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Second Carbon Neutrality Community Workshop

By Michael Wilkinson, Office of Sustainability Intern

The Second Carbon Neutrality Community Workshop provided students, faculty, staff, and community members an opportunity to try their hand at creating a path to carbon neutrality at Tufts through a carbon reduction simulation. In this simulation, the carbon neutrality planning team and Tufts’ carbon neutrality consultant, Ramboll Group, provided information on potential scenarios to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Teams broke off into groups to see if they could arrive at full carbon reduction by 2050 within the temporal, social, environmental, and economic constraints of our University. Through critical thinking and teamwork, the groups were able to assemble a cohesive and functioning group of projects that both satisfied our carbon neutrality requirement while remaining conscientious of our constraints. Following this simulation, groups were given an opportunity to explain their choices.

Dan Kelley from Ramboll Group then provided relevant information to explain potential projects for the Medford/Somerville Campus. Throughout this presentation, event participants asked pertinent questions relating to each project and their larger implications for campus life. To conclude their presentation, Ramboll Group provided the current project choices, which include steam to hot water conversion, connection of the Upper and Lower Campus heating loops, a conversion of existing boilers to biofuel, and several more.  

This event allowed participants to learn and engage with the carbon neutrality planning process. Chockfull with complex technologies, on-campus interests, varied stakeholders, and peculiarities, this project requires the attention of our entire community.


Recycling in Tufts Apartment Style Dorms

Do you know how to properly recycle in Tufts residences such as Latin Way, Hillsides, SoGo, and Coho?

Test yourself:

Which of these can you recycle?

  • clear plastic cups
  • colored plastic cups
  • paper plastic cups

Can you dispose of your recycling in a plastic bag?

Where is the recycling dumpster for your dorm?

To learn more about recycling visit go.tufts.edu/recycle!

UEP Tupperware Initiative

I asked Mike Flanary, a staff assistant at the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Eco-Ambassador, about UEP’s Tupperware initiative. He described a system that reduces waste – both food and dishware – as long as students remember to bring them. Below, read more details about the program. 

The Urban and Environmental Policy department hosts an event series each semester called the UEP Colloquium. The events, usually presented by alums of the program, focus on urban and environmental issues. Since they take place during Wednesday open block (12-1pm), the department provides lunch. 

Mike Flanary says that with extra department funds, the department Chair, Mary Davis, wanted buy swag for students. “It’s pretty crazy the amount of objects that you can put a logo on these days and most of them aren’t very practical or usable and are rather cheap quality… Our students and faculty use the kitchen in our building for storing their lunch in the fridge and microwaving food, so when I was looking at possible swag items, this instantly came to mind.” Tupperware would be practical, especially for bringing home food from the colloquium. Otherwise, leftovers are thrown out, whether on the day of the event or later, when the fridge gets cleaned out. 

Flanary described a lesson from his Eco-Ambassador training that stuck with him: Companies try to “go green” but often just to make it look or feel good, without making a dent in waste production. For example, recyclable or compostable products are more expensive and still are only used once. If they are not disposed of properly, they will end up in the waste strem along with the food that remains uneaten at the event. He quoted a proverb, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

The response to this initiative has been positive. Many students also bring reusable water bottles, coffee tumblers, and mason jars. Flanary says that food waste has decreased. “It’s allowed students to grab some extra food for later that would probably have been thrown out. We don’t send out an RSVP for the event so we try to get enough food while not having too much leftover. Since getting the containers, we have tried to have food that fits in the containers and that people would want to have later.”

For the future, or for other departments to adopt? “Remind students to pack up their containers the day before or even better to just have it their backpack.” The production of the plastic containers will only be offset if students use the containers frequently. “My hope is that students continue to bring them to future events, but it might be like the reusable bags issue, they’re great but it only works if people actually bring them into the store, or to the events in this case. Perhaps entice people with an incentive for bringing it with them.” Other departments who would like to start a similar initiative could think about what disposables get used up often. What costs a lot when ordering through WB Mason? How could an alternative work? Do you think it would be used? Would it be convenient? 

More information about past UEP events is available: https://as.tufts.edu/uep/news/colloquia

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

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