Sustainability at Tufts

Category: People (page 4 of 29)

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!

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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!




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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Until next week!



Eco Reps Update: Welcome Back to Tufts!

Hello fellow Jumbos! The Eco-Reps are so excited for a new semester of being green. We are pleased to welcome some new Eco-Reps to our team:

Savannah Christiansen, a sophomore majoring in Environmental Studies and English, will now be repping in Hill Hall. Danielle Mulligan, a freshman from Chicago, is also interested in Environmental Studies and will be an Eco-Rep in Tilton. Hayley Ernyey has returned to her position as an Eco-Rep from a semester in Vietnam; she will be in West Hall while she studies International Relations this semester. Also joining our team is Aparna Dasaraju, a sophomore who will be the second Eco-Rep in Carmichael Hall.

Along with some new faces, the Eco-Reps have some new practices this semester. First of all, compost use will be revamped. This semester, reps will be checking and removing the compost regularly, and each dorm will have a central compost removal hub outside. Dorm dwellers will have the pleasure of knowing whenever their Rep has checked the compost, by viewing the checklist posted at each bin:


The bins will be checked on Mondays and Thursdays each week, which will be evident from the sign in sheet.

 Additionally, the Eco-Reps will each be in charge of presenting to the rest of the group about an environmental issue during our weekly meetings. Each of us will get the chance to impart to the group what makes us passionate about the environment, and learn about a variety of others’ interests in the process.

Look out for the Eco-Reps in the upcoming weeks at our meet-and-greets! Hope to see y’all there.

Lunch and Learn Recap: Alicia Hunt

This week’s Lunch and Learn, an initiative of the Environmental Studies Department, featured Alicia Hunt, director of Energy and the Environment for the city of Medford.  Ms. Hunt spoke to a packed room of students, professors, community members, representatives of the Tufts Institute for the Environment and the Office of Sustainability, and President Monaco himself!

aliciahuntMs. Hunt began with an overview of city demographics and background. Medford was actually the fourth English settlement in North America! Today, the city is home to 56,000 residents, but it is also 1/3 green space, including The Fells.

Medford has also long been a trendsetter in environmental and sustainability innovation. Its Go Green Medford initiative has placed the city at the vanguard nationally. In 2002, Medford switched all its traffic lights over to LED – revolutionary at the time, but now the standard of efficiency. In 2004, its city hall was the first in Massachusetts to receive the Energy Star Plaque, and in 2009 Medford built the first municipal-scale wind turbine at a school in Massachusetts. “We love to be first” with everything green, said Hunt.

In fact, Medford has gotten so good at setting the standard for sustainability that when the Department of Energy launched its Better Buildings Challenge, they specifically recruited Medford to participate,  knowing the prestige and expertise which Medford would bring to the program.

Hunt was also quick to point out how helpful the state’s grants and other incentives are in driving sustainability.

Just last year, Medford developed a local energy action plan, an updated version of its 2001 climate action plan. Other recent initiatives and accomplishments include an Idle-Free Medford education outreach campaign and participation in SolarizeMass. Tufts’s planned installation of solar panels on the roof of Dowling Hall will be part of Medford’s Solarize Medford initiative. Hunt emphasized that the work that the city had done in vetting potential solar companies and determining which would work best in the community made the process and decision immeasurably easier for residents looking into solar installations.

In addition, while Medford has long had a focus on residential sustainability, Hunt said they are adding a focus on encouraging green business practices.

Of course, we were glad to hear that Hunt and her department are always looking for Tufts students and faculty to contribute to the efforts, whether through work-study, volunteering, internships, stenciling by storm drains, investigating the feasibility of a compost program, etc. Tufts is so fortunate to be situated in such a sustainable city!

Tufts Eco-Reps Keep Busy This Week!

We don’t know how we did it, but the Tufts Eco-Reps managed to survive another week of environmental overload! In a good way, of course!

We kicked off the week on Tuesday with a Hodgdon-Bush movie night! First, a talk was given by Maragaret Garcia, a PhD student with the Civil Engineering Department and member of the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) water diplomacy program.

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She shared her personal experiences and motivation for pursuing a career focused around water diplomacy and concluded with a question and answer session. The talk was a unique opportunity and provided a wonderful segue into the movie Last Call at the Oasis, written and directed by Jessica Yu, which urged viewers to be more conscious about the world’s current and impending water crisis.


Following on Thursday, the Eco-Reps teamed up for shifts at the Dewick-MacPhie dining hall where a display was set up to educate diners about our program. The display featured the compost program within the dorms and dining halls, a compost continuum showcasing the progression from food waste to nutrient-rich soil, the benefits associated with meatless meals, and a general introduction to the Eco-Rep program for any interested students.


The table was a success with almost all of our program’s stickers being handed out to students who eagerly slapped them onto their newly received “Choose to Reuse” reusable Nalgene water bottles. The bottles were provided courtesy of the university as part of an initiative to reduce the use of disposable plastic water bottles.


Friday proved to be no less hectic when the Eco-Reps were asked by the non-profit Reverb to host another table at the Eco-Village for the Campus Consciousness Tour featuring Grouplove. Before the concert started, the Reps attended a meet and greet session with the members of Grouplove.

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The team then set up a table next to other volunteers and organizations such as Ben & Jerry’s where concertgoers could explore sustainability both within and outside of the university. The concert was a loud success, as we rocked our way to a greener tomorrow.

Finally, the week wrapped up with free smoothies in Bush Hall! The Eco-Reps paired up with the ACE fellows to show students how to eat sustainably and stay healthy during the coming exam period. The event was a refreshing end to what was another crazy week for the Tufts Eco-Reps.

Keep an eye out for us on campus, and until next week, don’t forget to stay green, stay fresh, and stay kale (…what?).

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