Tufts Gets Green

Office of Sustainability's Blog

Category: Tufts Community News (page 1 of 23)

Signing up for the MassCommute Bicycle Challenge!

Knowing that the MassCommute Bicycle Challenge is coming up, I decided to do my part and register for the Tufts cycling team. Being fully away of how difficult it can sometimes be to register for large events such as the Challenge, I decided to document the process in hopes that it would serve to be of some use for interested Jumbos looking to ditch the car and grab their bikes for the week.

Screenshot 2014-05-02 14.41.53After typing in the URL, I was met with the MassCommute Bike Challenge main page. It was incredibly simple to read, easy to navigate, and fairly minimalist. The sections were displayed on the left and were short and sweet. Below the main  “Welcome” message was what looked like the log data for the upcoming event, and the tab “Register for the Challenge Today!” was directly in front of me.

Screenshot 2014-05-02 14.50.30Clicking on it led me to a page that asked me to type a username and come up with a password. I used my email for the username, jotted down a password for the website, and clicked continue.

Screenshot 2014-05-02 14.57.49

The information page loaded after this. Being familiar with registration sites, I was prepared for copious amounts of information to be asked (Email, phone number, home address, blood type, mother’s maiden name, work history, your kindergarten teacher’s best friend’s third cat’s middle name) and feared for the worse. I was surprised that, much like the other pages of the website, it was incredibly simple and uncomplicated It asked me my affiliation, so I selected “school” and picked Tufts from a drop down menu. I was also asked my age, gender, typical bike mileage, and reason for registering. It took me two minutes to give them the information before I continued to the next page.

I agreed to the Terms and Conditions after that and was told that my registration was complete. “That was it?!” I thought to myself. “Really?!”

I was fascinated by the expedient nature of the website, how easily I was able to prepare to cycle for Tufts, and how ready I was to grab my bike and hit the road. The takeaway from this is: Signing up for the bike challenge is simple, painless, and takes less than a few minutes.  If you want to represent the school, its as easy as that.

-Tim

 

 

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

Tufts Releases Progress Report on Campus Sustainability

2014 Tufts Sustainability Progress Report

2014 Tufts Sustainability Progress Report

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Tufts University has released its 2014 Campus Sustainability Progress Report, a year after the Campus Sustainability Council issued a report presenting recommendations for the university in the areas of waste, water, and energy use and emissions. The council, established by Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco in 2012, includes students, faculty and staff from across Tufts’ three Massachusetts campuses.

The 2014 progress report highlights sustainability-related developments and achievements made over the past year, including the creation of an energy master plan for the Medford/Somerville campus, establishment of a solid waste minimization program, and improvements in the capital planning process to integrate sustainable design principles in planning construction projects.

“Universities play a vital role in helping the world address challenging environmental issues such as climate change and resource depletion, and sustainability is a strategic priority for me and for Tufts,” said Monaco. “The Campus Sustainability Progress Report shows how our university community has worked together to make significant strides toward achieving many of the recommendations put forth by the Campus Sustainability Council in 2013. We want to build on that momentum and continue to be a leader in the area of sustainability in higher education.”

The report highlights a wide range of current and upcoming sustainability initiatives across the university, among them:

  • The installation of water- and energy-conservation features like Tufts’ first rain garden, an electric vehicle charging station, and solar arrays planned on in both the Medford/Somerville and Grafton campuses;
  • A transportation working group focused on reducing the impact of Tufts-related travel and improving access to multiple modes of transportation to the community;
  • LEED™ certification of two more spaces at Tufts – the Biology Collaborative Cluster at 200 Boston Avenue in Medford and the Sackler building in Boston; certification is also planned for two upcoming projects: renovation of a warehouse at 574 Boston Avenue, Medford, into an classrooms and teaching labs, and proposed construction of a Science and Engineering  Complex near the School of Engineering
  • Enhanced recycling programs which handle laboratory-specific material like Styrofoam™.

Despite 38% growth in Tufts’ built environment since 1990, the university’s greenhouse gas emissions per square foot have decreased 27%. Tufts formally adopted goals in the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan in 2003; these goals call for reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, a goal Tufts has achieved; reducing them to at least 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, and at least 75-85% below 2001 levels by 2050. The Campus Sustainability Council reaffirmed these goals by committing to the Massachusetts Greenhouse Gas reduction goals, which include a target of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Tufts is also working to reduce and reuse waste and cut water consumption. The university’s current recycling and composting programs mean Tufts already complies  with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s waste bans.  Water consumption across all campuses decreased in 2013, while the stormwater regulation features of our ongoing construction projects are designed to exceed federal and state requirements.

“While the university has made great progress, there is still much to do,” said Tina Woolston, Tufts’ Sustainability Program director.  “In addition to highlighting our achievements, our annual report talks about important next steps for Tufts. Examples include performing waste audits on the Grafton campus,  installing a heat recovery system on the Boston campus, and opening more freecycle stations so that students on the Medford/Somerville campus can exchange reusable items this summer.”

To read the progress report and learn more about Tufts’ sustainability programs, visit the Tufts Office of Sustainability website at sustainability.tufts.edu.

Eco-Imaginaries: Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference

The Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference Committee is pleased to share the following CFP for the fourth annual Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference, “Eco-Imaginaries,” to be held on October 10, 2014. The keynote will be delivered by Elizabeth DeLoughery, an associate professor of English and of the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles. We welcome papers from all disciplines and fields whose work participates in emergent conversations about the environment in the humanities. Please send your abstract of no more than 300 words, along with a short bio, totuftsgradhumanitiesconference@gmail.com by June 15, 2014. We are also building a working group of Tufts graduate students that meet every few weeks to discuss environmental issues. All are welcome to join, regardless of discipline or background. Learn more.

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