Sustainability at Tufts

sustainability.tufts.edu

Category: Tufts Community News (page 3 of 21)

Saluting the Fletcher Sustainability Council!

At the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, a group of students and staff are working together to promote environmentally sustainable practices and serve as advocates for change at the nation’s oldest graduate school for international affairs. The Fletcher Sustainability Council (FSC), launched in September 2012, was formed to “bring together Fletcher stakeholders, talent, and authority to discuss, plan, and act on sustainability initiatives in a well-planned and cost-effective manner.” In just under two years, they have done just that, leaving an already noticeable mark on the day-to-day lives of Fletcher students, faculty, and staff.

Perhaps the most visible of their initiatives takes the form of a recently installed water bottle filling station in the school’s Hall of Flags – a public space used as a gathering place between classes and a reception area for visitors. This station, along with several counter-top tap water filtration systems in faculty areas, have served to nearly eliminate the use of water coolers and bottled water in the halls of the Fletcher School.

The Fletcher Sustainability Council has also worked to improve the environmental sustainability of the Mugar Café, a popular lunch destination and lounge for Fletcher students. Instead of disposable dishware and eating utensils, students are encouraged to use washable and reusable items, even if they are just getting a cup of coffee or a glass of water. The café has areas for its customers to properly compost their food waste and recycle any paper or plastics they use. Students took quickly to this initiative, especially after the council encouraged professors Kelly Sims Gallagher and Bill Moomaw to promote recycling and composting at Mugar, and unnecessary waste at Mugar Café has dropped precipitously.

What makes this group so strong is their ability to bring together students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders in the spirit of a common mission. This makes the group especially nimble, creative, and influential as agents of change at the Fletcher School. A story that best demonstrates this is one regarding their push to introduce more recycling receptacles throughout Cabot, Goddard, and Mugar Halls on the Tufts campus.

When approached about the introduction of more recycling receptacles, the Fletcher administration was hesitant to move away from the traditional aesthetic of their existing round, metal garbage bins, and pushed back on the idea of purchasing more rectangular, plastic recycling receptacles which are common on the Tufts campus. To address this challenge, the Fletcher Sustainability Collective cleverly offered to paint existing trash receptacles blue and green to create bins for recycling paper, cardboard, plastic, and metals. These bins would match the size and shape of the bins Fletcher already uses, and could then be placed alongside the existing brown bins to create a uniform aesthetic

To make this possible, the council has been working closely with Tufts Facilities and the Fletcher Administration, and in the near future this project will be fully complete. The receptacles are expected to reduce the unnecessary waste produced by the Fletcher School as well as serve as a visible reminder to Tuft’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

The Fletcher Sustainability Council’s solution to this problem was innovative, creative, efficient, cost-effective, and achieved through buy-in from several stakeholders, all qualities which prove that they are a true agent for positive change on the Tufts campus.

Other successes of the Fletcher Sustainability Council include:

·      Fletcher’s orientation being a week-long zero waste event for the first time

·      FSC providing Fletcher student group leaders with special green event training

·      The design of new signs and leverage of social media to inform and influence behavior

·      Their working with Fletcher staff to have the school’s various offices become Tufts Green Office Certified

Even the “little things” can show that they are affecting positive change on campus, such as “the majority of staff bringing their own mugs to meetings rather than using the paper cups provided,” explains Dan Hurwitt, a Technology Assistant at Fletcher and a member of FSC. According to Hurwitt, “money has been saved [and] waste has drastically reduced,” and if his enthusiasm is any indicator, the Fletcher Sustainability Council’s work is still far from over.

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!

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