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Part 2 of “Unwrapping Building 574″ is Here!

Our ongoing coverage of building 574 continues with Part 2- Stormwater. The interview details some fascinating mechanics of the building design, including how water and runoff is handled. Read it here!

Blog Update: “Unwrapping Building 574″ is Now Available!

The Office of Sustainability is proud to present Part 1 of Unwrapping Building 574, a three part blog on Tufts’ current building project.

Building 574 represents the future of sustainability on Tufts Campus, with green initiatives designed into the building. Due to the uniqueness of the site and age of the building, the project requires some unique initiative and planning to make such a concept feasible. Communications intern Timothy Grant interviewed Ray Santangelo, the project manager, and one of the building’s head architects, David Kasdish, on 574 and what it means for sustainability. Even without a background on the subject, the interview is fascinating and easy to follow. Part 1 includes the history of building and some initiatives to include sustainable design. Part 1 is Available Now!

Lunch and Learn Recap: Elena Naumova, Environmental Indicators of Enteric Infections and Water Safety in Southern India

Elena Naumova, director of the Tufts Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases (InForMid) and Associate Dean for Research at the Tufts School of Engineering, spoke last week as part of the Tufts Environmental Studies and Tufts Institute of the Environment Lunch and Learn program. Her presentation on the Environmental Indicators of Enteric Infections and Water Safety in Southern India covered student research projects sponsored through a collaboration between the Tufts School of Engineering and Christian Medical College in Vellore, India.

 A mathematician by training, Naumova emphasized the importance of translating data into usable information that allows for action and policy.

Naumova began by laying out the importance of preventing waterborne diseases. Globally, there are 4 billion cases of diarrhea annually, 2.2 million of which lead to death. Of those 2.2 million, 80% of the deaths are among infants. Unsafe water is a large factor in these diseases.

Modern mathematical tools allow for an understanding of waterborne outbreaks in “temporal and spatial patterns”, Naumova said. “Practically all waterborne diseases exhibit strong seasonal patterns distinct for a specific pathogen in a given population [and] locality”, in a phenomenon known

as seasonality. An example familiar to New England residents, of course, would be the peaks of flu that occur in the winter. “Variability in seasonal characteristics can provide clues on important factors influencing disease occurrence, exposure, [and] spread.” These environmental factors, when they are within human control, could be a key to disease prevention. Climate change, however, will affect our ability to use these seasonal indicators as the patterns we have come to recognize begin to shift radically.

Naumova further presented statistics on the seasonality of cryptosporidiosis in the United States and the United Kingdom, salmonellosis in the United Status, and rotavirus in India.

She then laid out two studies conducted by some of her students, Dr. Stefan Collinet-Adler, Andrea Brown, Alexandra Kulinkina, and Negin Ashoori. Both studies examined the transmission of infectious diarrhea in 300 urban and rural households in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, India. The first study focused on the role of flies, which can carry pathogens such as norovirus, salmonella, and rotavirus. In the tests conducted, 72% of the flies tested positive for potential human pathogens. The second study used GIS to map ground water quality and distribution systems in Vellore.

Naumova here noted the importance of recognizing the difference between water quality and quantity: the focus of these studies was on quality, for lack of water leads to other severe problems but obviously cannot cause waterborne diseases.

Elena said she is always looking for students who are interested in going abroad and conducting research and will do whatever she can to make that possible!

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 trashes are 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 Tufts 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 J) week!

–Angie (Eco-rep for Carm)

Tufts EcoReps are Now Accepting Applications!!!

Application Deadline: April 14th at 11:59 pm

Eco-Rep’s applications for the fall 2014 semester are currently available here. Submit completed applications to the Eco-Rep Coordinators at tuftsecoreps@gmail.com.

The Tufts Eco-Reps are a group of residential students who help to raise awareness about ecological issues, encourage environmentally responsible behavior among their hall mates and peers, and plan related events and activities. Other duties will include group activities, collaborative projects, and opportunities to represent the Eco-Reps Program at various campus events. There are currently seventeen undergraduate Eco-Reps and one graduate Eco-Rep, who represents Blakeley Hall at The Fletcher School. Some positions may become available at the end of the fall semester for spring 2015.

Eco-Reps must attend a training retreat as well as weekly meetings. At each meeting you’ll be introduced to a new topic, help plan activities, and brainstorm actions to take in your residence halls over the following weeks. Any returning student that lives in university housing is eligible. Find out more information here.

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 are baby steps! 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.
  • 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!
  • 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 to do with 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

Apply to Live in the Tufts Green House Today!

Do you love our beautiful blue-green planet? Do you have a passion for the outdoors or a hankering for increased efficiency indoors? Do you enjoy windowsill gardens and casual kitchen conversations? If you answered YES to these questions… Today’s your lucky day because the application deadline for the Tufts Green House in Latin Way has been extended! The application, which you can fill out online, is open until this Thursday, February 13 at midnight. Take some time to fill it out if you have an interest in living in the house next year. Message the current residents of the Green House at their Facebook page or email them at tuftsgreenhouse@gmail.com with any questions about applications!

Sustainable Selfies Contest!

sustainable.selfies.logoYOU’RE INVITED… TO TAKE SELFIES! 

Who: Tufts University students, staff, and faculty

What: A contest involving selfies, sustainability, and prizes!

When: All semester long!

How: IT’S EASY!  Each week on Monday, we’ll post a prompt on Facebook (“take a picture of yourself negotiating a climate change action treaty” – they’ll be a bit easier than that). Post your selfie to our Facebook page, then encourage your friends, family, colleagues, pets, etc. to like your photo. Whichever photo gets the most likes before the next prompt will win one of our weekly prizes! Plus, whoever takes the photo with the most likes over the course of the semester will win our GRAND PRIZE!

So just to reiterate: snap the selfie, post it to Facebook, accumulate likes, win big!

Why: Prizes! Glory! Plus you’ll learn a ton about sustainability at Tufts and beyond in the meantime.

Some logistics: You need to be in each photo (it’s a selfie!), but feel free to do group pics. Also, you can only win one weekly prize, but make sure to keep participating for the GRAND PRIZE!

GET STARTED NOWLike us on Facebook for the latest info. The first prompt will be up on Monday, February 3rd! Get your polaroids/digital cameras/phones/Google Glasses ready!

Here are some of the prizes at stake:

Spaghetti Scrub

Spaghetti Scrub

Black + Blum lunch box

Black + Blum lunch box

Citrus Zinger

Citrus Zinger

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