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New Eco-Reps!

Meet our new Eco-Reps for this Spring 2019!


Tara is a first year from Berkeley, California. When she’s not busy doing work for her undeclared major, you can find her bouldering with the Tufts rock climbing team, hiking up a mountain for a beautiful view, getting crafty at the Crafts Center, scribbling in her journal, or Rubik’s cubing. She’s super excited to get her hands dirty in some compost with the Eco-Reps team this year and to spread her love for the environment with other Tufts students!

Lewis

 

Dani is a sophomore from New Jersey who plans on majoring in Sociology and minoring in Studio Art. Dani has been a vegetarian since they were seven years old, and has always made a passionate commitment to protecting the earth and all of the life it holds. On campus, in addition to being an Eco-Rep, Dani does mental health advocacy with the student group Active Minds, and they volunteer at the Craft Center! In their free time, you can likely find them doodling, making friendship bracelets, drinking tea, and creating an unreasonable volume of playlists on Spotify.

Metcalf

Eduardo is a freshman from South Bound Brook, New Jersey majoring in Environmental Engineering and minoring in Engineering Management. Eduardo was born and raised in Costa Rica, a country where flora and fauna are of utmost importance, hence his passion for sustainability. His dream for the future is to work with water treatment and sanitation around the world. Unlike many other people from NJ, he certainly does believe that central Jersey exists. He is a math enthusiast, loves playing soccer and tennis, as well as weightlifting. On campus he is part of Tufts SOLES (Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists), Tufts Club Soccer, Students for Environmental Awareness, future Latino Peer Leader, and works as a research assistant with the Lantagne Group.  

Bush

Susie is a freshmen majoring in international relations. She is from Chengdu, China, where you can find a lot of pandas. Susie enjoys eating croissant, taking pictures and running on campus. Her dream is to have a Shiba Inu cafe. She is excited to be an Eco-Rep this year!

Jiyoon Chon is a second year student majoring in biology and biotechnology.  She is originally from Seoul, South Korea but grew up in Seattle. She is also a Tufts 1+4 in Madrid fellow and loves to travel the world. At Tufts, she is part of the Flute Ensemble and the Korean Students Association. In her free time, she loves making and drinking coffee and watching dog videos in bed!

Miller

Katie is a sophomore from North Caldwell, NJ double majoring in Applied Environmental Studies and Science, Tech, & Society. A lover of all things health and wellness, Katie is a Certified Personal Trainer, a group fitness instructor, and a semi-professional mango peeler. Katie is stoked for her environmental internship this summer in Tel Aviv and the opportunity to explore agricultural and food tech start ups. She is so thrilled to be an Eco-Rep and would love to talk all things food and fitness!

Wren

 

Angela is a first-year medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine. She enjoys running, hiking, and virtually any outdoor activity, and has played the violin since she was 3 years old. On Saturdays in the fall you can find Angela watching her alma mater (Notre Dame) play football.

Posner

 

Christine is a first year medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine. She is originally from California and attended the University of Southern California where she studied biology and French as an undergrad and genetics as a graduate student. Christine enjoys being outside diving, climbing, hiking, and exploring. Before starting medical school, she spent two months in Honduras researching and promoting marine conservation and is now super stoked to find a new outlet to promote sustainability and environmental awareness as an Eco-Rep!

Posner

 

 

Robert Davis is in his final year at the Fletcher School where he studies development and trade. He hopes to work in the field of economic development in Southeast Asia. Originally from Mesa, Arizona – the true sunshine state (move over Florida!) –  he grew up digging for worms in the dirt and gardening in his backyard. He identifies as an obsessive-compulsive recycler (sometimes at the expense of water usage) and his pet-peeves include those pesky stickers on banana peels. As an Eco-Rep, he looks forward to helping his fellow students make good use out of what would otherwise be waste.

Blakely

Carbon Neutrality Community Workshops

 by Mike Wilkinson, Programs Intern

On January 25, the Tufts Office of Sustainability and its carbon neutrality consultant, the Ramboll Group, hosted students, faculty, and staff in community workshops to discuss the carbon neutrality planning process for the Tufts Medford/Somerville campus. The two workshops were divided between a faculty and staff luncheon and an open event for the Tufts community. Daniel Kelley, a representative from the Ramboll Group, provided information to both groups on how our campus can proceed towards our goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. To learn more about this commitment, click here. Both the luncheon and open event were met with strong attendance, participation, and engagement. With a total of 45 attendees, each workshop demonstrated the widely shared desire to achieve carbon neutrality at Tufts.

These workshops provided Tufts community members with an opportunity to learn and ask questions about project goals and objectives, the current state of energy and carbon, and possible scenarios and options for reaching carbon neutrality. In both sessions, Mr. Kelley presented on the intricate components of the Tufts energy system as well as details on how to address its complexities over time. For example, it is crucial that the carbon neutrality plan considers how to leverage existing investments in on-campus energy systems for as long as is productive. The presentation also informed attendees of the several complicating factors of this large-scale project, such as the varied energy sources currently powering the campus, the train line that passes through campus property, and the effect the Medford/Somerville town lines may have on project implementation. The workshops concluded by offering faculty, students, and staff time to pose their own questions, comments, and concerns. The Q&A section of both events made way for a fruitful and open discussion about the process.

