superbowl time to create some fascinating new data in favor of sustainability!

cups morecups evenmorecups

Wren Hall is making green strides this week as well with the kick-off of a new DORM BAGS campaign. Piloted last semester, the project is back in full swing with lots of new bags and potential users! Residents are very excited for this new resource as thawing sidewalks start to make a trek to Whole Foods actually realistic. The bags can be signed out for a day and are set up in the lobby. They can be seen as you stroll by uphill, so take a peek! And, if you live in Wren, enjoy the new bags!

signupbags

-Ellen

 

Eco-Reps Update: SoHa Really is SoHawt

by Murvi Babalola

There’s a crazy rumor going around that South Hall is one of the hottest dorms (if not the hottest dorm) on campus. In the past few months that Jesse and I have been Eco-Reps here, I’ve come to the conclusion that if this is, indeed, a fact, it is largely due to the Eco-Reps’ presence in the dorm.

The Eco-Reps have been very active in South Hall these past few days. We revamped our compost facilities, re-launched our FreeCycle campaign, and hosted our Meet-and-Greet for the semester. One of our goals this semester was to keep the compost fresh, and what better way to do that than to put on the face of the Fresh Prince himself? By the end of the month, we plan to have compost bins on every floor with the faces on Will and Carlton on each of them, reminding residents to keep the compost fresh simply by closing the lid.

compost compost

Our Meet-and-Greet was great! We served milk and cookies in some compostable cups left over from our smoothie event last semester. Everyone that came through made a sustainability pledge, committing to perform at least one day-to-day action in a more sustainable way. They put these pledges on paper leaves, which will soon go up on the SoHa Sustain-a-Tree in the lovely eco-nook.

meetandgreet meetandgreet meet and greet

When SoHa residents heard about the Sustainable Selfie Contest, they were only too happy to pose with me, giving their best selfie faces. You saw it here first, folks; this is the start of a beautiful union between South Hall and the Eco-Reps.

selfie Selfie2 selfie selfie

It might be a little early to be talking, but to all the other dorms, WE’RE TAKING THE RECYCLEMANIA PRIZE THIS YEAR!

There’s really nothing cooler than being green.

captain planet

Until next week!

 

-Murvi