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We want YOU!

Screenshot 2014-03-24 14.07.29That’s right, we’re recruiting! Come join our team! The Tufts Office of Sustainability is seeking a full-time summer intern to assist with day to day office activities, such as planning and gathering materials for events, greeting visitors, working on the TerraCycle program, and organizing programs such as field trips and the Eco-Ambassador program. The intern will assist with office communications, including creating documents and outreach materials and writing articles, and will assist with social media programming and perform website and blog maintenance. The intern will also be expected to research sustainability initiatives that might be undertaken on any of the three Tufts campuses. In addition, the intern may be asked to help the Program Director, Education and Outreach Coordinator, or Communications Specialist with any projects they are currently working on. Applicants should submit a cover letter and resume. The position will be open until filled. Please contact Betsy Byrum, Education & Outreach Coordinator, with questions or for more information at betsy.byrum@tufts.edu.

View the job listing here.

Eco Rep Update: Travel Green!

By Danielle Mulligan

Welcome back! Hopefully everyone enjoyed their week off and feels rejuvenated for part two of the spring semester. Some may have stayed on campus while others may have travelled back home or to warmer places in search of actual spring-like weather.   I personally love to travel when possible but struggle to balance that passion with my knowledge of the hugely negative environmental impacts of travelling. Starting from the ride to the airport and then the plane ride, I’m already leaving a huge carbon footprint!  How can we become more environmentally conscious travelers?

Since we’re back at school, it may be good time to just take a pause and think about our past week. Whether we stayed in our dorms, were home or were lying on the beaches of Cancun-what are ways in which we could have made our vacation time a little more eco-friendly?

Here are some tips from my own travel experiences and from the travel section in “The Green Book”-a book filled with different tips on how to change habits in all areas of our lives.

  1. If you are traveling to a place where tap water is not safe to drink, purchase a plaster water bottle with a filter.  It may seem a bit more expensive at first, but buying plastic bottles at every stop adds up and the environmental impact is huge!
  2. Look for alternative forms of transportation! Take a train instead of a plane. Walk instead of taking a taxi or renting a car-you are in a new place, and if it’s walkable why not take that extra time to be outside and explore a little?
  3. Bring a reusable bag for any of your shopping trips to the markets stalls or stores wherever you are visiting.
  4. Try adventure travel or eco-tourism –not only does eco-tourism generally have a much smaller negative impact on the environment, it also frequently channels money to positive environmental initiatives.
  5. Pack your own shampoo, soap and toothpaste and leave the hotels mini-bottles untouched.  To give some perspective, a 300-room hotel in Las Vegas uses more than 150,000 plastic bottles  of shampoo a year!

-Danielle

Part 3 of Unwrapping Building 574 is Available!

Part 3 of Unwrapping Building 574 is now available! Part 3, entitled Adaptation, talks about the difficulties and nuances of adapting such an old, historic building into a modern, sustainable office. The section also includes some pictures of the building and concludes our series. We hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Read the blog here!

Eco Rep Update: Recyclemania!

The weather this past weekend was just GORGEOUS and we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did!

We have some exciting news to share… the first round of Recyclemania grades have been released! Woo!

Here are the results…

Screenshot 2014-03-10 13.01.07

Blakely Hall: C

Bush Hall: B

Carmichael Hall: C+

Haskell Hall: C-

Hill Hall: B-

Hodgdon Hall: B-

Houston Hall: C-

Lewis Hall: C

Metcalf: B

Miller Hall: C+

South Hall: C

Stratton Hall: B-

Tilton Hall: B-

West Hall: B-

Wren Hall: B+

The official report can be also be seen here.

It looks as though Wren Hall is in the lead! But have no fear  – If your dorm received a less-than-satisfactory grade, there is another round of grading just around the corner. The winner will be announced at this year’s Earthfest on April 11th! Speaking of which, keep an eye out for a clothes donation box in your dorm where you can drop off any gently used/unwanted clothing. What you may consider a former fashion faux pas may totally brighten someone else’s day. We appreciate very much your donations as we gear up for Earthfest!


Jamie Cordova
EcoRep, Miller Hall

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 trash is 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 the whole of the Tufts Meford 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) 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 is baby steps towards those big commitments! 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. Take your old bulbs to the Office of Sustainability (on the back of Miller Hall) to trade them in for a CFL!
  • 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 and in some other buildings on campus!
  • 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