Category: People (page 3 of 31)

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.

160129_1051_green109.JPG

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.

160129_1051_green139.JPG

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

Less is More…or so we’ve heard

     Why does this popular adage seem to be the linchpin of all sustainability efforts? Let’s begin by defining “sustainability”, a buzzword we all love to use but might not always know how to articulate. According to the World Commission on Environment and Development:

     Sustainable development should “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

     Nowhere in this definition is “buy less” or “use less” explicitly stated, yet there seems to be a general understanding that we just might need to cut back on something if we are to sustain healthy and equitable societies.

us-climate-talksImage source

     The desire to consider how our lifestyles impact other humans, animals, and resources should spark excitement and collaboration amongst those of us eager to preserve the people’s and planet’s prosperity. Unfortunately, it’s easy to see the distressing statistics indicating an inevitable climate apocalypse and resort to crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.

     It’s true. A zero carbon footprint is virtually unattainable and arguably, not too desirable. (We’re all for a plastic-free lifestyle, but aren’t quite sure we’re ready to go shower-free juuust yet.)

Continue reading

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.

 

 

Know Tomorrow Boston (Friday, October 2nd)

When: Friday, October 2nd
Where: Ritz-Carlton Grand Ballroom, Boston, MA
Time: 2:00-6:30 PM
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/486754288152817/

Climate change stops here. This is our planet, and our only chance. Students are a social and political force to be reckoned with when their voice is energized and heard – so let’s make some noise!

You’re invited to the first-ever “KNOW TOMORROW Day of Action”—a major national movement taking place on Friday, October 2nd that will unite thousands of college students, activists, politicians, corporations and celebrities to take action on climate change.

Throughout the Day of Action, students at more than 50 universities in America will host large-scale events on campus, ranging from concerts and performances to speakers, road races and activity fairs.

Boston students – representing 12 colleges and universities in the area – are leading the charge, gathering at the Ritz Carlton on the Boston Common for an afternoon of music and speakers. From 2pm-6pm, students from BC, BU, Tufts, Harvard, Northeastern, Wellesley, and many more, will get loud for climate action with the help of Honorary Co-Host and Massachusetts Senator, Ed Markey (who will also be speaking at the event around 5:45pm), musicians such as Outasight and Speedy Ortiz and several climate change activists and organizations.

With the support of partners like Ben and Jerry’s and Goldman Sachs to The Climate Reality Project, The Ian Somerhalder Foundation and Shepard Fairey, the Day of Action is poised to be a momentous day for climate action.

This is your call to action, and your chance to make a difference. You can help secure our tomorrow. Know tomorrow.

Tufts Sustainability Collective GIM

If you are interested in sustainability issues from food to fuel don’t miss the Tufts Sustainability Collective’s GIM on Tuesday, September 22nd at 9:00 PM in the Crane Room. Stop by to learn about how to get involved withTufts’ umbrella sustainability organization and meet the club leaders.

 

Untitled-2

 

 

Older posts Newer posts