In February, PowerOptions, in cooperation with Tufts and Endicott College, was selected as the winner of the inaugural Green Ribbon Commission Renewable Energy Leadership Prize.
The Prize awards $100,000 to nonprofit institutions for their strategy for large-scale renewable energy generation. Through the Prize, GRC aims to inspire local large-scale energy consumers to implement renewable energy strategies.
The participants who did not receive the prize intend to move forward with their projects, extending the ripples of the competition. GRC hopes that renewable energy in Massachusetts will receive a boost from all the new projects. Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.
The Prize is funded by the Barr Foundation, which has made climate one of its core concentrations. The Green Ribbon Commission is a group of business, institutional, and civic leaders supporting the implementation of Boston’s Climate Action Plan.
(Pictured above: The team from Tufts, PowerOptions, and Endicott College was recognized at a GRC meeting in May. Photo via the Barr Foundation.)
Tufts, PowerOptions, and Partners Healthcare are currently in negotiations to bring the proposal to fruition.
The Green Ribbon Commission has also released a case study analysis of the contest and its entries for greater insight and improvement for next year.
Tufts students on the Medford campus have been composting in their dorms for several years through the Eco-Reps program. But until last year, unstaffed dorms – that is, dorms without Residential Assistants (RAs) and Eco-Reps – were left to organize the disposal of their organic waste on their own.
The Recycling and Waste Management office run by Facilities Services office set out to rectify that situation in early 2016 by launching a composting program for on-campus apartments, including Hillsides, Latin Way, and Sophia Gordon.
The program aimed to divert food waste from the trash. On-campus apartments have full kitchens, meaning students living in those spaces are more likely to be cooking regularly – and therefore producing more food waste – than students in some of the other dorms.
22 apartments received bins during the first pilot round of the program and several more joined during the spring semester.
Students who signed up for the program received a bin at the beginning of the spring semester, along with instructions about maintaining their compost and locations around campus where the bins could be emptied. Recycling interns also sent out a weekly email with tips and reminders.
Recycling is currently working to improve the program and investigating the potential of having off-campus apartments participate.
(Pictured above: Savannah Christiansen, ‘16, Recycling intern, coordinated the program’s launch in the spring of 2016.)
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.
Division of Planning & Regulatory Services is seeking a motivated intern with excellent analytical and writing skills and strong interest in sustainability to assist Sustainability Project Manager with updating the City’s Climate Action Plan and providing administrative and research support for the
Energy Task Force.
The final President’s Picnic of 2016 was held in Grafton on Wednesday, June 15th, a lovely and sunny conclusion to the annual year-end event series.
Drinks and condiments were served in bulk, which cut back on the amount of plastic and other packaging waste produced during the event.
Attendees were encouraged to BYOP — bring your own plates — as another way to reduce waste. Over 80 people brought their own dishes.
Anyone who brought their own dishes, cups, or utensils was entered into a raffle for a special prize. The first 50 visitors to our table also got a prize automatically!
Lillian of Student Services at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine won the top prize – a reusable, stainless steel lunch kit and utensil set!
Recycling interns helped sort recycling and compost at special Zero Waste Stations.
6 bags of recycling were collected, weighing about 48 pounds, while there were 40 pounds of food waste. Trash from the entire event fit into a tiny bag and weighed less than 2 pounds!
The lunch was catered by Loaves and Fishes.
Many thanks to everyone who helped make this event zero waste!
See all the photos here.