The Tufts Office of Sustainability, in coordination with the Ramboll Group, looks forward to maintaining transparency as our planning process develops. Thank you to all in attendance.

If you would like to watch the event recording, please click here!

To contact us, please email: sustainabilityoffice@tufts.edu

Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities conference recap

conference logo

I was lucky enough to attend the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities conference at the University of Georgia, Athens, in the beginning of November. The 2018 theme, Arts Environments: Design, Resilience, and Sustainability, explored the relationships between artistic processes and environmental practices.

A recurring topic discussed in panels and plenaries was art as a way to communicate science. Art can inspire a sense of wonder, thereby imparting value on parts of the world we regularly ignore and degrade. Combining artistic and scientific research methods fosters interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration. However, employing art as merely a design tool runs the risk of translating ideas without recognizing art as its own investigative process.

To create a culture and center for combining art and science, equal time must be spent on social, active, and reflective steps, which form a cycle and build off of each other. For example, a social event where members of a university meet each other across disciplines and roles should precede an activity where people develop relationships through shared projects. Then, intentional time to reflect on the process allows for growth and change.

Below are a few sessions that I found especially inspiring:

Artful Rainwater Design:

This speaker gave numerous examples of how sculpture, landscape design, and infrastructure can be used to both conserve water and to help people visualize and appreciate the water cycle. Art is used as a strategy for humans to collaborate with the environment.

High Tide: Public Landscape Art Installation by Carolina Aragon in Boston’s North End

https://www.umass.edu/magazine/fall-2016/time-and-tide

Carolina Aragon described her approach of “making very pretty things about very scary topics.” Through a study using social science data collection techniques, she discovered the importance of site-specificity, or making art in a location that directly addresses the experiences of the population in that location. The sculptural installation illustrates future sea levels in a Boston neighborhood.

Tyler School of Art. Dye Garden

https://tyler.temple.edu/blog/natural-dye-garden-temple-community-garden-fibers-and-material-studies-program

Students, faculty, and administration worked together to create a visible, functional garden at the Tyler School of Art, part of Temple University. Textile and other art students will use the garden to dye materials and learn about social practice, gardening, and the history of certain plants, especially cash crops’ ties to slavery and race.

If you are interested in how art is used in research, consider attending next year’s conference, titled “Knowledges” at the University of Kansas.

The Future of Carbon Neutrality at Tufts

At the beginning of November, the Tufts Office of Sustainability along with Tufts Capital Projects and GreenerU planned and executed a community engagement event with students, staff, faculty and the local public. The goal was to educate participants about what’s already happened with sustainability and carbon neutrality on the Tufts campus and to inform about what’s planned for the coming years. We also wanted to understand community priorities, concerns and areas of interest for future sustainability efforts. More than 60 people attended, 2/3 of whom were students!

During the event, participants walked through a maze of info posters to review all of our sustainability initiatives, progress and plans throughout the Medford campus. There were several interactive posters that attendees marked up with color coded stickers and sticky notes. (If you would like to see the questions and add your input, click here for the online version!) There were also several small break-out sessions for people who wanted to have more in-depth discussions about the process, goals and staying informed.

Some findings from the event:

  • 100% of participants said they believe carbon neutrality is a worthwhile pursuit
  • There was strong support for divestment from the fossil fuel industry
  • People are concerned that our goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 isn’t acting fast enough
  • Other hopes included more of a focus on renewable energy and social/environmental justice initiatives
  • The community would like to stay involved and informed, especially around short term goals/benchmarks

Don’t forget to take a look at the video from the event, and check out some pictures and the info posters here!

 

Distinguished Speaker: Bill McKibben

Last night, Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org and driver of the first global grassroots climate change movement, spoke to more than 200 Tufts community members about the outlook for the environmental movement. The conversation was engaging and a little disheartening, but it was a pleasure to learn from the author, activist and environmentalist about his work and perspectives.

The tone of the conversation was not all together up-lifting. McKibben spoke about his reaction to the recently released IPCC report and acknowledged that we have reason to be scared. He’s not overly hopeful about what the future holds, or about our ability to make it over this hurdle.

As far as practical solutions, he said the individual actions we take may not ultimately achieve that much; the most important thing for an individual to do is be less of an individual. He urged us to join and grow the movement, noting that civil disobedience is one of the few truly effective ways to mobilize action. Civil disobedience was an important part of every 21st century movement that changed the zeitgeist, and that’s what we need to do today.

He emphasized that connecting social justice and climate change is critical: Climate justice isn’t just a way of thinking about this problem, it is what we are going to need to win this fight. We must recognize that the ones who are most affected by climate change, and those who are out in front of the movement, are not the ones who caused the problem – and yet they are the one’s engaged in addressing it.

Divestment was a key message too, recognizing that big business can have big impact. Our investments can be profitable without financing the fossil fuel industry, he explains, and divestment is a way to speak the language that politicians and corporations will understand.

Finally, McKibben urged everyone to stay committed, and take action that can have real impact. Most relevant today? Vote! Make sure our elected leaders represent the interests that are most important to us and to the future of our planet.

McKibben was invited as part of Tufts’ Tisch College Distinguished Speaker Series. He is currently the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College. Previously, McKibben founded 350.org, the online mobilization platform that has organized more than 20,000 rallies around the world (in nearly every country!), and which spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline and launched the fossil fuel divestment movement.

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